Being the first espresso bar in St. Louis had its drawbacks. When The Brevé Coffee Company opened its doors in 1995, the concept of a latte was unfamiliar to most residents in the downtown area, and the shop only made $58 its first day in business. But as owner Kevin Wiesehan and his wife added in flavorful small-batch-roasted coffee beans, a panini press, and savory café food, business started to boom. Brevé now has three locations throughout the St. Louis area.
In these coffee shops, baristas serve up expertly poured coffees alongside sandwiches, veggie wraps, and salads. Hand-dipped ice-cream treats with Ghirardelli chocolate, shots of house espresso, or foamy pours of root beer are both decadent and refreshing, much like waltzing with an ice sculpture of Fred Astaire.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt's self-serve bar dishes out 16 flavors and 40 topping varieties as a healthy alternative to traditional desserts. Customers can fill bright-orange cups or upgrade the contents of a toy ice-cream truck with chilly swirls ($0.45/oz.) from the shop’s stainless-steel dispensers, which stock traditional chocolate and fruit-infused varieties as well as flavor blends such as peanut butter and lactose-free pineapple. Spoonfuls of fresh fruit, nuts, and candy ($0.45/ounce) add a kick of contrasting colors and textures to creamy peaks. Tropical tones blanket Orange Leaf's kid-friendly interior, a spacious retreat for palates with an area for onsite consumption or off-the-cuff games of Webster trivia.
When Mary Hostetter started From the Kitchen of Mary, a small, in-home bakery in the summer of 1983, she didn't know how popular her pastries, pies, and candies would become. The next Christmas, she received a total of 30,000 orders for Christmas cookies and pastries with three weeks to bake and ship them all. After that harrowing holiday season, Mary decided a commercial bakery was a must, so she opened her shop in an old building downtown, and The Blue Owl Restaurant was born.
Today, The Blue Owl serves sandwiches, soups, and salads alongside the award-winning baked goods that gave Mary her start. Her pies, scrumptious as ever, have caught the nation's eye and have been featured on a variety of programs including the Food Network's Road Tasted and the Travel Channel's Pie Paradise! The Blue Owl Levee High Apple Pie, the most famous of these flaky, fruit-filled concoctions, was even chosen as one of Oprah's Favorite Things.
Whether she’s baking for a birthday party or to simply sate a sweet craving, Melissa “Missy” Armbrecht is hard at work in the kitchen. At the cozy Let Them Eat Cake Balls kitchen—conveniently located inside of Missy's very own home—she crafts decadent cake balls and pops for clients across Waterloo and the St. Louis area. In total, she concocts nearly two-dozen flavors ranging from traditional chocolate and vanilla to more complex creations, such as mandarin orange or s’mores varieties. She also allows customers to order treats by the dozen and welcomes requests for custom decorations, such as soccer balls for a post-game party or heart-shaped bites for the anniversary of your first Cupid sighting. Determined to monitor quality from oven to table, Missy delivers all orders herself and can travel to customers located within 15 miles of Waterloo.
Mokka Cafe, Inc. has all the trimmings of an ideal coffee shop?drip coffee and cappuccinos, freshly baked scones and gooey butter cake, and intimate tables for reading, working, or dreaming up a new kind of toaster oven. The quaint shop, flanked by burgundy walls and a huge chalkboard displaying upcoming music performances and other events, also supplies heartier meals in the form of omelets and pancakes in the morning and sandwiches and wraps and salads come lunchtime.
Romance is in the air at Cafe Palermo, and not just because it's owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Nick and Julie Nicoletti. In homage to Sicilian caf?s, antique leaded-glass panels accent the room, and green fronds of ivy and other live plants drift from the walls. Diners order from a menu of classic Italian dishes made from family recipes, most cooked to order by the Nicolettis themselves. In a nod to local tastes, they stuff some dishes with creamy provel cheese instead of plating them on Blues hockey pucks. Cheesecakes handcrafted by Julie provide a sweet finish or can be ordered whole to take home. The romantic atmosphere extends onto the patio, where a fountain bubbles and herbs and flowers lend their scents to the breeze.