La Belle Vie has been a dream of ours for almost 10 years. It is hard to explain to others how God just puts something into your heart and it is impossible to let it go but that is exactly what happened to us.
Several years ago, we felt the desire to open something in the City of St. Charles where people would gather together and create memories. We considered a wedding venue, a co-op working space and a coffee shop. We truly began a search for a building location in November 2016 and placed a letter of intent to lease or purchase 13 different locations over the next two years and nothing worked out for us.
NOTHING! We were getting frustrated because we truly felt like this was something we were supposed to do but we kept running into roadblocks.
During this time, the Great Streets Project was moving forward with the revitalization of the Frenchtown Neighborhood and we became involved – not immediately as a location for our business but because we were thrilled to see this neighborhood gain momentum. My parents grew up in the Frenchtown area and it has always been a special place for me and my family! My Dad grew up in the 900 block of North Fourth Street and my Mom grew up in the 300 block of Clark. Frenchtown was already in my DNA!
Melissa comes from a passionate entrepreneurial background as her family owned a clothing store in her hometown of Portageville, MO. The love for a hometown business and the desire to work together in St. Charles fueled us both and we were excited to find something that could work.
We met up with Len & Kim House who owned Bayard Street Antiques about their building at 1200 N. 2nd Street – initially, we were asked to consider this property as a location for a furniture resell business that we owned but after walking through, we knew this was our place! We were able to quickly negotiate a lease agreement with an option to purchase the building and we started our renovations. Melissa has an amazing eye for design and had the building completely decorated before we even opened our tool bag!
Renovations began on the building in February 2020 and, you may recall, the world went a little crazy in March of 2020! Covid slowed us down a little but it also allowed us to work daily on the project where we might not have been able to under “normal” circumstances. The plan was to open the café on the 4th of July but we were not able to obtain any commercial refrigeration equipment due to supply chain problems. Our equipment finally arrived late in August of 2020 and we passed all of the required inspections in early September allowing us now to open our coffee bar on the 14th and then the full service café on September 21, 2020.
The last two years have been an amazing ride for us and we are so excited to be a tiny part of the Frenchtown Neighborhood and the St. Charles City community. We completed the purchase of the building at 1200 N. 2nd St, the summer of 2022 and purchased 1204 N. 2nd St in late fall of 2022. This building sits right next to the cafe where we hope to expand our event space and catering operations.
We have expanded the dining area to now include an event space/party room and an inviting patio area, as well. You can now secure the space for birthday parties, showers or other events. Groups of 15-35 are perfect for the backroom and you are also able to secure the entire facility for after hours events like a rehearsal dinner, class reunion, book signing or album release parties.
Stop in a see us for a cup of coffee, breakfast or lunch. Plug in your computer and hang out for a while.
Bring a book or a friend and spend some time with us to make more memories.