Corvid's Cafe Revives 100-Year-Old Bakery to Create a Laid-Back Hangout in Kingshighway Hills

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John and Cindy Panian have operated the catering company Crabcakes Creative at 5003 Mardel Avenue for eight years. After watching four or five coffee shops go in and out of business in the space next door, the chefs finally opened their own storefront this past weekend: Corvid's Cafe (5001 Mardel Avenue; 314-481-1522).

See also: The Corner Cup Now Open in Dogtown

"There was always a little coffee shop in the building, and we did the food for the previous owners," Cindy Panian tells us. "We used to dream about what we would do different if it was ours."

Finally, after the latest tenant left, the Panians took over the space for Corvid's Cafe. They originally planned to open in October 2013, but were set back by red tape -- namely, zoning restrictions. The Panians wanted to name the cafe Magpie after their daughter, Magdalena, but there's already a Magpie Cafe in St. Charles. Their next choice was Sage, but there was already one in Soulard (it's now closed). Magpie and her parents settled for Corvid's, which is the family of birds that includes her namesake, as well as ravens, crows and nutcrackers. Cindy Panian says she hopes to foster a sense of community in the neighborhood.

"We live on premise, so we're here 24 hours a day. We lived in Clifton Heights for twelve years and knew two sets of neighbors," she says. "In eight years here, we know half of the neighborhood. We're hoping this will be a place people will go to if they want a cup of coffee and are feeling lonely and want to see people they know."

The building was actually a bakery almost 100 years ago, and it was built around the kitchen. Panian says they have the original ovens from the Old World German kitchen; it's the only commercial kitchen she has seen with hardwood floors.

"Obviously we want to make enough money to survive, but it's not the goal," Panian says. "We're not money-driven people. We want to make people smile. That sounds like a greeting card, but it's true."

The cafe's current menu offers soups, salads, paninis, sandwiches -- one made with the Panians' signature crabcakes -- pizzas and "Super Spuds," a variety of souped-up baked potatoes.

An earlier version of this post said Sage was in Benton Park, not Soulard. We regret the error.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at nancy.stiles@riverfronttimes.com or follow her on Twitter.




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10 comments
Molly Hill
Molly Hill

Yes! I highly recommend the Roasted Red Pepper Fetta Dip with Pita bread appetizer. The ingredients where very fresh and the flavors well balanced and pleasing. Also where else can you get a Crabcake sandwich? ( The Crabwich) My hubby had that and thoroughly enjoyed it! The service was great and the food arrived in a timely manor. The locally roasted coffee they serve is absolutely excellent too!

racaub42
racaub42

So excited! We live a block over and have been eagerly awaiting "Coming Soon."

nancy.stiles
nancy.stiles

Hey guys, my editor added the headline. I am aware it's not in Clifton Heights. Should be fixed now. Thanks!

Wump
Wump

kingshighway hills, that is some esoteric shit, even for me

ahughes80
ahughes80

Kingshighway Hills, Northampton, something.  Definitely not Clifton Heights.

cindycrabcakes
cindycrabcakes

Hi Nancy,

Thanks so much for the wonderful article!  We so appreciate it.  There is one small correction though, we are actually located in Kingshighway Hills, not Clifton Heights.  (We did live in Clifton Heights for about 12 years.)  We are tucked away in a little residential neighborhood between The Hill and St. Louis Hills.  Come have some coffee with us soon!

Cindy

johnnycrabcakes
johnnycrabcakes

Just an FYI -- Corvid's Cafe is actually in the Kingshighway Hills neighborhood.

Thanks

Wump
Wump

as usual I will correct your mistake (and im sure you wont update the article) sage was in Soulard, not Benton Park, you are welcome.

Wump
Wump

@nancy.stiles @Wumpgotta troll you harder than the billy goats gruff to get a response, but hey, its worked this time.

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