Restaurant Owners Break Ground

Andy Unerstall of Rhine River Development, left, along with Blue Duck Cafe and Bakery owners, Karmen and Chris Rayburn, and their daughters Annabelle, front left, and Cecilia, helped break ground for the new location, at 516 W. Front St. The restaurant will be in the first floor of the new commercial building. The building is the last commercial property in the Rhine River Development. Missourian Photo.

Blue Duck Cafe and Bakery will be the newest commercial tenant in a Rhine River Development building for which ground has been broken on Front Street.

Owners Karmen and Chris Rayburn, and their daughters Cecilia and Annabelle, helped break ground for the 6,838-square-foot building, which is located at 516 W. Front St. The restaurant will take up the first floor, 3,169 square feet.

The business currently is located at 1381 High St., Suite 111.

The addition will allow seating for 70 people inside and 40 on an outdoor patio with riverfront seating, as well as a lounge area.

Plans call for the building to be completed by Sept. 1 and the Rayburns to move in around that time.

Karmen Rayburn said the couple has been working on the transition since about November 2012, primarily for the additional space.

“We’re excited to be a part of downtown,” Chris Rayburn said.

The cafe and bakery currently is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cakes and bakery items are made to order. A limited selection of pie by the slice and cupcakes are available each day.

With the new location, the restaurant will be open for lunch, but also will serve dinner Thursdays through Saturdays. No breakfast will be served.

The couple plan to expand the retail bakery side of the business, with more dessert items on hand to sell, Karmen Rayburn said.

The lounge area will be full liquor service, which is to be expanded from beer and wine.

Chris and Karmen Rayburn took over what was Gourmet Cafe 2 1/2 years ago. Since then, the couple said the bakery and restaurant have taken off.

“We’re very excited. We’ve had a lot of support from the community,” Chris Rayburn said.

A grand opening will be announced at a later date.


The second floor of the commercial building, 3,669 square feet, is not leased yet, but would be a perfect spot for an office, said Andy Unerstall of Rhine River Development.

There will be an elevator leading upstairs, as well as front and rear stairs and a balcony on front.

Unerstall noted that the city of Washington is working toward adding parking across the street from the building later this year.

Unerstall said he’s excited about the building and the possibility for a tenant on the second floor.

“I’m excited about getting the cafe,” he said. “I think it’s really going to be an anchor for the project.”

The building is the last commercial property to be constructed in the development. Ground will be broken on the last residential building in about two weeks, Unerstall said.

The goal is for the project to be complete by the end of the year.

Unerstall also is working on the existing commercial property at 514 W. Front St. The building is 6,000 square feet and there is an option for 2,000 square feet on the east side to be added.

Unerstall Construction is working on tuck pointing, reworking the roof and getting new electric service, sprinkler system and plumbing.

The entire Rhine River development project will cost about $7.8 million.

Under a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement, the developer will get up to $900,000 in TIF funds to help develop the property.