Kitchen House Coffee Turns an Urban Farm into a Tower Grove East Coffeeshop

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Things are almost ready at Kitchen House. | Courtesy Kitchen House

Kitchen House Coffee (3149 Shenendoah Avenue; 314-732-0009) is the latest coffee shop headed to St. Louis. Paul Whitsitt and David Rodgers are opening the shop this month near their Tower Grove East home and urban farm. We spoke to Whitsitt about Kitchen House, bees and vegetable juice.

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Kitchen House will serve coffee from local brewers Blueprint Coffee and Stringbean Coffee and six different teas from ReTrailer, plus housemade vegetable juices. Whisk Bakeshop will deliver fresh goodies daily, and a caterer is providing chicken salad, pasta salad and gazpacho to start. There is also a chicken coop out back to provide fresh eggs.

"My partner and I have lived in Tower Grove East for a couple years, and I was able to buy a double lot behind out house on Michigan. It had two condemned buildings -- the one we were able to save is real cute," Whitsitt tells us. "I'm told the history is that it was a kitchen house to plantation when it was first built. I started calling it Kitchen House Farm, and I want to extend that theme to the coffee shop."

The other building wasn't salvageable, but Whitsitt and Rodgers turned it into a small urban farm with chickens, a beehive and vegetables. They've been growing a variety of things, but next year the planting will be more deliberate in order to supply Kitchen House Coffee.

Kitchen House's zoning hearing is today, and Whitsitt is planning for a September 15 opening. Follow the coffeehouse on Facebook for updates.

"I just like to shake things up every now and then. I enjoyed starting the farm," Whitsitt, who has worked as a lawyer and a school district administrator. "I did a master gardener program this year, and this seemed to be a natural outgrowth of that. We saw a need in the neighborhood. We're right on the border of Tower Grove East and Compton Heights, so we hope to serve both."

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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