Kitchen House Coffee closes permanently in Tower Grove East
Kitchen House Coffee has closed permanently at 3149 Shenandoah Ave. after over eight years in Tower Grove East. The café’s last day of business was Sunday, March 26.
Owners Paul Whitsitt and David Rodgers made the announcement in a Facebook post, saying that the decision was “both long coming and made suddenly.” Whitsitt said multiple factors prompted the closure, including staffing issues and the owners’ long-term plans. Looking ahead to the busy spring and summer months, Whitsitt said Kitchen House was facing the need to do “some pretty serious re-staffing.” Regular staff turnover has always been one of the realities of running a café like Kitchen House, he said. “We had a wonderful staff over many years, always changing and always great people that we were learning from, great energy,” Whitsitt said. “But the nature of a coffee shop is that you don't expect employees to stay forever, they're going to move on.”
This time, however, Whitsitt and Rodgers decided it was time to call it a day. “David and I had already been thinking about the day when we don't live full-time in St. Louis, learning to make longer-term plans,” he said. “And then we were faced with either real quickly doing a lot of staffing up and training and all that, or going ahead and deciding that this is probably the right time to close. So it was something we've been talking about for a while, then only really started talking about seriously a couple of days before, and then Sunday kind of pulled the trigger and said, ‘We think we’ve got to do it now.’”
Whitsitt described an “overwhelming” response from customers in response to the closure announcement. “So much love really coming through those posts, and I'm getting a little emotional just talking about it,” he said. “But I guess the message to our customers is, ‘Thank you for that love. Thank you for sharing yourselves. And thank you for being that community that we really hoped we would see.’”