Come May 6, Gather will be serving up soups, sandwiches, pastries and more in the heart of McKinley Heights.

“Gather, and the concept behind it, is about making space for everyone to show up as their biggest, fullest selves – unapologetically,” says Megan King-Popp, co-owner of Gather. Located at 1854 Russell Blvd., the new neighborhood café will replace what used to be the café portion of Urban Fort Play Cafe, which is also co-owned by King-Popp.

“The play space, Urban Fort Play, will remain on the east side of the building with Gather opening a fresh take on the café space on the west,” says King-Popp. “Gather will serve as a community space for McKinley Heights residents and surrounding neighborhoods while also continuing to serve Urban Fort families with full access to all that Gather offers.”

Offerings include breakfast items like quiche, a French toast bake and an infamous breakfast sandwich, to name a few.

“Our breakfast sandwich is definitely the fan favorite,” says King-Popp. “It’s a croissant sandwich with an over-medium egg, greens, tomato and our garlic aïoli and white Cheddar. We make everything in-house, so our aïolis are made in-house, our pastries are made in-house, our quiche is made in-house.”

Lunch, meanwhile, features a turkey and bacon panini and a curried chicken salad sandwich alongside a couple vegan options – think a curried butternut squash bisque and a vegan bagel sandwich.

“We really try to do everything homemade and bring that attention to detail to the café,” says King-Popp.

Gather will not only offer tea from Big Heart Tea and a full espresso bar featuring local partners such as Blueprint Coffee and Living Room Coffee & Kitchen, but also canned cocktails from 4 Hands Brewing Co., nonalcoholic beer from WellBeing Brewing Co. and more.

Gather will also be taking COVID precautions into account with mask requirements, employee health checks and EPA-approved disinfectant. Customers can place an order indoor or online, and dining will be available exclusively on the patio to start.

“The intention of Urban Fort was for parents and children to have a place where they could show up exactly as they are unapologetically,” says King-Popp. “We have succeeded at that goal and now desire to bring that same sense of inclusivity to our neighbors as we create this new space specifically for them.”

Gather, 1854 Russell Blvd., McKinley Heights, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.376.4235, gathercafestl.com