EAST ALTON/BETHALTO - Cayden’s Café opened today, July 21, and the sky is literally the limit.

Located at the St. Louis Regional Airport at 16 Terminal Drive, the new restaurant aims to serve great food with a family feel. Cayden’s Café will host their grand opening from 2–10 p.m. on July 21, complete with karaoke, drawings and a special limited menu.

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“We want this restaurant to be different than every other one that there is. We want everybody that comes in to feel like they’re at home,” owner Dawn Malone said. “Our philosophy here is when people come in, we want them to come in as a customer, leave like family.”

Malone explained that it’s always been her dream to own a spot like this. Cayden’s Café had a soft opening earlier in the week, but this bigger event will mark the official beginning of the restaurant.

They decided to serve a limited menu tonight; guests can choose between fried catfish, fried cod and fried chicken. But starting tomorrow, Cayden’s will offer a wide variety of meals, including a full breakfast menu, burgers, sandwiches, desserts and hearty chicken, pasta, steak and fish entrees. The complete menu can be found online here.

While the family prepared for today’s grand opening, they never lost sight of what the café is really about. The café is named after Malone’s firstborn grandchild, Cayden, who passed away when he was 3 years old. As heartbreaking as his passing was, Malone speaks of him with nothing but joy. It was an easy decision to dedicate the restaurant to him.

Cayden“When we decided to move forward and open up this restaurant, I talked to my girls and my boys, and we decided it was going to be named after Cayden,” Malone said. “We had to make it positive, you know? God has a day for everybody. God has a day that you’re brought here, God has a day that He takes you home. So, you know, that’s how we deal with it.”

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The family will make sure Cayden remains front and center at the café with an entire wall dedicated to him. On the wall opposite that, people can bring their own photos to be added to the “history wall,” as Malone calls it. She hopes the café will soon be covered in family photos, both her own and the family that will be created via the restaurant.

The pilots with St. Louis Regional Airport have already brought in pictures of themselves with their planes. This will be the first time in three years that a restaurant will be available at the airport. Malone added that the facility has been incredibly welcoming.

“The airport’s been wonderful. Danny [Adams], the director of the airport, has been totally awesome,” Malone said. Several airport staff members even helped carry in the restaurant’s equipment as they prepared the building. “Super, super great folks. I couldn’t ask for any more.”

Malone invites everyone to come by the restaurant and check it out. Cayden’s Café will also offer carry-out and catering services. They are available for private events and hope to be serving alcohol by January 2024. Malone and her brother own a few successful florist shops in St. Louis, and so she plans to eventually have an area where customers can buy fresh flower arrangements at the restaurant, too.

Above all else, the café is about family. Malone watched a few of her grandkids run past her, joking with the waitresses as they prepared to open, as Malone’s daughters worked together to hang a sign with the restaurant’s name outside. Taking this all in, she nodded and said, “This has been my dream for a very, very long time.”

The Cayden’s Café grand opening event will run today until 8 p.m. For more information about the restaurant, visit their website or Facebook page.

The waitstaff poses for the restaurant's newest family photo.

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