At Black Bear Bakery, every batch of Lickhalter sourdough-rye bread, sweet pastries, and crunchy granola is made with the care of a shop owner. That’s because each staff member serves as a partial owner of the communal shop. This makes each staff member feel a personal responsibility for creating a shop they’d like their family to come to, encouraging them to use eco-friendly processes and locally sourced, organic ingredients. Along with whole-grain recipes filled with specialty ingredients such as kalamata olives and rosemary, bakers use century-old recipes passed down from the owners of Lickhalter Bakery. These recipes create hearty sourdough-rye loaves sprinkled with caraway seeds or twisted together with pumpernickel dough.
While breads are their specialty, bakers fill their ovens with more than just bread loaves. They craft handmade, boiled bagels that come sans holes, as well as cookies, baked granola, pizza crusts, and a variety of buns. On the weekends, they welcome the community for a vegetarian and vegan brunch, which features staples such as pancakes, quiche, potatoes, and bread pudding made from their loaves. These dishes can be washed down with pours of fair trade coffee, juice, tea, or pastry filling.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom, hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are more than 200 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.
After graduating from cake-decorating school in Basel, Switzerland, Karl Knodel immigrated to America and opened his own cakery in 1901. In the 109 years since then, his family members have inherited recipes for his signature baked delights and used them to continue delighting discerning St. Louis sweet teeth and winning acclaim from picky incisors far and wide. Knodel's cakes, which vary in price depending on design decadence, are available in flavors such as caramel fudge, strawberry shortcake, red velvet, and eternity. For handheld treats, there's a 1 lb. cookie box ($9.95) or individual decorated cookies ($0.65+). Cupcakes strut down tongue catwalks in a variety of edible outfits (individual cupcakes start at $0.80). Call no less than five days in advance for custom cakes.
A red brick exterior, spacious sidewalk patio, and delectable café menu highlight the charming European appeal of Rue Lafayette, whose beginnings were documented on a recent episode of Renovation Realities on HGTV. Early-morning strollers, comptrollers, and world-weary street mimes can start their morning of artfully aimless ambling with Rue Lafayette's sweet, flaky croissants imported from France. The chocolate croissant ($2.25) matches particularly well with large cups of the café's drip coffee ($2.25) or frothy cappuccino ($3.55). Lunchers, meanwhile, can feast on the quiche ($6.99) and mix it together in their digestive centrifuge with the sinfully tasty croissant bread pudding ($5.99). Since Rue Lafayette's dishes rotate with the stately dance of the seasons, each polite café employee will cheerfully lay out today's recommendations, tomorrow's libations, and yesterday's neutron radiation gyrations. The café's mad scientists have also combined breakfast and lunch into an unholy (yet delicious) monstrosity known as brunch, which gets unleashed from its chains every Saturday and Sunday.
The chipper crew at Sabu’s Coffee whips up menus replete with hearty all-day breakfast fare, tasty paninis, and hot and cold beverages. The beanery brews up a plenitude of ambrosial coffee and espresso quaffs made with organic Goshen coffee beans roasted in St. Louis ($1.95–$4.65). Breakfast, hailed by diners as the supreme emperor of the meal world, includes old-fashioned oatmeal with assorted toppings ($2.95) and customizable omelettes with an array of savory fillings ($5.95). Wrap hands around a toothsome smoked turkey panini accessorized with spinach, fig, and brie, a portable lunch alternative to packing your own whole poultry ($5.95+ for a whole panini). Toasted walnuts, mandarin oranges, goat cheese, and seasonal fruit unite to battle vicious stomach growls in the fresh organic spinach salad ($5.95), while a lineup of homemade sugary noshes treats sweet teeth to baklava ($2), gelato ($1.99 per 3-oz. scoop), gooey butter cookies ($1.50–$3) and envious glances from passing Cookie Monsters.