from left: mariah ellis, ted wilson, jacob huff, brian moxey, steve russell, noah yacyshyn and iris emerson photo by izaiah johnson

10 reasons we love Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery

Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery is the Swiss army knife of bakeries, the rare kind of spot that does many things, and does them all perfectly. Loafers (as it’s called by its most devoted followers) opened in 2015 as a bakery and café, but quickly became much more than that, adding pizza, an impressive list of low-intervention wine, and a multitude of incredible snacks and bites. You voted it your favorite place to get bread, and it scored honorable mentions in the Sauce Readers' Choice sandwich and pizza categories as well. Here’s why we love it.

1. The pizza program is impeccable. From the spicy, savory marinara pizza to the earthy mushroom ’za and the simple but elegant cheese and pepperoni pies, Loafers’ pizza game is beyond solid.

smoked beet sandwich from café and bread bakery // photo by izaiah johnson

2. The beet sandwich. Featuring smoked beets, Emmentaler cheese, Thousand Island dressing, hard egg and sauerkraut, this lunch item is basically the veggie Reuben of your dreams.

3. The wine list is full of pizza-friendly bottles as well as options that are delicious on their own, from low-intervention California wines to spectacular Alsatian, Italian and French offerings. Whatever you pick, you’re guaranteed to get something that’s certified cool (and tasty).

4. The service mirrors the East Coast edge of Loafers’ pizza and wine: not necessarily upbeat and bubbly, but friendly and meticulous enough that you’ll be very comfortable. You might even relax a bit.

semolina and light & mild loaves // photo by izaiah johnson

5. The ease of online ordering, which started during the pandemic, has made it easy to score the items you desire. Smash that “Add” button at 11 a.m. sharp to ensure you get your coveted semolina loaf. We can’t lie and say we don’t miss the experience of rushing to stand in Loafers’ bread line at 10:45 a.m., but as long as we get our desired loaves, we’re happy.

6. On that note, the bread game is unparalleled. Literally, that’s why it won first place in this year’s Readers’ Choice. Highlights among co-owner Ted Wilson’s collection of masterpieces include a sour-ish, custardy Light & Mild loaf, a delightfully homey marble rye and the sesame-laden, beautifully crusty semolina. 

7. The pizza rossa is unreal. It’s spicy, tomato-y, crunchy-soft, oily, aromatic, drippy, funky and, of course, absolutely delicious.

pizza rossa // photo by izaiah johnson

8. Union Loafers’ location is perfect. Situated at the main intersection of Botanical Heights’ culinary center, it’s within a block of AO&Co, Olio, Nixta, Indo and La Patisserie Chouquette. It’s part of a neighborhood of legends.

9. The Italian salad is one of the finest in the city. Featuring pickled pepper, sliced fennel, olives, fresh mozzarella and Grana Padano and a note-perfect Italian dressing, this is a salad you’ll regret sleeping on.

10. The team is killer. From Ted Wilson and beloved industry vet Bernardo “Cowboy” Lopez in the back to beverage director and co-owner Sean Netzer and general manager Steve Russell up front, everyone at Loafers is incredible at what they do.

Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery, 1629 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.6111,