Local Harvest to Eliminate Breakfast and Lunch Service


LHC's vegan banh mi with sesame tofu, mushroom "pate," pickled daikon radish, carrots, jalapeno and cucumber. | Mabel Suen
  • LHC's vegan banh mi with sesame tofu, mushroom "pate," pickled daikon radish, carrots, jalapeno and cucumber. | Mabel Suen

After months of struggling, Local Harvest (3137 Morganford Road; 314-772-8815) isn't closing down, but it will no longer offer breakfast or lunch. Dinner service was eliminated earlier this year. The grocery and bakery will still sell prepared foods like salads, wraps and sandwiches to go. Luckily, its excellent weekend brunch is still on, but the last day for breakfast and lunch is this Friday, August 1.

See also: First Look: Local Harvest Cafe Rebrands as "LHC" with Cultured Foods and Fresh Juices

Fans have been worried the locally sourced and sustainable grocery and cafe might close for good -- the Kirkwood location closed last August, followed by the downtown cafe in March, despite a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $100,000.

Owners Patrick Horine and Maggie Earnest announced the latest changes on Facebook this week. Many people have been confused about the closures after so much money was raised, but as Horine and Earnest have said before, the money was used to pay off debts.

"The response was overwhelming, and we were able to raise enough money to save the core business. Since then, we have paid off our tax obligations in full and made significant progress on our vendor debts," Local Harvest posted on Facebook. "With our top priority being our community and making sure we survive for the long-term, we have focused on the various pieces of our business and looked for areas of weakness and areas of strength."

Dinner service was a huge weakness, they wrote, which informed the decision to cut it. A strength was catering, so more emphasis has been put on that aspect of the business. Despite a breakfast and lunch menu revamp and better organization, there was still a lack of customers and "off-balance" finances.

Many of the people who helped with the fundraising campaign were rewarded with punch cards, which will still be honored at weekend brunch and at the grocery store as $10 off one purchase each month. Although this sounds like it's a bad thing for Local Harvest, Horine and Earnest say the catering business is thriving, and prepared-food grocery sales have doubled since this time last year.

Local Harvest ended its statement with the conviction that it's still needed:

We are confident that by putting our energy into these successful parts that we can make them grow even more which will lead to more hiring, more revenue for the city, and more prosperity for our neighborhood. We are proud to be part of this community and, like you, we want nothing more than to see it prosper and to be part of its continued success. We are going to sink our roots in deeper and make our contribution to this wonderful part of the city the best it can be.

We have made some difficult decisions over the last year. We have questioned if our business is still valid, if we are still needed in the community. And we believe that the answer is YES. We continue to be so grateful for your support.

Here's the full post:

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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