Home » Local Business » Recent Articles:

Our First Visit to Mau Haus Cat Cafe & Lounge

April 13, 2018 Featured, Local Business, Retail, St. Louis County Comments Off on Our First Visit to Mau Haus Cat Cafe & Lounge

Last weekend David and I were going to be in Maplewood, so we decided to visit Mau Haus — a cat cafe & lounge. We have some food & beverage while spending an hour in a room with 18 cats and about 15 strangers. It was a wonderful time, we’re ready to go back. You’re probably asking yourself what a cat cafe is…

A cat cafe is a combination of all things good; cats, coffee, and a relaxing cafe environment. You can relax and pet cats, and it’s great socialization for them too! The cats are adoptable, which means if you fall in love, you can apply to take them home!

A cat cafe is perfect for cat lovers who need a feline fix. Whether you can’t have cats at home, or you’ve already got some and are looking for more, we’ve always got great cats here!

We partner with Stray Haven Rescue for all adoptable cats at the cafe. All cats are up to date on shots, spayed / neutered, and microchipped. Learn more about their mission and how you can get involved here. (Mau Haus contact page)

The space is a typical urban corner storefront. Because they don’t wan the cats to get out the old main entrance is now an emergency exit only. The side entry is the only public entry — and it’s wheelchair accessible. There are no cats in the ordering section or kitchen. After you’ve signed the waiver, ordered, and space is available you go through the double door vestibule into the main area.

Inside Mau Haus the cats can climb on many areas designed just for them
This is Loreli — one of two resident cats. Click image to see the adoptable cats and Loreli’s brother Taylor — he’s huge!
The bookcase wall lacks books but it does have steps and holes for the cats
While she were there one cat climbed way up top by the front window
David takung a pic of one cat that jumped up on our table.
Crates near the entrance had new adoptable cats getting acclimated ro other cats, humans, etc.

Mau Haus is located at 3101 Sutton Blvd in Maplewood.  Note that reservations are recommended:

Reservations to spend time in the cafe are highly encouraged. We do allow walk-ins, but it’s likely that you will have to wait for a spot to open up. There is a minimum spend or donation of $5 for all walk ins. A reservation ensures that there will be a spot waiting for you!

There is a $10 per person reservation fee that gets you an hour in the lounge. It helps us cover the cost of maintaining the cat lounge and caring for the cats. As a bonus, you will get a free beverage (per person) and 20% off any food or additional beverages purchased. (Man Haus reservations page)

Just being in this space with strangers and lots of friendly cats was very relaxing, we’re looking forward to going again. We told our neighbor down the hall when we saw them at the elevator. Her first question was “does it smell?” No, the entire place smells like any cafe and the place was just as clean.

— Steve Patterson


Meeting Rapper Killer Mike’s $100 Challenge In St. Louis

I first learned about rapper Killer Mike during the 2016 presidential primary, see At a Bernie Sanders rally, an Atlanta rapper makes his political debut and How Killer Mike Became Rap’s Most Influential Political Leader. So it was no surprise he was part of an MTV/BET town hall last month. He suggested to everyone there and watching, to invest in black-owned banks — and many have responded:

Citizens Trust Bank — anchored in metro Atlanta, Columbus, Ga., Birmingham, Ala., and Eutaw, Ala. — said it has received about 8,000 new applications for depositors in recent days.

One of the catalysts: Rapper Killer Mike called in to a town hall meeting on MTV and BET on July 8 to implore the black community to deploy “a portion” of its financial resources to make a difference.

He wants 1 million people to deposit $100 apiece in small black-owned banks or credit unions, believing that those financial institutions will be more likely than other banks to make loans to black citizens and businesses — and more likely to treat them fairly in general. (USA Today: Black-owned banks get rush of new depositors)

The above linked to a VH1 story:

During the event, radio personality Charlamagne spoke with rapper Killer Mike on economic solutions for the Black community. “We can’t go out in the street and start bombing, shooting, and killing, Mike preaches. “I encourage none of us to engage in acts of violence. I encourage to take our warfare to financial institutions.”

