Proprietors Darcy Heine and her family have lived in Shaw since the 1940s. In fact, Heine attended the same neighborhood school as her mother before her. The family has witnessed plenty of ups and downs over the years and decided the community needed a gathering space. “What better place to do that than over a cup of coffee,” says Heine.
The café serves traditional coffee, as well as espresso, macchiato, cortado, cappuccino, latte, Americano and flavored lattes, such as mint, lavender rose and Aztec chocolate. The coffee is sourced from Perc Coffee, a roaster in Savannah, Georgia. Heine briefly worked there and recalls her first cup as the moment she realized what coffee should taste like.
Fiddlehead Fern Café is the first café in St. Louis to use Modbar, a new modular coffee brewing system that houses much of the hardware underneath the counter with only the taps above. With the equipment gone, “the system creates a more intimate interaction between the customer and the barista, which further supports our mission of interacting with our community,” explains Heine.
Cold brew is available from St. Louis-based Coma Coffee Roasters. Loose leaf teas are from Firepot Nomadic Teas.
The health-conscious, flavor-packed breakfast and lunch menus are simple and largely vegetarian. Loaded toasts are the focus and showcase fresh bread from St. Louis-based traditional bread baker Joey Vitale. Hearty breakfast bowls and soup and salad specials change daily and seasonally.
The food menu is paired with a short list of wine and cocktails, some of which feature fruit-forward shrubs and syrups from St. Louis-based Heirloom Bottling Company.
The café is housed in a newly constructed building on the parking lot of a former gas station that had sat abandoned for 30 years. The gas station has been converted into a two-family residence next door.
The buildings’ modern architecture compliments the historic neighborhood's evolving urban lifestyle. The café’s bright interior is rustic modern with a few antiques, such as a bronze mirror from the home of Heine’s grandparents.
Why the name? It, along with botanical artwork and local table bouquets reflect an homage to Henry Shaw, the neighborhood’s namesake and founder of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Fiddlehead Fern Café is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, October 29 will kick off an occasional bluegrass brunch with members of the Mighty Pines. See www.fiddleheadferncafe.com for more information.
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