Black Forest Kaffee Haus is now open in Tower Grove East

After a multi-year process to rehab a historic space that was previously a convenience store, Black Forest Kaffee Haus has opened up at 2900 Sidney St. In part inspired by German fairy tales, Black Forest hopes to bring a cozy, nostalgic spot to the Tower Grove East neighborhood.

“I’ve been in the food industry since I was young,” said Kacky Cooksey, owner of Black Forest. “[My husband and I] are both passionate about coffee culture and the German tradition as we knew it as kids. We both have German heritage. We saw that tradition fading out of the area and we wanted [Black Forest] to be like what we knew when we were younger. We used to go to places that are now closed like the Feasting Fox and Schniethorst’s, and we thought it would be great to have another place like that in St. Louis.”

As for the German theme that embodies the shop, it was born out of a nostalgic wistfulness that dates back many years. “We wanted [Black Forest] to be like the German places we remembered as kids. [We wanted the] beautiful woodwork, something that hit all of the senses, that your eye and ear are drawn to,” said Cooksey. “We’ve got cuckoo clocks on the wall and all of our chandeliers came from places that were rehabbed. We’re really trying to get that Old World look – when you walk in, [Black Forest] tells its own story. It’s a home away from home.”

But decor alone does not a coffee shop make. Local coffee chain Kaldi’s has helped to get Black’s Forest’s beans boiling. “We partnered with Kaldi’s Coffee,” said Cooksey. “They came out to train us – we learned how to make their specialty drinks and we base our menu off of what we can make with the equipment. We’ve got espresso, drip-prepared coffee, as well as a tea selection.”

In addition, both the breakfast and lunch menus have a little something for everyone. “We’ve got a breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese and German sausage, egg bites, assorted pastries and muffins. We want to respect everyone’s dietary restrictions, so we aim to have vegan and gluten-free options,” Cooksey said, adding you should call ahead to check for availability.

As for their lunch menu, Black Forest has local brats with optional sauerkraut, as well as a soup of the day like chicken noodle and cream of potato, among other bites and sweets. 

“The German chocolate gooey bar is just amazing,” said Cooksey. “I literally put it out on Saturday for the weekend, but by the end of the day it was gone – everyone was asking, ‘Where can I buy it?’ I couldn’t believe how big of a hit it was. It’s really rich; three bites and you’re going to want to save it for later,” laughed Cooksey.

Black Forest aims to be a comfortable spot that offers that perfect coffee shop atmosphere for everyone, not just locals and regulars. “I really want it to be a place where people want to come, meet up, meet their friends, and have a place where they can work and concentrate on what needs to get done. The neighborhood response has been amazing, I couldn’t have dreamed it to be better,” said Cooksey. “It was exactly what we were hoping for. People were taking pictures, reading the books we have to their kids. We want to provide a friendly, very welcoming space – a coffee shop for people to call their own.”

While they are currently having a soft opening period during the holidays, Black Forest plans to host a grand opening on Jan. 15. “Our biggest challenge is getting people hired and trained and onboard, so when we get our customers, they get a quality experience and want to come back. We’re working on our future schedule; we’ll play it by ear and figure out which days would be good to be open,” said Cooksey. 

Black Forest Kaffee House is currently open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Stay tuned on their social media for further announcements about their hours after their grand opening.