Empire Cafe will turn old shipping containers into street cafe on Cherokee | Food and Beverage News | Saint Louis
In the spring of 2014, a vacant lot at the corner of Cherokee Street and Texas Avenue is set to become the first international street food-themed restaurant in St. Louis, Cafe Empire (2622 Cherokee Street). The project comes from regional developer Jason Deem and chef Colleen Clawson (formerly of Sidney Street Cafe, Great Restaurants Incorporated and Venice Cafe), who will serve as the restaurant’s executive chef and general manager. The space has a strong emphasis on smart design, developed by Killeen Studio Architects, who have worked on hospitality projects including the Cheshire Hotel and Restaurant expansion, the Ballpark Hilton Club Lounge and the renovation of the La Vallesana restaurant.
See also: Chef’s Choice: Colleen Clawson
The cafe aims to serve as a community hub for the neighborhood with an elaborate outdoor mezzanine as well as an open rooftop patio. The smaller interior will have counter seating and stools for 12-20 people, while the exterior intends to hold up to 100 seats. Much of the building’s structure will come from repurposed shipping containers that have made their way in from around the world, in keeping with the international theme.
The restaurant’s hours will eventually extend from lunch until late at night, serving alcohol until 1:30 a.m. Initially, however, Clawson hopes to open for breakfast service.
When developing the menu, Clawson explains, in addition to emphasizing sustainability, seasonal availability and health awareness, the primary goal is to ensure that menu items are easily transportable and affordable.
“It’s going to be a rotating menu… It’s going to be more concept driven than necessarily having the same menu items all the time,” says Lawson. “I will draw influences from all over the world: South Asian, African, South American, regional American and European.”
Empire Cafe construction will begin in the coming weeks. In the meantime, follow Empire Cafe on Facebook. Especially as we learn it.
Click to see some other artist renderings by Killeen Studio Architects.