When I did a Search on “Everest Cafe,” I ran onto an old photo of two of my kids at the basecamp of Mount Everest. So I threw it in the mix today, since we’re talking about the Nepali restaurant in The Grove and namesake of the iconic peak.
Everest is such a compelling name for a restaurant. I would say the altitude at Everest Cafe is probably about 500 feet. Compare that to its Himalayan counterpart, that reaches an elevation of 29,029 feet—literally the top of the world. With such a grandiose name on a small cafe, you know the owner has lofty aspirations.
Two Compelling Stories
When my friend, Susi suggested dinner at Everest Cafe, I was excited. First, let me note that Susi Allison and her Nepali husband, Butch Lama, live much of the year in India, where they conduct wildlife safaris in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In 1998, after she became bored with being a corporate executive here in St. Louis, she began traveling in Asia. On her adventure, she met her husband-to-be, a wildlife naturalist in a national park. Today the couple helps add adventure to the lives of travelers wanting to spend a few weeks on a well-conducted photo safari.
In their small-group tours (usually about six), Butch and Susi meet people from around the world, who are interested in observing tigers and other wildlife under the guidance of an experienced naturalist. Their base location in India’s Bandhavgarh National Park became a renowned site for photographers and tiger trackers after being featured in National Geographic.
Another Successful Immigrant Story
Well, that’s the happy-ending story of my friend, who now lives in the jungles of India among the beasties. But Everest Cafe comes with a story, too. This one of a young immigrant to this country, Devi Gurung States. (His story is recounted on the paper place mats on the restaurant table.) Orphaned as a young teenager, Devi made his way to Kathmandu. He lived on the streets for months before landing a job as a dishwasher/busboy in a local restaurant. It was there he met an American physician, Dr. James States, a mountain climber, who would change his life. Long story short: Dr. States adopted the young man, brought him to the US, and gave him the opportunity for an education.
Today Devi has both a master’s and doctorate in public health. For the last 13 years, he has operated his own restaurant, along with his wife and co-owner, Connie. Connie is Korean-American, which broadens the menu by a few dishes.
Everest Cafe: A Culinary Pinnacle
When Devi asked his father how he could repay him for his kindness, Dr. States asked only that the young man do something to help others. And Devi has done just that. At Everest Cafe, he takes pride in serving his customers fresh and organic foods from local markets. He also created the Himalayan Family Healthcare Project, that brings primary healthcare and education to remote area of Nepal.
Everest Cafe, 4145 Manchester. (Across from the Atomic Cowboy in the Grove.) Open: Tue-Fri 11:30a-2:30p; Tue-Thu, Sun 5p-9p; Fri-Sat 5p-10p; Sat-Sun 11:30a-3p; Closed Monday. Lunch Buffet: Tue-Fri 11:30a-2:30p and Sat-Sun 11:30a-3p. Menu.