If you wrote off plans for a cat cafe in St. Louis as a hopeless pipe dream — or sniffed that you'd never eat in a place populated by cats — you might want to think again.
MAUHAUS, the cat cafe planning to open in Maplewood this summer, has not only generated twice what it was asking in its Kickstarter, with three days still remaining in the campaign. Its founders have also hired a chef and unveiled its preliminary menu.
Alyssa Bennett, who developed a following as the founder of Pie Craft
, has signed on as the kitchen manager. Her menu shows a long roster of the baked goods she's known for, as well as an assortment of savory snacks — arepas, quiches, samosas and hummus, served with either pita or roasted veggie chips.
Samosas include a vegan Punjabi, a Mexican street corn with Chihuahua cheese and basil chicken. There will also be a few daily varieties of cicchettis, which are a variation on bruschetta, including beet, hummus and cucumber or buffalo mozzarella with red pepper skewers.
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"We knew we didn't just want soup and sandwiches," says co-founder Dana Huth. "We wanted something more unique than that. And knowing people would be eating while petting cats, we wanted to have it be as clean as possible." That means soup is out; an Asian-inflected menu of finger foods are in.
And that only seems fitting, since the cat cafe concept premiered in Asia. But unlike many cat cafes both overseas and in the U.S., MAUHAUS won't be charging an hourly rate for people who want to hang out, Huth promises: "We want people to be able to come and go as they please, without having to pay for a full hour."
The menu is careful to include both gluten-free and vegan options. And even if you're allergic to cats, you shouldn't be entirely out of luck: Thanks to the Kickstarter's runaway success, MAUHAUS will be adding extra touches, including windows on the cat-free cafe side that look into the lounge side, where the cats reside, Huth says.
The two software developers who co-founded MAUHAUS, Huth and Ben Triola, own the building the cafe will be based in. They'll be renovating the 1,500-square-foot former artist's studio on the ground floor to create the space that will house the restaurant and lounge. Construction is set to begin in July, with a goal of opening in September.
For Huth and Triola, the enthusiasm surrounding their Kickstarter
has been both gratifying and a little scary.
"We knew there was a pretty good amount of cat people in St. Louis, but the response has been amazing," Huth says, adding, "We're excited but terrified."
See also: Mauhaus Cat Cafe Really Is Coming to Maplewood
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