protagonist cafe is now open in soulard. photo by adam rothbarth

First Look: Protagonist Cafe in Soulard

Jim Lettau, Laura Leister and Ameet Raval love a good theme. First, they opened board game bar Pieces in Soulard in 2016; earlier this month, their second concept, Protagonist Cafe, went live at 1700 S. Ninth St. in Soulard. Protagonist is a literature-themed coffee shop whose walls are lined with more than 2,000 books and literary memorabilia. 

Like any cafe, Protagonist’s centerpiece is its coffee program. The team roasts its own beans at community roastery First Crack Coffee once a week and even packages and sells a Colombian fair-trade option.

The menu features the classics: drip, Americano, latte and mocha, as well as specialty drinks like an iced Thai coffee and a truffle mocha. Like Pieces, Protagonist aims to satisfy the nondairy demographic with options like almond, soy, coconut and oat milks.

Protagonist also has a juice and kombucha menu with flavors like mango nectar, strawberry lemonade, lavender and peach-green tea.

Vegan pastries are made at Pieces and brought over daily. Savory bites include asparagus-tomato and broccoli-chorizo quiches, while sweet treats come in the form of a German chocolate cakes, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts and more.

Protagonist Cafe also offers a modest wine list with grapes from Spain, Italy, California and France; in all, they keep around seven wines available. And what would a cafe – and a literary one at that – be without Irish coffee? They’ve got it, too.  

Protagonist Cafe is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Here’s a look at Soulard’s new cafe. 

Adam Rothbarth is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine.