by Nancy Stiles
Local Harvest Cafe (3137 Morganford Road; 314-772-8815) in Tower Grove has been teasing a big announcement on social media for the past week and a half. It turns out that after more than five years, the cafe is re-opening with a whole new concept: the "C." One thing that letter stands for is "cultured."
"We are all about local, but we are also about being sustainable and reducing waste as much as possible, and culturing is a great way to store food and use more local products in a local way," co-owner Patrick Horine tells Gut Check. "It's a good way to extend the harvest and a good way to extend our mission."
Culturing is really any form of food preservation, from pickling to cheese to salumi, but Horine says they won't be going that far.
"We're gonna really focus on some of the basics. We'll make our own kefir, which is fermented milk. Add some fruit and honey -- it's just delicious," Horine says. Local Harvest will also be making its own yogurt. "We'll do things like our own sauerkraut, our own kimchi, which are really popular cultured foods that have a lot of probioitics and health benefits."
The sit-down dinner element of the cafe will be eliminated; there will still be tables, of course, but no table service. Horine says he and partner Maddie Earnest want to make the restaurant more casual and more affordable, in order to reach more people.
"When we started, it was the sit-down dinner focused on local ingredients with some vegan and vegetarian options. We were pretty unique -- there weren't many people doing it," he says. "There are a lot of people doing it now which, we think is a great thing. We just like to always try to be doing new things and we think it's time to differentiate ourselves."
The Tower Grove cafe will also now be known as simply "LHC." Horine says the "LH" will always be for Local Harvest, but the "C" will always be in flux. "We're gonna do so many different things, we wanted that flexibility to be able to use that letter for more things so in our website and our menu," he explains. "We'll be able to use that C to explain what we're trying to do and branch out."
The menu will be quite different than it is now, but fans of Local Harvest's sandwiches will still be able to get them at the downtown location. LHC's interior will be reorganized as well, with some bar seating and a focus on the walk-up counter.
Local Harvest Cafe will close January 5 and reopen as LHC on January 17. Follow its Facebook page for updates.