Kay’s Kitchen is now open in Carter Commons food hall in north St. Louis

Business partners Kalima “Kay” Shahid and Robert Hickman opened their first dine-in location of Kay’s Kitchen in mid-November in the Carter Commons food hall at 6746 Page Ave. in North City.

After Hickman shared his cooking on social media, his longtime friend Shahid, who is also a chef, encouraged him to make his culinary talents public. Thus, the duo launched Kay’s Kitchen in April 2020 at 3719 W. Florissant Ave. offering only takeout. At a time when many restaurants were suffering or outright closing because of the pandemic, their operation was just starting to take shape. Shahid and Hickman sold about 60 plates from the first menu, before changing it the following week, then changing it again the next.

“We bounce ideas off of each other and try to bring different dishes we don’t have here in St. Louis so that we can provide something different for our customers,” Shahid said.

Kay’s Kitchen has a regular, core menu maintaining customer favorites, such as Buffalo egg rolls and lobster pasta. But they also have a rotating specialty menu, including new dishes like jerk chicken egg rolls, seafood egg rolls and salmon pasta. Shahid described the style of food as a little bit of everything. “We sell pasta, egg rolls, wings, pizzas, fried rice,” Shahid said. “We’re known for a lot of different things.”

After their takeout restaurant – which closed to make way for the new location – was gaining success, Shahid and Hickman started booking catering events, including a fashion show and several weddings. This business combined with the takeout storefront was enough work for them to both quit their previous jobs and take on the food scene with full force.

“We didn’t know it was going to blow up the way it did,” Shahid said.

Now, they’re excited to have a space where customers can enjoy their food inside the restaurant. With seating for up to 50 people in the food court of Carter Commons, they’re confident in the new atmosphere Kay’s Kitchen will be able to offer. Shahid described Carter Commons as a beautiful space, accompanied by two other restaurants, Healthy Habits and Adina’s Vegan Cuisine. They intend to carry out this beauty in the details of their own establishment as well. “We plate it like people out of a fine dining restaurant … whether it’s a to-go container or on a plate,” Shahid said.

Kay’s Kitchen is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. It’s closed Sunday and Monday.