Uhuru Food & Pies is opening in north St. Louis in summer 2024

St. Louis' College Hill neighborhood will soon have a new source for sweet treats. Uhuru Food & Pies is set to open this summer at 3719 W. Florissant Ave. in north St. Louis in the former home of Kay's Kitchen.

The Oakland, California, business has an unusual model. It's part of Black Star Industries, the economic development subsidiary of the African People's Socialist Party. Established in 1981, volunteers sell the pies direct to customer and at festivals and farmers markets with profits benefiting the African People's Education and Defense Fund. The pies can also be sold in a variety of natural foods stores and, now, the West Florissant location.

“Uhuru Foods & Pies is unique," said Bakari Olatunji, vice chair, in a statement. "It’s not just great pie and food, which it is, it’s a cause that forwards the right of African people ourselves to determine our own lives and future, control our own land, resources, food, distribution, and means of production.”   The pies are made from scratch and include options such as apple crumb, blackberry, chocolate-bourbon-pecan, lemon chess, pumpkin, pecan and sweet potato; some are vegan. The Oakland location also sells chocolate chip cookies.

The new St. Louis spot plans to offer both dine-in and takeout options and will be represented at farmers markets and festivals, which includes a collaboration with One Africa! One Nation! Farmers Market. The organizers also hope to open a production facility, cafe and events space, dubbed Uhuru Jiko ("in the kitchen" in Swahili) at Natural Bridge and Goodfellow down the line.

The opening is part of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund's Black Power Blueprint project, which seeks to transform north St. Louis "by and for the Black community." Part of that includes purchasing abandoned buildings and restoring them and bringing food options to an area that has few.

This is not the first Black Power Blueprint project completed in the West Florissant corridor. In June, the African People's Education and Defense Fund had the grand opening for its Black Power Vanguards Community Basketball Court in north St. Louis and the organization also built a community center at Alice and West Florissant, among others.

This article was originally published by the Riverfront Times.