First Look: Looking Meadow Cafe in Maplewood
Plant-based cafe and bakery Looking Meadow Cafe is now open at 2500 Sutton Blvd. in Maplewood. The corner cafe opened in late September in the former Stone Spiral Coffee and Curios space at the intersection of Sutton Boulevard and Lyndover Place.
Owner Jamie Herman originally launched the business as a mobile operation in October 2020 under the name Looking Meadow Coffee Co. Herman spent almost a year serving out of a rehabbed vintage camper, before a crash forced her beloved vehicle off the road. Since then, Looking Meadow has had a booth consistently at Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, where Herman built an audience for her all-vegan coffees and baked goods before announcing plans for a brick-and-mortar cafe in August 2022.
The cafe features two separate interior rooms that have space for a total of around 40 customers. There’s seating for around 20 more customers on the front patio, which looks directly onto Ryan Hummert Memorial Park. The interior is a cozy space, with walls and ceiling painted in Herman’s favorite color, a bold green. There are additional artistic flourishes created by Holly Meinert, as well as a number of works by local artists on display. If you see something you like, ask if it’s for sale – Looking Meadow doesn’t take any commission for sales of artists’ work.
Looking Meadow sources its coffee beans from Blueprint Coffee and offers a range of drinks that Herman described as “a pretty traditional selection with our twist on it.” That “twist” means Looking Meadow offers only non-dairy milks, with none of the upcharges found in some cafes for dairy-free options.
Herman also takes pride in making her own syrups using organic cane sugar. “I always try to do things that are hard to find when you’re vegan – caramel, white chocolate, and I make sure to rotate flavors like that,” she said. The opening lineup includes fall-flavored drinks like a sweet potato pie latte, made with organic, pureed sweet potato. Aside from the beautiful colors that natural produce can lend to syrups, Herman said that as a consumer, it’s important to her to know that she’s not consuming artificial colorings and preservatives.
Herman said she’s delighted her cafe gives Maplewood a coffee and dining experience that is fully plant-based. “Obviously, I'm vegan, and a priority for me is maintaining a vegan business and providing that option for mid-county now,” she said.
Every morning, Herman fills Looking Meadow’s display case with freshly baked pastries and other treats created in-house. Some of Herman’s best sellers over the past few years have been her blueberry crumble muffins, coffee cakes, triple chocolate brownies, and lemon-poppy seed shortbread cookies. Herman said she also tries to have a few gluten-free options available, like her zucchini bread. One item that is prepared off the premises is Looking Meadow’s doughnuts, which Herman can’t fry in her kitchen at the cafe.
Each month, 100 percent of the revenue from sales of a specified Funfetti cookie will be donated to a selected nonprofit. For the first month, Herman has selected Good Luck Farm, which also finds homes for rescued and rehabilitated animals. “We’re starting with Good Luck Farm, because my friend owns it and I adopted the first dog through her nonprofit that she had,” she said.
The menu also includes quiches, which Herman makes using Just Egg’s plant-based egg substitute, and sandwiches like the vegan B.L.T. Herman is also planning on working with local suppliers like Good Luck Farm to source plant-based roast beef. “It makes an amazing French dip,” Herman said.
Herman has recently added breakfast to Looking Meadow’s offerings. “I've always loved making breakfast for people, so creating brunch every day is something I'm excited about as well,” she said. Breakfast includes vegan biscuits and gravy and a breakfast sandwich, as well as a selection of toasts. The toasts showcase herbs from a custom-built greenhouse that Herman’s friends built for her inside the café, as well as produce grown just yards from the kitchen. “We have these tomatoes growing like crazy out back that are amazing and delicious and ripe off the vine,” Herman said.
Looking Meadow Cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Wednesday to Monday. Follow the café on Instagram for the latest updates on what’s going on at Looking Meadow.