SWEET ART CAFE
With plenty of buzz on Yelp and elsewhere, it’s hard to make a first visit to Sweet Art without already having a strong (probably positive) impression of the place.
The establishment touches on so many ideals: family, from-scratch/home-style cooking, healthy options, community business, small business, family business, art and cultural enrichment…
You want to like the shop and see it continue to thrive, even before actually trying any of the fare.
Complicating matters further, Sweet Art has to have one of the best local business websites in St. Louis. Easy to navigate, with tons of information and an honest, friendly readability, visitors can’t help but feel like they know all of the basics behind this neighborhood bakeshop and studio.
…and that preparedness created a disconnect that nearly disrupted my first stop in.
My advice? Have a cupcake first. Learn about its background afterwards.
All you need to know is that:
1) The shop is open until 6p W-F and until 5p on Saturdays.
2) They do accept credit cards.
3) The #80 bus runs directly in front of the shop, and there’s adequate street parking.
4) There will be multiple flavors of cupcake.
Once you try one of the fresh cakes, you’ll understand what the talk has been about. Consistently moist and flavorful, with a buttercream topping that’s at once rich and airy, sweet but not artificial, creamy with no hint of any texture but, the unfilled cupcake varieties available all were pleasing in their own ways. Compared with fellow purveyors like Jilly’s or The Cup (fka The Cupcakery), Sweet Art’s treats are an order smaller and with less lavish garnishment, but no less tempting in flavor (…and possessing the superior cake-to-frosting ratio).
The disconnect mentioned earlier comes from a few paragraphs on the shop’s website that might’ve been overlooked as the business adapted, changed, and had to deal with higher commodity prices.
Somehow, for instance, I missed that all of the food listed is only available earlier in the day. Stopping by for the Vegan Soul Food Friday in the late afternoon, following work, while the sign with the special menu was still on the door, the chalkboard menu inside clearly showed that EATS stopped at 3p.
Similarly, at a reported $2/cupcake (Yelpers know that this price has gone up), I was prepared to gorge on the traditionally-sized, cream-topped goodness, happy to’ve found a shop that had been able to subvert the $3 price point… except that prices have gone up to $2.75 each. A good value still, but not as fantastic as reported.
In the end, it’s incredibly easy to recommend this place. The cupcakes truly speak for themselves, which is why your best bet is to stop crafting an expectation with reviews and just go.
from Sweet Art:
“Our little piece of heaven is nestled in the heart of the shaw neighborhood–where we live and raise our three children. SweetArt is a neighborhood bakeshop and art studio. reine bayoc, who baked under the name moon*day*soul treats, and cbabi bayoc, who created art as the bayoc studio, decided that they should join forces (and share rent) — giving birth to SweetArt! expect delicious, scratch-made, old-school treats you know and love and exquisite paintings, drawings, and prints of music and life. expect to be full of happiness every time you visit us. we cannot wait to meet you…have a peace-filled day!”
Lunch is now served from 11:00-2:30. Please come enjoy in-house or call in your order at 314.771.4278
1. Sweet Burger: Our house-made, nut-free vegan burger that is like no other. Comes with mixed greens, tomato, ketchup and our delicious vegan magic spread.
2. Falafel burger: Our house-made vegan and gluten-free falafel patty. Comes with mixed greens, tomato, cucumber and a feta-yogurt sauce. Need it vegan? Just ask to substitute the feta sauce with our vegan magic spread.
3. Carrie (named after my beautiful grandmomma!!): Our vegan version of a BLT. Comes with crisp Smart Bacon, greens, tomato, and vegan magic spread. Perfect with avocado ($1.50 extra)
4. Vegan Sweet Burger Banh Mi: our vegan version of the classic Vietnamese sandwich. Served on our house-made hoagie bun with vegan magic spread, sriracha, cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, two mini SweetBurger patties, and a touch of sesame oil.
5. Vegan Portobello Cheesesteak: Juicy portobello mushrooms, onions, peppers, love and magic on our house hoagie bun, with a vegan cheese sauce.
6. School-House Pizza (flavors change daily)
7. World-Famous Quiche (flavors change daily)
8. Salad: inquire
9. Soup: seasonal
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