Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Companion Bakery Renovates Clayton Cafe, Eyes Regional Expansion

Posted By on Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Inside the renovated Companion Cafe. | Nancy Stiles
  • Inside the renovated Companion Cafe. | Nancy Stiles

The newly renovated Companion Cafe (8143 Maryland Avenue, Clayton; 314-352-4770) reopened Monday, August 11, after quick facelift. We stopped by to check it out and spoke to owner Josh Allen about the new looks.

See also: Chef's Choice: Josh Allen, Companion

The Revolution collage inside Companion. | Nancy Stiles
  • The Revolution collage inside Companion. | Nancy Stiles

"We just celebrated our twentieth anniversary as a wholesale bakery last year and put together a new look for the brand, a 'red revolutionary' campaign, so we wanted to bring that to the cafes as well," Allen tells us. "We remodeled our Ladue cafe in March, and then we just set this one up to remodel in the last couple of weeks to bring it in line with where we are and where we're headed."

The $90,000 remodel added a dozen seats, including the outdoor patio. The tables are made from traditional butcher blocks with chairs from St. Louisan Martin Goebel at Goebel & Co. furniture.

"Bread is really the foundation of who we are, and we wanted to bring it back to that," Allen says. "Warmer wood tones, darker floor and a real emphasis on the brand."

The next step for Companion will be building more of a regional presence. The fresh bread is already distributed all over St. Louis, but Allen wants to expand that even more. The company is also getting into frozen-bread production.

"We have a really strong desire and passion to be the preeminent bakery in the middle of the country, so Missouri and its surrounding states," Allen says. "We feel like we're just about to be able to have a beer -- we're 21 at the end of the year! We're a young organization, and we're growing up and maturing and it's time to see if we can step out of St. Louis and continue to grow and evolve."

Overlooking Maryland Avenue. | Nancy Stiles
  • Overlooking Maryland Avenue. | Nancy Stiles

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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