Look What's Popping Up on the STL Dining Scene this Summer
Pop-up experiences are all the rage this summer, and we simply can’t get enough of the creative collaborations that are happening all around town. They not only give restaurants and breweries the ability to offer a novel, one-time experience to keep STL diners coming back for more, but they also allow these established spots to showcase other creative talents in the area. As one owner says, “it’s local supporting local.”
Here are a few local collaborations we’re most excited about this summer…
MOFU Tofu and Sump Coffee
Sump Coffee owner Scott Carey says his shop’s relationship with MOFU Tofu had an organic start—MOFU founder Dan Brewer was a customer in the shop, and the two quickly got to talking about food and espresso. Carey was blown away after trying MOFU’s tofu, and their conversations soon turned to ramen, a trend Carey says continues to grow bigger and bigger in New York. In light of that, MOFU Tofu and Sump Coffee are teaming up for a series of ramen pop-ups on June 28, July 26 and August 30.
Brewer says ramen is a great vehicle to feature his tofu because it’s open to a certain amount of interpretation. “You have to respect traditions, but while doing that there is so much room for innovation,” he says. The menu varies from event to event, but past dishes have included MOFU Mazeman (chicken-fried MOFU, sesame, dashi, radish, harissa, egg), Mapo MOFU Ramen (Szechuan pork & MOFU, candied turnips, sugar snaps, egg) and Smoked Chicken Shoyu (chicken broth, chashu, nettles, pickled ramps and egg).
Goshen Coffee and 4 Hands Brewing Co.
Fresh off their second place win for America’s Best Espresso at Coffee Fest, Goshen Coffee Company is partnering with 4 Hands Brewing Co. for a series of coffee pop-ups on June 28, July 5 and July 12, from 9am to 2pm at 4 Hands. Goshen is a company of five employees, and for 4 Hands to back the idea was a humbling experience, Goshen’s head roaster Argus Keppel says. Goshen is strictly wholesale right now, so Keppel says the pop-ups give them the opportunity to ensure each drink is made the best way possible.
He says you won’t find as many options in the pop-up as in most other coffee shops, but the emphasis here lies in quality, not quantity. Each pop-up will highlight a different single-origin coffee that they feel already stands out in their lineup of specialty coffee offerings. They’ll have a full espresso bar, hot coffee, and pastries from SweetArt and Pint Size Bakery. Keppel says they’ll also pour cold-brew coffee from a 4 Hands tap installed this January that creates a Guinness-like brew tasting like chocolate milk.
“This event will hopefully get people to realize that coffee is on the same level as wine and craft beer, and is for those who value quality and craft over cost and convenience,” Keppel says.
Kitchen Kulture and Sump Coffee
Following the success of their winter brunches, Kitchen Kulture and Sump are teaming up again each Thursday from noon to 3pm throughout the summer. At the Tower Grove Farmers Market, Kitchen Kulture offers prepared foods with seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers, and their recent acquisition of what chef Chris Meyer describes as a “tricked-out hot dog cart” allows them to cook on site.
For the pop-ups, they’ll incorporate Sump coffee into inventive dishes—in the past, they’ve served a coffee-crusted porchetta and tamales with a coffee-infused mole sauce. “It’s not just, ‘Hey, we need some space, can we come sell sandwiches?’” Sump Coffee’s Carey says. “There has really been an effort to make it meaningful, and that’s the reason why the two of us are partnering.”