McArthur's Bakery is bringing a new café concept to Kirkwood, and the new concept has a particular mission in mind.
The Pioneer Bakery Café is slated to open sometime after Labor Day, but its most important staff probably won't make an appearance until later this fall. That's when Pioneer will fulfill its mission of being a place to train and employ adults with intellectual disabilities in the workforce.
For owner Scott Rinaberger and his wife, Sheila, it's a passion project. The two even met while volunteering for an organization that provides various educational services for adults with intellectual disabilities. In recent years, the couple was inspired to take action by two families who felt that that the opportunities for members of their family living with disabilities were so limited.
"The question always is, 'What happens after the education or services stop?'", Rinaberger says. "What happens to this wonderful population of people who don't have employment opportunities?""
Rinaberger began brainstorming for a way to use the now-shuttered McArthur's space in Kirkwood for good; it was already fully equipped and ready to be used. After being connected with Lafayette Industries, a St. Louis packaging business that employs nearly 400 adults with disabilities on a full-time basis, the plans for the Pioneer Bakery Café came together.
Although owned by Rinaberger, Pioneer will look a little different than other McArthur's locations. Aside from its mission, the restaurant will focus more on breakfast, lunch and brunch than dessert. Guests can expect elevated pastries from executive chef Saul Juarez, who was most recently the pastry chef at the Angad Arts Hotel.
"This is going to be a whole different product line of food that we believe is missing from this neighborhood," Rinaberger says.
In addition to its staffing goals, proceeds from the restaurant will also be reinvested back into the cause, including creating work grants to help place individuals with disabilities in the food and hospitality industry. Rinaberger also hopes that this will encourage more restaurants to hire adults with disabilities.
Editor's note: This post has been updated to include that Saul Juarez will be the executive chef at The Pioneer Bakery Café.
The Pioneer Bakery Café, 210 N. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, Missouri