Sustainable catering has arrived in St. Louis. Seed Sprout Spoon in Tower Grove South is a locally operated catering business that also offers a Sunday brunch in their storefront. The rustic farm vibe of the company offers many types of catering options that also changes seasonally. Erin Wiles and Brendan Kirby provide high-quality products of local food producers in their boutique catering.
Why did you decide to open your business?
Previously to us owning it, it was Local Harvest, which is the grocery store across the street, and their focus has always been on locally grown sustainable products. They started with just groceries at first and then branched off. This was their café here and they also started doing catering with that same principle, then they decided they wanted to just focus on the store, so Erin and I purchased the catering division from them. And both of us have that same mentality, I was a supporter of Local Harvest as a customer for a long time. We changed the name to avoid any confusion and we’ve changed a lot of what we do, we do mainly catering, because nobody was really focusing on locally sourced products and catering, we try to keep things from Missouri and Illinois, but also with the catering, what Erin and I were both pretty passionate about was sustainability. We found that there’s certainly a market for that.
When did you open?
It was in May 2016 that I came on and worked for Local Harvest for a couple months. Erin had worked for Local Harvest for about four years, two years catering, but we officially started in August 2016 so almost two years ago we changed the name and really started kicking into the catering, this year we’re booked up till the end of the year, all weekends of the fall season are already booked.
Who is your target market?
It really is pretty varied, you know obviously people that are getting married, but that’s just for the big events and stuff. We also do a fair amount during the week of smaller corporate catering, such as pet food companies, we do a whole lot of boxed lunches, we do architecture firms and doctor’s offices, it’s just anybody that goes online and searches for locally sourced catering or sustainable catering and they’ll find us. We work a lot with earth day – we do their festival, and we do another one in the fall that focuses on green dining, so we get a lot of work through that.
When is your storefront open?
Just for brunch on Sunday mornings, which we’ve definitely had a positive reaction to; people love it, it’s busy, people ask if we’ll do it more, but Saturdays, you know the other times to do brunch, are just crazy with weddings, but we’re looking at moving the catering to another spot and making this a daily breakfast place.. one day. That may not be for a couple years but that’s the goal eventually.
What is your favorite thing about your company?
Me personally I like the brunch, people come in from the neighborhood, we get to meet people, we’ve got some regulars. The catering is more chaotic hectic and crazy, but that’s the majority of our business. 80% is catering and brunch is just a small portion of it, but personally, I like meeting people in the neighborhood and getting to talk to people; that’s why I’d like to have this place as a full brunch place eventually
What makes your place/offerings/voice unique?
Well everything I guess I’ve said sort of just sets us off in the catering realm, there’s definitely other people that do some locally sourced stuff in the catering world, I’m not saying we’re the only ones in St. Louis that do that because it is something that is, for lack of a better word, “trendy.” People are into that stuff, there are buzzwords around “locally sourced”, so that’s kind of something too, but we really try to do it to another level, I mean not everything can be locally sourced, like olive oil or whatever, but I would say we try to locally source 40-60% of what we put out. 100% of our meats are always from local farms, so I feel like 100% of the protein we serve, even tofu we get from a local company, also sets us apart.
How big is your company?
Well it was just Erin and myself at first but now we have three other full-time employees, so there’s five of us that work full time, and we have about 25 people who work part-time.
What challenges have you overcome with your company?
Both Erin and I have worked seven days a week since we started this… catering is a lot of work, we’re working all the time, whenever somebody wants to order something. It’s not like we’re just open 11-5. We’ll get a lot of film shoots where its like hey can you bring us something at 3:30 in the morning when we start and then bring us lunch at 7 am. I’d have to say the biggest challenge is not losing my mind… and I haven’t yet!
One word to describe your business?
I would say chaotic but that doesn’t sound very good! I’m typically back there going crazy trying to make sure all the food gets out, Erin deals with the customers and she’s the face of the business type of thing. One word to describe what we do, you know, is sustainable. That’s what we try to focus on across the board, and that’s our goals a lot of times to take something that wouldn’t necessarily be sustainable and make it more sustainable.
Why is STL a good area for your company?
I’ve lived in St. Louis my whole life, so I think it’s a great town. For us, it’s not like we were like where should we go to open this business, it was already here we just took an existing business and morphed it into what it is now. But with the market in St. Louis, there wasn’t really anybody doing that, so it’s kind of a niche and there’s a lot of restaurants in St. Louis that are locally sourced. As far as catering was concerned we saw that there was definitely a need for that. We were the honorable mention for Sauce Magazine for “Best Caterer”, and then the Feast Awards are coming up next month and they told us we got some sort of award for Best Caterer. There are 50, 60, 70 caterers in St. Louis and those are both reader’s choice polls so that’s cool because the people think about us and I think it is because we do stand out with what we do and we do the brunch here which helps.
What do you see for the future of your company?
From when we started our main goal was to have our own venue for events where we can really implement the practices regarding sustainability, whenever we’re at another place it’s hard to keep track, sometimes, of how we do the setup of our recycling and composting. When we have our own venue- all that can be set, and we have our own staff that won’t change that often. Getting a venue is something that a lot of caterers end up doing because you can rent the space and the food. But we’re looking for something that fits us, we’ve been looking around at a lot of older buildings, and there’s a lot of venues opening up in St. Louis. We want to do something that people will know is us. That’s the main goal: move the catering operation, kitchen, and everything, to a different spot and then focus here on having the café. So if we can do those things whether its 2 years from now or 5 years or 10 years from now, that’s what we wanted to do when we set out together so that’s what we’ll do and then maybe.. not work seven days a week!
Hosting a large event? Feed your guests by catering from Seed Sprout Spoon. The team will provide your party with local fresh foods and take care of the mess. Think forward by thinking sustainable, think Seed Sprout Spoon.
To visit Seed Sprout Spoon:
Located at: 3137 Morganford Rd, St. Louis, MO 63116