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Sound Bites: Local eateries collaborating to create hyper-local food and drink

Alex Heuer

In what is often a competitive playing field, some local restaurateurs are teaming up to make sure local food stays local and businesses prosper.

Ligaya Figueras, executive editor of Sauce Magazine, said that in the St. Louis area, food and drink restaurant collaborations began around 2010 between local craft breweries such as Schlafly Bottleworks and 4 Hands Brewing Co. Now, the newest collaborating restaurants, Kitchen Kulture and Sump Coffee, hope to keep the trend going.

In 2013, Christine Meyer, co-owner of Kitchen Kulture, approached Scott Carey, owner of Sump Coffee in south St. Louis, and pitched a business partnership of selling lunch prepared by Kitchen Kulture at Sump Coffee. Kitchen Kulture began in 2011 as a pop-up restaurant booth at Tower Grove Farmer’s Market, selling t-shirts and food. The pop-up restaurant operates at any location and purchases their ingredients from the farmer’s market.

Every Thursday, Kitchen Kulture provides a different dish to Sump Coffee to sell to patrons. The effort, Carey said, teaches new and inspiring ways to engage customers and promote more business.

“Every week [Kitchen Kulture] comes, the menu is different,” Carey said, “and that inspires us to rethink what we are doing. Coffee is a pretty good catch-all, but we [think about] how we can re-inspire ourselves by doing something exceptional.”

“We try to be selective about who we work with,” Meyers added. “You want to work with people that have similar values or are using the same quality products that you’re using, and [Carey] definitely falls into that category in terms of the passion behind what he’s doing and his commitment to quality at the café.”

Meyer and Carey have also collaborated with other businesses including Pastaria, Civil Life Brewery, Local Harvest and Perennial Artisan Ales.

Sound Bites is a monthly segment produced in partnership with Sauce Magazine

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.