The rapper proposes that we all should take a portion of our money and “put it into a small black bank or credit union” and watch it accumulate over the next few years. His proposal: for 1 million people to start a $100 account with any Black-owned bank. The result: it gives these small banks the ability to give out small home and business loans for areas that are being gentrified, so Black families don’t get pushed out and their businesses can thrive. (VH1: This Major Star Agrees with Killer Mike’s Economic Solution)

This made perfect sense to me, so I thought I’d see about opening an account at a black-owned bank in St. Louis. The VH1 article provide a link to make it easy to support such a bank, which led me to:

There are 22 African American owned banks (AAOBs) with assets totaling approximately $4.6 billion in assets or approximately 0.43 percent of African America’s $1.1 trillion in buying power. (HBCU Money’s 2016 African American Owned Bank Directory)

Their criteria is based on 51% ownership, here are their key findings:

  • “AAOBs are in 17 states and territories. Key states absent are Florida, Mississippi, New York, and Ohio.
  • Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee, and Wisconsin each have two AAOBs.2016 Median AAOBs Aseets: $107 551 000 ($113 470 000)*
  • Average AAOBs Assets: $210 292 000 ($233 583 000)*
  • African American bank assets saw a 1.2 percent decrease or net loss of approximately $57 million in assets in 2015.
  • AAOBs control 0.03 percent of America’s $15.7 trillion Bank Owned Assets.
  • AAOBs control 2.3 percent of FDIC designated Minority-Owned Bank Assets, which is down from 2.6 percent in 2015.
  • There has not been an AAOB started in 16 years.
  • Only 8 of 2016’s 22 AAOBs saw increases in assets.
  • For comparison, Asian American Owned Banks have approximately $46.1 billion in assets spread over 68 institutions. They control 6.0 percent of Asian America’s buying power.
    *Previous year in parentheses”

What about in St. Louis? Nada. the nearest are two options in Chicago: ISF Bank/Illinois Service Federal Savings & Loan Association and Seaway Bank & Trust, founded in 1934 & 1965, respectively.

The USA Today article linked to the Federal Reserve’s Minority-Owned Depository Institutions:

Total number of institutions 156
Total assets (thousands $) $131,324,491
Total deposits (thousands $) $107,712,933

Number of institutions by minority code (Min Cd)
1 Black or African American 23
5 Caucasian Women 6
10 Hispanic American 29
20 Asian or Pacific Islander American 61
30 Native American or Alaskan Native American 18
31 Multi-Racial American 1
32 Min Board & Serving African American Community 1
33 Min Board & Serving Hispanic Community 4
34 Min Board & Serving Asian or Pacific Islander Community 9
35 Min Board & Serving Native Am or Alaskan Native Am Community 0
36 Min Board & Serving Multi-Racial Community 2
39 Low Income Credit Union 2
Total 156

With 156 institutions one must be located in St. Louis, right? Nope.

In the entire state of Missouri here are the Minority institutions:

  • Liberty Bank & Trust: 2 locations in Kansas City
  • Central Bank of Kansas City: 2 locations in Kansas City
  • Peoples Bank: Seneca & Joplin, MO

St. Louis did have a local black-owned bank for 44 years, from 1965-2009:

Gateway Bank was established in 1965 on Union Blvd., near Natural Bridge, as the first black-owned and -operated bank in Missouri. In response to the 1963 civil-rights protests of Jefferson Bank & Trust Co.’s refusal to hire blacks, co-founder C. W. Gates and his family committed to providing banking services and loans indiscriminately to the community of North St. Louis.

“Over the years, Gateway took local deposits and made loans in a neighborhood where few other banks focused,” said Adolphus Pruitt, president of the NAACP St. Louis City.

In 2009, the bank failed under the recession, was taken over by the FDIC, and was sold to Central Bank of Kansas City. For the past three years, Central Bank was managing the bank’s $12 million in deposits and about $13 million in assets. Yet earlier this year, Central Bank received permission from the FDIC to permanently close the location in October 2012, arguing that they couldn’t find a buyer to keep the bank open.
(St. Louis American: Gateway Bank Saved)

Gateway Bank was formed after the 1963 Jefferson Bank Protest.  I used to pass Gateway Bank while riding my bike to work further North on Union Blvd in the late 90s — I was unaware of its history.

Gateway Bank under construction
Gateway Bank under construction

However, this isn’t the end of the story.

In 2012, St. Louis Community Credit Union announced plans to save Gateway Bank by purchasing the existing land. The building was demolished in 2015. With the help of additional funding from a Community Development Block Grant, as well as support from the City of St. Louis, Stifel Bank & Trust, the St. Louis City NAACP, TIAA Direct
and others, St. Louis Community Credit Union built a new state-of-the art facility on the original site, while still preserving the great heritage of Gateway Bank.
Many of Gateway’s traditions continue in the new financial institution. It opened in March 2016. (gatewayslccu.com)

Will I be going here to open a new account? No, because I’ve already been a member of St. Louis Community Credit Union since 2010. We got our car loan there in 2014 and will get another in late 2017/early 2018.

Last week I took the #04 MetroBus to see the new Gateway branch.

