A long-time food truck, Home Street Home Cafe and Bakery now has its own brick-and-mortar home just across the river from downtown St. Paul.
Owner and chef Destiny Buron brings her scratch comfort food—think grilled cheeses, gyros, tacos, burgers, and banh mi—to a welcoming corner spot of the neighborhood, with wine and beer to boot.
Here are five things to know before you seek out the blue food truck painted on the wall, and head inside for a casual meal that leaves you feeling good.
5. This café is a long time coming.
Buron has leased the restaurant’s current space since 2014, initially using it as a prep kitchen for her food truck and renting out the kitchen to six other small businesses. She finally bought it in 2017 and immediately began ripping up the old carpet and tearing down the drop ceiling that characterized the room. Now, the high ceiling makes the restaurant both intimate and airy, and the blue paneling and cream walls give it an inviting atmosphere. Natural light pours in from the windows, illuminating the mismatched wooden tables and chairs with a soft glow. Despite its relatively small footprint, the dining room feels like a place for taking time to catch up with friends.
4. There’s not much else like it in the neighborhood.
“The East Side has Brunson’s and Tongue in Cheek. Why can’t we have something like that here?” Buron asks. A nearby diner claps her hands upon overhearing, and seconds the question. She says she’s already been into the cafe about five times, notable, since Home Street Home has been open about six weeks. “Try the grilled cheese next time,” she tells us before heading out. The customer’s devotion makes sense when you see that the closest restaurant is Capitol View Cafe, a breakfast and lunch joint. El Burrito Mercado is also nearby, but Home Street Home adds another option to a neighborhood without too many restaurants in easy walking distance.
3. Buron works with one whole cow at a time.
Sourcing the beef from Adrian’s Farm in Watertown, Minnesota, Home Street Home goes one cow at a time. “So, the cuts of steak you get at Mancini’s—that goes right into our burgers,” Buron explains. “I think it makes a huge difference in taste.” On the food truck, a whole cow could last Buron an entire season’s worth of burgers. At the restaurant, she estimates it’ll take only three months to go through that much meat in Home Street Home’s tender burgers. As for the innards, Buron plans to makes one-night specials like liver and onions to use up every last part.
2. Home Street Home Café sources as much of its food locally as it can.
Asked how she decided to work with as many local producers as possible, Buron says simply, “I always ate that way.” When her food truck’s prep kitchen was near Hmongtown Marketplace, she sourced her ingredients there. Now the restaurant’s location is just a few blocks from a farmers market, so Buron trekked down there and started talking with the farmers and seeing how they could work together. Breads, tortillas, and chips—it's all local. She’s a little apprehensive about the winter ahead—her food truck operated from spring to fall, a stretch of time that’s fantastic for sourcing local foods, she says—but is excited by the challenge. She’s thinking she’ll serve up lasagna and roasted chicken specials during those cold months and maybe even offer to-go family meals for people coming home from work. What will stay the same is her commitment to composting and recycling as much as possible, a practice she’s preached from her food truck days.
1. It’s a true neighborhood spot.
Buron and her entire staff live around Home Street Home Cafe, many of them for years. In fact, Buron first spotted the restaurant’s eventual location while driving between her place and her father’s down the street. Their guests, too, are folks drawn in from the neighborhood: families and friends gathering over hummus plates, grilled cheese, and glasses of wine. Buron says that she recognizes almost everybody who stops in, whether or not they’ve met before. “We already have a ton of regular customers,” she adds.
As we arrived, one man had just finished his meal. He shook hands with the staff member at the register and introduced himself, asking her to tell the chef just how good his burger was. It’s easy to imagine he’ll be a new regular. In fact, we’re still thinking of the flavor Buron and her team coaxed from the tilapia folded into La Perla tortillas for the fish tacos. The name of the restaurant is apt: This is comfort food you want to make at home. But Buron’s sourcing and care with ingredients combined with the laidback vibe of the restaurant means these classics are even better enjoyed in this home away from home.
Home Street Home Cafe and Bakery
285 George St. W., St. Paul