The Clover and the Bee Brings a Posh Breakfast and Lunch and Soon Dinner Experience to Webster Groves
Webster Groves, MO/January 12, 2018 (STL.News) –It’s not unusual for a new breakfast and lunch restaurant to set up shop in the artful creative community of Webster Groves, but to have one open that is as elegant as The Clover and the Bee is quite a coup for those in the neighborhood.
The thoughtfully- designed new neighborhood eatery is located at 100 West Lockwood Avenue, the space previously occupied for more than 50 years by the Webster Groves Bookshop. The inspiration for the name came from a follow-your-dreams poem by 19th-century poet Emily Dickinson, “To Make a Prairie.”
The newest fast-casual restaurant is the brainchild of the team behind the successfully popular Olive + Oak, the highly praised dinner destination that continues to be one of St. Louis’ most desired tables in town. That team includes owner-operator Mark Hinkle and partners Greg Ortyl and Jesse Mendica, also executive chef in both restaurants. Mike Risk with Olive + Oak since the beginning now serves as The Clover & the Bee’s chef.
The idea to create a sister restaurant was born out of their success with Olive + Oak, and from listening to what else customers wanted to see in the area. Owner Mark Hinkle says everyone has been very welcoming of the new venture. “Things have been going great,” he said. “The neighborhood has come out and been very supportive,” Hinkle added.
The team set out taking a similar approach to the food as they did at Olive + Oak, with one important difference. Hinkle says, “It is designed to be quick and affordable.” Unlike the full service dinner only Olive + Oak, and many of the nearby full service restaurants that call for commitments of 45-minute to an hour, this fast-casual “designed to order via tablets table-side” setup offers both relief for diners who’ve struggled to score a reservation and for those with little time who need meals to be faster and less complicated.
The restaurant is 2,500 square foot, seats 45 and falls under the classification of fast-casual, but when you step inside it feels nothing like what most think of as typical fast-casual. The Clover & the Bee is quite chic with its exposed brick walls, gleaming white marble counter-tops, gold wire chairs and lush emerald velvet banquettes.
The string lights and eye-catching floral mural give the space a romantic, dreamy feel. Add in the bee books and cookbooks that line one of the walls and you’ve got a very stylish café that is both sunny and welcoming. Hinkle credits his wife and his partner’s wife for the restaurant’s appearance. “My wife Jenn and my business partner’s wife Becky Ortyl designed the look of the restaurant,” he said. “We wanted to create a beautiful space and a place that people would want to visit,” Hinkle added.
The menu is unique and seasonal (it does not change daily like O+O) but the choices each day are numerous and exceptional. Breakfast consists of fewer à la minute dishes and more plate-and-go items like various breakfast sandwiches, English muffins, croissants, and other pastries.
Some of the breakfast fare includes regular standbys like homemade quiche and granola with yogurt with maple and spiced pumpkin seed. Other items for those with a taste for something a bit more exclusive are the Egg Cup, Bucatini & Tuna, Pearl Sugar Bubble Waffle, and the Cold-Smoked Salmon with chive cream cheese on a bagel.
Lunch consists of salads, sandwiches, pastas and other entrees, many with an eclectic twist. If you’re in the mood for a sandwich you could try salami with Fontina, the burrata with a charred-broccoli pesto. If you want to experiment a bit more, you might ask for the roast pork with herbed rice pilaf, Marcona almonds, arugula and orange-honey vinaigrette, the smoked flank steak served over a warm potato salad tossed with Asiago and a Caesar dressing, or the roasted asparagus with almond pesto, romesco sauce, and a poached egg.
On first entering the building, you can’t help but notice the decadent house-made goods in the bakery counter or the swank La Marzocco espresso machine. In creating the concept, Hinkle and his partners did not forget about the many coffee enthusiasts. The Clover and the Bee has its own special coffee program, headed by manager/ coffee guru, Ian Holiday, who sources coffees from around the country.
Besides tea, coffee, lattes and mochas, they also offer “drink here or take home” beverages including canned and bottled sodas, cold-pressed juices, cold brew on draft, as well as, bottled beers and wines, and premade bottled cocktails.
One of the café’s most ingenious features might be the to-go window making it easy to pick up items when you’re in a hurry. You can pick up one of the many delicious grab-and-go items or stop by the walk-up coffee window for a hot cup of coffee or one of your favorite specialty coffee drinks. It’s nice to know that if you aren’t hungry enough for a full meal, you can swing by for perhaps, an Almond milk latte with a house-made Chubby chocolate chip cookie.
Diners are enjoying breakfast and lunch at The Clover and the Bee but that will be changing soon. “Right now we’re only serving breakfast and lunch but in the next couple weeks we plan on adding a dinner menu,” said Hinkle.
Webster Groves, MO
Phone: (314) 942-1216
Hours: 7:00 to 3:30 p.m. daily