destination café a wide selection of cuisines from various destinations, all with a twist. photo by lauren healey

First Look: Destination Café in Tower Grove South

Diners looking to give back while enjoying cuisines from around the world now have a new dinner destination.


Destination Café is now open at 3182 Morgan Ford Road in Tower Grove South in the former home of Plaza Café Grill & Bakery. The restaurant quietly opened about a month ago and celebrated its grand opening on Wednesday, Nov. 13.


Destination Café and food truck Destination Desserts are owned and operated by The Center For Head Injury Services, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities lead productive lives.


“We started about seven years ago with Destination Desserts, giving people with disabilities a place to learn vocational and job skills,” said Donna Gunning, executive director of The Center For Head Injury Services. “Now they will be able to learn even broader skills working in a full restaurant. It gives people who are not succeeding a place to succeed.  … Not only are we providing jobs for these people in need, but all profits also go back to the center to further our other programs.”


Executive chef Thomas Hayes created a menu with a wide selection of cuisines from various destinations, all with a twist, from a gyro burger to Cajun ziti. "We will use as much local food as possible, and we’ll likely be switching up the menu seasonally,” Hayes said.


A rotating selection of desserts is on offer, with items like gooey butter cake, cookies, cupcakes and more. The cafe will also feature local wine and beer once its liquor license is approved in the coming weeks.


The 6,000-square-foot space is airy yet cozy, with more than 60 seats amid mostly four-tops, and the decor nods to the history of the area.


“The ceiling had to be redone, but we kept as many of these gorgeous tin ceiling tiles as possible and used them throughout the building as wall art,” Gunning said.


The restaurant is currently open 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, but it will expand hours as needed, likely beginning with weekend brunch and weekday lunch. Here’s a look at Tower Grove South’s newest eatery.


Lauren Healey is associate editor at Sauce Magazine.