Kaldi's, Pi in Mix for the Del Taco Flying Saucer?

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The saga of the (now former) Del Taco building, a.k.a. the flying saucer, at 212 South Grand Boulevard has taken yet another intriguing turn, with two of the city's most powerful politicians tweeting competing ideas for saving the iconic structure from possible demolition.

On Saturday, Mayor Francis G. Slay engaged in  social-media footsie with Kaldi's Coffee. Slay began the discussion by tweeting, seemingly apropos of nothing, "Kaldi's interested in the Del Taco building? #fgs."

(For those unfamiliar with the mayor's Twitter account, the #fgs hashtag indicates a tweet from the mayor himself, rather than from one of his staff.)

The conversation, which my colleague Albert Samaha detailed on Daily RFT, ended without a definitive answer on what role the coffee roaster might play in the flying saucer's future. Kara Bowlin, the mayor's press secretary, told Gut Check late this afternoon that she had nothing new to report today, but to "stay tuned."

(Gut Check has also reached out to Kaldi's for comment.)

This afternoon Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed tweeted, "I've been in talks w/ owners of @pistl about unique concept restaurant in Del Taco bldg on Grand. Exciting! Stay tuned."

@pistl is the Twitter account of Pi Pizzeria. Pi owner Chris Sommers confirmed to Gut Check via email that the restaurant -- which has locations in the Delmar Loop, the Central West End, Kirkwood and Chesterfield as well as a food truck, with an additional downtown spot in the works (not to mention a Washington, D.C., location and truck) -- has entered into discussions about the saucer.

Sommers declined to divulge many details about these discussions, given their early state. However, he did reveal that the restaurant is working with SPACE Architecture + Design on renderings and that "our designs will likely include [an] homage to the building's roots."

How would either plan jibe with the vision of developer Rick Yackey? Gut Check is working to reach him for comment. More as we learn it.
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