Rob Connoley’s Squatter’s Café Coming to Grand Center
St. Louis, MO/October 7, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – What does a James Beard Foundation nominated chef do to fill his time while working on plans for his foraged-food based dinner restaurant? If he’s acclaimed Chef Rob Connoley, he opens a grab-and-go breakfast and lunch joint in Grand Center. Connoley announced his plans for Squatters Café in a press release this week. The café will be located in the footprint of the shuttered Magnolia Café inside the KDHX building (3524 Washington Ave, St. Louis).
Connoley’s new counter-service restaurant will offer “familiar breakfast and lunch items that only use exceptional ingredients.” The chef says anything they can make themselves will be made onsite. “We’re all geared up to mill our own grains,” Connoley said. “Expect unforgettable yogurt bowls, seasonal meaty grits plates and amazing baked goods,” he added. Squatters Café should open in the first week of November.
The scratch-prepped café menu shouldn’t surprise anyone, given Connoley’s background. He could be called the American authority on foraged food. The Bridgeton native made a name for himself in New Mexico with his restaurant the Curious Kumquat. There he integrated unfamiliar foraged foods with quality locally-grown produce in a modern context. Connoley says he began foraging out of necessity. Since he was cooking in a rather remote community, he says he didn’t have access to local farmers and suppliers for seasonal ingredients. Being in New Mexico, he didn’t follow the foraging trends of Danish superstar Chef René Redzepi, but instead looked to the native Apache culture to learn about foraging. For his effort, Connoley received a James Beard Foundation Best Chef nomination in 2014. His cookbook, Acorns and Cattails: A Modern Foraging Cookbook of Forest, Farm and Field, was published in 2016.
After 30-years away, the acclaimed chef says he came home last year so he can be closer to his family. Since returning, he’s been presenting a series of pop-up dinners. Earlier this year Connoley had announced plans to open a new restaurant in St. Louis called Bulrush. The chef has said he envisions Bulrush as a small-venue restaurant, most likely a ticketed affair, where he can showcase his foraged cuisine, drawing on ingredients available in the St. Louis area—allowing him to flex his culinary muscle and expand his repertoire. He says he is still formulating plans for Bulrush, and hopes to open it sometime next year. Connoley says this new venture is in addition to those plans.
In the meantime, you can catch up with Chef Rob Connoley later this month at EarthDance’s 10th Annual Farmers Formal at Union Station October 13th. The event brings together top local chefs and their favorite farmers to create exquisite food and features local libations, live entertainment, as well as silent and live auctions. Ticket prices for individuals and groups of 10 range from $150 – $521 each. All proceeds will benefit EarthDance, St. Louis’ own nationally recognized Organic Farm School.
Farmers Formal 2017
Friday, October 13, 2017
St. Louis Union Station
1820 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103