by Nancy Stiles
You probably don't even realize how often you've been treated to Companion Bakery bread. Besides its cafe, Companion provides bread for restaurants across St. Louis like Juniper, Mathew's Kitchen, Panorama, Capitalist Pig, Dressel's Pub and more. The Clayton cafe was renovated last year, and owner Josh Allen told us then he was eyeing a big expansion. Turns out, Companion will be moving operations to Maryland Heights.
Twenty years after he first got started, Allen will debut a 41,000-square-foot facility complete with baking operations, a cafe, private event space and baking school. "We are really looking forward to opening another café and bringing our award-winning salads and sandwiches to a new area of town," co-owner Jodi Allen said in a statement. "It has always been our vision to establish a larger local presence so we are excited to debut our new location in Maryland Heights."
The cafe will serve breakfast and lunch in a 60-seat, 2,500-square-foot space, while the baking school will cater to both new and experienced bakers. Companion already provides wholesale goods to restaurants and markets in the St. Louis area, but also sends its goods as far away as Montana and Florida.
"We have a really strong desire and passion to be the preeminent bakery in the middle of the country, so Missouri and its surrounding states," Allen told us back in August. "We feel like we're just about to be able to have a beer -- we're twenty-one at the end of the year! We're a young organization, and we're growing up and maturing, and it's time to see if we can step out of St. Louis and continue to grow and evolve."
Construction on the facility, located at 2331 Schuetz Road in Maryland Heights, will begin in March and Allen hopes to move operations there as soon as August.
"We are excited about this next chapter for Companion. The new facility will not only be a terrific place for our staff to work but also one that provides us the means to truly respect our craft," he said in a statement. "If we can build a place our companions are proud and excited to come to work at, imagine how much better our breads and our company can be? Bread responds to the temperament of the baker -- and happy bakers do make better bread.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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