New Board Game Cafe, Pieces, Coming to Soulard


The three friends behind Pieces: James Lettau, Laura and Ameet Rawal. - COURTESY OF PIECES
  • The three friends behind Pieces: James Lettau, Laura and Ameet Rawal.
Big news for Soulard: A board game bar and cafe will be opening in the space that previously held Franco. Pieces (1535 S. 8th Street) plans to offer a library of more than 500 games, along with a small menu and full bar.

The owners recently launched a Kickstarter, which has already achieved its $5,000 goal, and hope to be open by year's end, depending on when they can finalize their liquor license.

The business will be similar to board game cafes in other cities, which provide a cozy spot to eat and drink while playing games from Scrabble to Dungeons and Dragons. Would-be players can come with a group of friends or make new ones — tables have the option of a "welcome to join" sign, which signals they're open to others joining them.

sample menu posted on their website suggests a vegetarian-friendly menu of simple but from-scratch eats — hummus and flatbread, sandwiches, avocado toast — as well as beer, wine and truly creative cocktails. Try the "Swanky Meeple," a glass of Moscato topped with lemon ice cream, or the "Dreamphone" — "the drink you order when Steve doesn't call." (Anyone else play the Dream Phone Game as a kid?)

Pieces is the brainchild of friends James Lettau, Ameet Rawal and Laura, who asked that we not use her full name since she has yet to give notice at her current job (more on that in a minute). All transplants to St. Louis, the three became close in 2012.

Then Laura took a job in Ohio.

"I was coming back once a month because I was so homesick, even though St. Louis wasn't really my home," she says. "We were hanging out at Side Project, and I said, 'Guys, let's open a business.' They thought I was kidding — but I put together a business plan, and now we're doing it." 

Laura is now planning her triumphant return to St. Louis, and, with her business partners, is aiming to create a cafe that will appeal both to gaming nerds and people who just want to do something different. "We go out to bars and everyone's looking at their phones," she says. "I do it, and that's even though I make fun of people for doing it. But when we've gone out to board game bars in other cities, we're having fun, we're laughing, we're talking — it's just a great way to connect with your friends."

The friends are looking to hire a chef, fine-tune their menu plans and, they hope, be open by mid-December. To get in on the perks they're offering to backers, check out their Kickstarter.

The partners plan to make few changes to the space, although Pieces will have a less formal vibe. - PHOTO BY KELLY GLUECK
  • The partners plan to make few changes to the space, although Pieces will have a less formal vibe.

Editor's note: We changed this post after publication to reflect that Pieces will offer more than 500 board games, not the 100 we originally mentioned. We regret the error.

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