Charming Hospitality Sweet is plotting to make Preston Center a sweeter place. The downtown bakery-coffee shop is opening a second branch at 6135 Luther Ln., hopefully bringing prosperity to a location with a tortured past.
The space was most previously a short-termer called Peak Grille, but was once home for many years to Italian restaurant Cafe Expresso (and before that, Lombardi's). Unlocking the right formula presented a challenge to the owners of Peak Grille, who hoped that their pizza oven would attract families; and prior to that, to the owner of Bowen's Cafe Expresso, who hoped that a menu consult from Top Chef contestant Tiffany Derry would do the trick.
Hospitality Sweet co-founder Meghan Adams has a different vision for the space.
"We're going to experiment, but we're not planning on doing dinner," she says. "We'll do beer and wine, but there are so many great dinner spots in that area already. We'll do lunch, and the same cakes and pastries we're known for. But one thing we'll do differently from our branch downtown is a more extensive breakfast menu."
Meghan co-founded The Hospitality Sweet with her sister Kristen and their mother Barbara in 2008, catering boxed lunches and prepared meals to friends and family, plus cakes, cake pops, and other sweets. In 2011, they opened their first retail location inside design store Timothy Oulton at Potter Square, then opened their café at 400 N. Ervay St., offering breakfast, lunch, coffee, and pastries. They also have a satellite in the lobby at 750 N. St. Paul St.
"I wasn't planning on opening a second location in the near future but this space opened up and I live about five minutes away," Meghan says. "When my sister and I originally started the company and were doing catering, most of our clients were in the Park Cities. Downtown ended up being an entirely new clientele, but now we'll be there for our original audience."
She says she's aiming to be open by January 2016, and just began working with designer Kelly Mitchell to bring the spirit of their downtown location to Luther Lane: white subway tile, white marble, an elevation of the ceiling.
"We're basically trying to bring that same downtown look to this spot," Adams says.