pink willow cafe in cottleville photo by michelle volansky

First Look: Pink Willow Cafe at Oak Street Inn & Lounge in Cottleville

A new breakfast, brunch and lunch eatery called Pink Willow Cafe opened earlier this month at 5523 Oak St. in Cottleville, next to Oak Street Inn & Lounge. The eatery is co-owned by spouses Terry and Allison Tonsing, who saw an opportunity they couldn’t pass up in the Oak Street Inn & Lounge project that encompasses the newly opened cafe, plus an eight-room hotel, upscale restaurant and speakeasy which are slated to open later this spring.

“We moved to Cottleville six years ago from Memphis and saw the need for a fun, unique brunch space. We’d been mulling it over [opening a brunch spot] for the last few years and pitched the idea to Oak Street Inn,” Tonsing said.

The menu includes breakfast favorites like pancakes, French toast and omelets, as well as the house avocado toast topped with housemade pickled red onions, feta and lemon zest and scratch-made biscuits and gravy, both served all day.

Lunch offerings include a soup of the day, salads and the teriyaki buddha bowl, a vegetarian, gluten-free meal, served with jasmine rice, vegetables, pineapple and a teriyaki glaze, with the option of adding a grilled chicken breast.

The drink menu includes lemonade, orange juice and Fitz’s root beer as well as a tea selection. The cafe serves Big Heart Tea Co., with offerings that include a London fog, and chai, turmeric and matcha lattes. The coffee beverages are made with Kansas City-based Messenger Coffee Co. and ranges from drip and cold brew to espresso-based drinks like cortado, americano and lattes.

Or guests can opt for what the cafe calls one of their boozy brews, by adding Irish cream to any coffee beverage, choosing the espresso martini or the elevated cold brew, made with cream de cacao, Irish cream and vanilla vodka. There’s also bottles of bubbly, wine and beer, as well as craft cocktails such as the Pink Willow French 75, Ashford Knoll sangria and classic brunch libations like mimosas and bloody marys, with the latter featuring candied bacon. There are variations on the mimosa, offered in a flight of four – with orange, pineapple and mango, plus a rotating seasonal juice offering to round out the flight.

With an interior coming in at around 1,200 square feet, there’s seating for 35 inside, an additional 16 seats on the patio, and once the rooftop seating is open, a space shared with Oak Street Inn & Lounge, there will be room for 50 guests on the roof.

Through a 35-foot hand-painted willow tree mural, daily fresh flowers on each table and a pink floral selfie wall, there’s lots of whimsical, nature inspired decor. “Willow trees are said to bring good luck and we hope that’s true for everyone who walks through our doors,” Tonsing reflected.

And with a name like Pink Willow Cafe, it should come as no surprise that the hue plays heavily in the restaurant’s aesthetic – from the midcentury-inspired overhead light fixtures to the seating and even the restrooms, pops of pink can be found everywhere.