food from the fattened caf photo courtesy of paige mcdonald and stl city park digital team

The Fattened Caf is opening a brick-and-mortar just off Cherokee Street later this year

The Fattened Caf, one of St. Louis’ favorite Filipino barbecue fusion restaurants, is set to become even more of a permanent fixture in town. The concept, run by husband and wife Charlene Lopez-Young and Darren Young, is working on opening a brick-and-mortar storefront at 3405 S. Jefferson Ave.

“It feels really good but really scary at the same time,” Lopez-Young said. “The brick-and-mortar was always the goal.”

The couple started the Fattened Caf as a series of increasingly popular pop-ups in 2018. Then they expanded into consumer goods with their packaged longganisa and sauces (now available for purchase at Schnucks), began providing food at Earthbound Beer and a location on the campus of Washington University. 


fattened caf owners charlene lopez young and darren young // photo by sarah lovett


Lopez-Young said they have been slowly working on the new location for months and hope to open some time this summer. But that’s all still up in the air.

“We've been taking our time,” she said. “We didn't want to feel rushed.”

The duo lives on Cherokee Street so they prioritized the nearby area when they were looking at potential spots. They ultimately didn’t have to go far: Their new storefront is at the corner of Cherokee and Jefferson next to the Saint Louis Hop Shop.

Though there’s still a lot to do — construction is underway inside the space right now — Lopez-Young has a good idea of what the concept will look like. It will be open for breakfast and lunch (unlike their spot inside Earthbound, which follows the brewery’s evening-only, Thursday through Saturday hours), host events, and expand the Fattened Caf’s offerings a bit.

One thing she knows they’ll offer is a variety of silogs, which are dishes of cured meat with garlic rice, as well as pork belly tocino (“Filipino-style bacon”) alongside classic Fattened Caf offerings such as chicken wings, pork steak and more.

“People can really just enjoy a fuller Fattened Caf menu than what they have before,” Lopez-Young said.

She also said that they are planning on staying at Earthbound Beer, though they may switch up the menu there. So it’s more Fattened Caf growth in all directions.

“The new location allows us to really set up a footprint that is ours and that we have full control over,” she said.

This article was originally published by the Riverfront Times.