Kakao Chocolate (2301 South Jefferson Avenue; 314-771-2310) is opening a third location in Clayton at the Centene Building, which also houses Niche and Pastaria. It will be retail only (so no chocolate production will take place), but it'll be the only Kakao to serve coffee and espresso drinks.
"We're really excited to be in the same place as two of the best restaurants in Missouri with Gerard Craft," owner Brian Pelletier tells us. "It's just the right time. I didn't have a plan when I first opened -- I just wanted to open a shop and make chocolate."
It's only a 1,250-square-foot space, so there isn't any room to make chocolate. Instead, it will come from the south-city and Maplewood locations. You'll be able to get Serendipity ice cream, though, and all of Kakao's housemade toppings.
Pelletier first served coffee in order to feature local roasters when he opened the original Kakao on Jefferson Avenue in 2008. Ultimately, he decided to focus on the chocolate. Now, he says, coffee will serve a need in the neighborhood, and there are even more small-time St. Louis roasters to spotlight.
"We're not going to have just one, but showcase all of the great coffee brands here in St. Louis," Pelletier says. "I think that there are just some great roasters here -- Kuva, Stringbean, and even the more traditional ones like Kaldi's and Chauvin."
Kakao has done collaborations in the past, particularly with local breweries, but he says it's still too early to know if he'll team up with his neighbors at Pastaria and Niche. "It would be an honor. We source a lot of our stuff locally, so we want to be able to collaborate with everybody we can do stuff with."
Although he laughs and admits it isn't usually the case, Pelletier and his team are aiming for a May opening if everything goes according to plan.
"The opportunity to take another step and do it in such a way that we could be part of a really great restaurant scene in Clayton was a no-brainer for us," he says.