The New Gateway at 3412 N. Union Boulevard, click image for map
The New Gateway at 3412 N. Union Boulevard, click image for map
An updated version of the classic Gateway Bank sign is in the lobby. Much more historical documentation (photos, brochures) are on display
An updated version of the classic Gateway Bank sign is in the lobby. Much more historical documentation (photos, brochures) are on display

The following hour plus video was produced in 2015 to look back at the history of Gateway, here is a list of the people interviewed:

  • Russel Little, Sr., former Gateway shareholder
  • Barbara Harness, Gateway SVP of operations
  • Mike McMillan. Urban League
  • Thomas L. Mines, Gateway employee 1968-1975
  • Dr. John A Wright, Educator/Historian/Author
  • Delores Jones, former Gateway employee, now a St. Louis Community Credit Union employee
  • Letrissa Bennet, former Gateway employee, now a St. Louis Community Credit Union employee
  • Lisa Gates, daughter of Gateway xo-founder CW Gates and former employee

I listened to the entire video, very interesting. If your among the many who are unbanked in St. Louis or your money is elsewhere, please talk to St. Louis Community Credit Union.

— Steve Patterson


Local Pizzeria Returns To The Delmar Loop, Located Between Two National Chains

Eight years ago many people were upset when Noodle’s & Company and Chipotle Mexican Grill, both chains, were granted approval to move into a building that long-housed a record store — the lease expired.

Late last month the University City Council granted conditional-use permits to the eateries, a decision that fomented a swiftly organized revolt to place a cap on the number of formula restaurants and retail chains that can be allowed to do business in the Loop. 

Such rebellions are nothing new among the Loop’s specialty set. When Qdoba Mexican Grill moved to Delmar a couple of years ago, sound and fury ensued. But this time, some merchants insist, the stakes are higher. (RFT)

I don’t recall if a cap was put into place or not.

Locally-owned Racanelli's Pizza is located between twi national chains.
Locally-owned Racanelli’s Pizza is banjo on the Delmar Loop — now  located between two national chains.

I was very glad to see Racanelli’s return to the Delmar Loop  — it began just down the street in 1994. Since first opening, this has been among my favorite local pizza places. Hopefully the Loop has achieved a local/chain balance.

— Steve Patterson


New Brewery Improves Alley-Like Lucas Ave

The two streets on either side of Washington Ave are basically named alleys: St. Charles St (south) and Lucas Ave (north). These may have had active businesses fronting onto them decades ago, but not so much anymore.

Alpha Brewing Co. on Lucas Ave between 14th-15th is making the back of a Washington Ave building lively.

Alpha Brewing Co doesn't look like much when closed.
Alpha Brewing Co doesn’t look like much when closed.
The doors roll up when they open, changing the feel the street
The doors roll up when they open, changing the feel the street
The patio and recessed glass wall are inviting
The patio and recessed glass wall are inviting
The patio space as seen from inside
The patio space as seen from inside

Kudos to Alpha Brewing Co for a well-designed space that makes a positive contribution to an otherwise dreary road. If you visit just ignore the trash dumpsters behind adjacent buildings.

— Steve Patterson


Readers Pick Urban Chestnut As Favorite St. Louis Brew Pub

The votes are in and Urban Chestnut is the favorite St. Louis brew pub among UrbanReviewSTL readers, with a comfortable lead over 2nd place Tap Room. Results at end.

The beer garden at dawn
The beer garden at Urban Chestnut has a wonderful feel
Inside Urban Chestnut
Inside Urban Chestnut
Cheese board at Urban Chestnut pairs nicely with their beers
Cheese board at Urban Chestnut pairs nicely with their beers

Congratulations to everyone at Urban Chestnut!

Here are the results/links:

  1. Urban Chestnut 73 [20.86%]
  2. Tap Room 55 [15.71%]
  3. Civil Life 50 [14.29%]
  4. 4 Hands 31 [8.86%]
  5. Square One 29 [8.29%]
  6. Bottleworks 24 [6.86%]
  7. Six Row 24 [6.86%]
  8. Perennial 20 [5.71%]
  9. Morgan Street 10 [2.86%]
  10. Trailhead Brewing 7 [2%]
  11. Ferguson Brewing 6 [1.71%]
  12. Kirkwood Station 5 [1.43%]
  13. Augusta Brewing 5 [1.43%]
  14. Buffalo Brewing 3 [0.86%]
  15. Cathedral Square 3 [0.86%]
  16. Other: 3 [0.86%]
  17. Alpha Brewing 2 [0.57%]

I was glad to see the newly opened Alpha Brewing received some votes, I was afraid it wouldn’t since it’s so new.  I’ve been to too few of the brew pubs on this list so I need to get out more.

Here are the three “other” answers supplied by those taking the poll:

  1. i dont drink
  2. Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour!
  3. AB

One doesn’t have to drink to enjoy a brew pub, I’ve been to the Tap Room many times without drinking. Sorry, Anheuser-Busch is not a brew pub.

— Steve Patterson