Cursed Bikes & Coffee Opens This Week in University City, Combining Just That

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Jeff Gerhardt. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Jeff Gerhardt.
For years, Jeff Gerhardt has built custom bicycles for customers who want their frames just so — taking the knowledge he gained in his half-dozen years at Big Shark Bicycles to make a name for himself as FeCycles.

But now Gerhardt is planning to combine his love of bicycles with a much different product: coffee. His new business, Cursed Bikes & Coffee (7401 Pershing Avenue, University City; 314-601-3136), isn't just a coffee shop with a bike theme — it's a true hybrid that combines coffee and pastries with bicycle sales and repairs in a casual cafe setting. There's nothing like it in St. Louis.

Gerhardt hopes the separate concepts will feed traffic to each other.

"People will come in for coffee, and while they're waiting for it, they'll look around and think of their bikes," Gerhardt explains. "Maybe they need to have a bike repair, or they see what we have in stock" — with inventory that includes both bike accessories and actual bicycles. "Even the novelty of the two together may draw people to come check it out."

To that end, there are three distinct areas in the sunny storefront, which sits at the corner of Pershing and Jackson in University City, just a few blocks from the Clayton border. There's a coffee counter, where you can order drinks (the beans are from local Dubuque Coffee) and pastries (by Dottie's Flour Shop and Pie in the Sky). There's a second counter, with stools lining it. You where you can linger with or without a drink in hand, watching as Gerhardt plies his trade. Or, you can grab a seat at a table or a big comfy chair and mingle with friends — or just read the paper. A fourth option, sidewalk seating, will provide fresh air on nice days.

The shop's name, Cursed, is a nod to the space's history — as Gerhardt notes, "There's been a lot of places here, and they've all failed." The most recent tenant, a restaurant called Perjax, lasted just a few weeks before its owner called it quits.

But it was that closure that got Gerhardt's wheels spinning. He and his family live next door. Since his wife, Erin, had been pushing him to think about a physical space for his business, the unexpected opening seemed almost like a sign.

"I would have loved a good restaurant next door," he says. But when suddenly there wasn't one, he started to think about what he himself could do with the space. "It took a lot of prodding from a lot of people."

Cozy chairs or cafe-style tables allow room for hanging out. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Cozy chairs or cafe-style tables allow room for hanging out.
To keep the operation lean, he did just about all renovations himself, building both counters from scratch, building stands to showcase the bikes and arranging everything just so. He intends to be on site himself as much as possible — another reason it's great to live right next door.

"When you start a business, it runs your life," he says. For now, that's something he's looking forward to. That and finally, perhaps, breaking the building's curse.

Cursed Bikes & Coffee will open for the first time Tuesday, May 16. It will be open Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It's closed on Mondays.

Scroll down for more photos of the place.

Coffee and frappucinos are on offer, as well as smoothies and some other cold drinks. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Coffee and frappucinos are on offer, as well as smoothies and some other cold drinks.

Take a seat at the bar and watch the mechanic work his magic. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Take a seat at the bar and watch the mechanic work his magic.

Some of Gerhardt's custom bikes are on display — and for sale. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Some of Gerhardt's custom bikes are on display — and for sale.

Gerhardt intends to add even more seating to the outdoor area, which faces Jackson. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Gerhardt intends to add even more seating to the outdoor area, which faces Jackson.

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We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com


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