jodie ferguson, chef and owner of clara b's kitchen table photo by izaiah johnson

Clara B’s Kitchen Table will join LongStory Coffee in Belleville in February

Clara B’s Kitchen Table will join LongStory Coffee, which first opened in mid-December, at 732 S. Illinois St. in Belleville next month, as reported by St. Louis Magazine. With building permits still pending, an exact opening date has yet to be finalized, but Clara B’s owner Jodie Ferguson expects the eatery’s doors to be open from 8 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m. every Wednesday to Sunday starting sometime in February.

Clara B’s originated as a food truck before opening a brick-and-mortar location in downtown Belleville last year. After a few months repeatedly turning away guests from the overstuffed restaurant, which sat only 36, Ferguson decided it was time to make the move to the larger 4,000-square-foot space on South Illinois Street, which seats about 70 inside, 30 to 50 outside and features a 500-square-foot kitchen. “We’ll have room to experiment more in this new location,” Ferguson noted, “which is great because I get bored.”

For now, guests can expect to find the same mouthwatering Southern-inspired dishes like shrimp and grits, seafood gumbo and hot honey chicken biscuits offered on the restaurant’s menu, but Ferguson plans to begin rotating offerings seasonally. Highly anticipated additions include the return of pancakes, which were originally offered on the food truck, and smoked brisket, which takes inspiration from Ferguson’s Texas roots and will be featured in the likes of breakfast tacos or a Southern-style breakfast bowl. “In my hometown, you can smell barbecue everywhere you go,” Ferguson recalled. “We say, ‘Why not have barbecue for breakfast?’” Food truck and catering operations will continue, and Ferguson also plans to add a supper series in the future.

When it came to joining forces with LongStory, Ferguson said it was a match made in heaven for LongStory owner Erik Busch and herself. “He wanted to provide food but wanted to stick to what he’s good at – coffee. On the same note, if you came to Clara B’s in the past and asked for coffee, you’d get the basic coffee with cream and sugar because I have never wanted to extend myself beyond the food.” Combining the two concepts will provide diners with the best of both worlds – specialty house-roasted coffee beverages from LongStory alongside Clara B’s “refined comfort food.” “We want to offer our diners something comfortable but exciting,” Ferguson added. “Belleville has a lot of potential in the brunch space.”

LongStory, which opened in the former home of Balance Coffee and Tea in mid-December, exclusively sold its home-roasted coffee beans online and in local farmers markets prior to opening its brick-and-mortar location. The coffee shop offers specialty coffee beverages, as well as take-home bags of coffee and merch for purchase in-store or online.

Follow Clara B’s on Instagram and Facebook and LongStory Coffee on Instagram and Facebook.