Southern Grace Coffee is opening a brick-and-mortar in The Meadows at Lake Saint Louis this winter
For owner Mitzy Wylie and her husband and business partner Hank Wylie, coffee has always been important. “My wife and I love coffee, always have. I traveled for almost 20 years of my career and worked in and out of coffee shops,” said Hank Wylie. “I always said once we get to a point where we want to stop traveling, I think we should open a coffee shop.” That point came during the pandemic, but they waited and launched a mobile truck in spring 2022, first at Elsberry High School, then all around Lincoln, Warren, St. Charles and St. Louis counties.
Southern Grace Coffee began looking for a space to put a commissary kitchen in Elsberry; however, once they parked the truck outside of the Elsberry space, they quickly saw more potential and opened their first brick-and-mortar in January 2023 at 302 Broadway St. “We decided to park the truck outside the potential building to see how it does. Well, people were lined up in the snow and rain every day to get coffee,” Wylie said. “We decided to take a look at the inside and see if we could use it as a commissary. Then we decided to build it out and make a shop.”
As for the Lake St. Louis location, the couple had just been looking for a place to park their food truck at the shopping center, but it was so well-received that The Meadows ownership was more interested in having Southern Grace Coffee become a permanent shop.
The 1,500-square-foot space has a capacity of 49 people with no outdoor seating options as of now, though they plan to add a few small tables next spring. The relaxing ambiance has something for everybody including a fireplace, grass-covered selfie wall with their logo and some nice chairs, workstations and large tables. “It’s going to be cozy, a place to come in and relax,” he said.
The menu features specialty drinks named after friends and family. Popular specialty drinks include Uncle U’s Peanut Butter and Pappy’s White Chocolate. The menu also includes espresso, tea and frappe options, as well as plant-based Lotus energy drinks made with caffeine from natural sources. “It’s just energy but without the crash. We also have an option to power up any drink we have,” Wylie said. “It’s a great alternative to your typical energy drinks because it’s all-natural.” They also offer food such as muffins, bagels, breakfast sandwiches, overnight oats and even biscuits and gravy on Saturdays. Wylie said the menu will vary a bit between locations and they plan to try some new menu items such as burritos and ciabatta sandwiches in Lake St. Louis.
Southern Grace Coffee values customer service and believes that will be the difference between the truck and the shop. “The brick-and-mortar is more of a personal, friendly atmosphere,” Wylie said. “I think it's big to have that personal connection with our customers.” Wylie has seen the personal side of coffee shops go away over the years with the emergence of larger chain stores. “Working 20-plus years in coffee shops, over time you see the personal piece of it go away. That was huge for me, we want to bring the personal side back to local shops. The only way to do that is to get to know them. That is what sets us apart.”
Southern Grace Coffee is open at its Elsberry location from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The Lake Saint Louis location will have similar hours with the shop being open until 5 p.m. Follow Southern Grace Coffee on Instagram and Facebook for updates on the new location as well as where to find their truck around St. Louis.
Editor's note: This article was updated on Jan. 30 to include the specific opening date.