St. Louis dining coronavirus updates: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, acclaimed new Indo to close until further notice
A runner delivers food to customers at Pappy’s Smokehouse on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. Pappy’s is located at 3106 Olive Street in St. Louis. Photo by Christian Gooden, [email protected]
Restaurant dining rooms have shuttered throughout the region because of the coronavirus pandemic, though many restaurants themselves remain open with curbside pick-up and/or delivery available. Find a list of options here.Please continue to send updates via email ([email protected]) or direct message on Twitter or Instagram (@ianfroeb on both platforms).Rolling updates follow: 6: 00 p.m.: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, Indo to closeTed Drewes Frozen Custard will close its Chippewa Street stand until further notice, effective Saturday (March 28). It is currently operating with curbside pick-up.A Facebook post announcing the closure reads in part: “Even while providing curbside service, the risk to our employees and customers is too high to warrant staying open during this crisis. If you are still craving our product it will remain available for retail at most local grocery stores and many local pizza places and restaurants. We will try to continue producing our product to match demand, but are not requiring any of our employees to come to work.”Also announcing its closure until further notice this afternoon is the acclaimed new Botanical Heights restaurant Indo, effective Friday (March 27).“It was a hard to decision to make,” the announcement on social media says in part, “but the safety and longevity of the people that we work side-by-side with is our number one priority.”Nippon Tei and Ramen Tei, the adjacent restaurants near Ballwin operated by Indo chef Nick Bognar and his mother, Ann Bognar, are also closing until further notice effective Friday.9: 25 a.m. March 26 — Catching upIf you missed last night’s update, Pappy’s Smokehouse and its sibling restaurants have all now closed until further notice. Scroll down for more.Also closed until further notice: • I missed the announcement on Tuesday that Annie Gunn’s and the adjacent Smokehouse Market have closed until further notice.“Taking care of our Annie Gunn’s family and customers is our number-one priority, and we look forward to welcoming you all back soon,” the announcement across social media reads in part.• Morning Glory Diner in Benton Park West announced this morning on Instagram it is closing until further notice.8: 08 p.m. March 25 — Pappy’s Smokehouse and sibling restaurants close until further noticePappy’s Smokehouse is closed until further notice, effective Thursday (March 26). The beloved barbecue restaurant announced the closure on Instagram Wednesday evening.Also closing until further notice are Pappy’s sibling restaurants Southern and Dalie’s Smokehouse in Valley Park.”There is no right call on this stuff,” co-owner Mike Emerson tells Off the Menu.Emerson said, “I wondered if we were achieving our goal of helping everyone by doing minimal takeout with possible risk.”(This post has been updated to clarify Emerson’s comments about why the restaurants closed with a direct quote rather than a paraphrase.)”I can’t judge, I don’t expect others to judge,” he said. “We’re all entrepreneurs, and everybody’s got to make their own call.”Pappy’s Soulard sibling Bogart’s Smokehouse announced its temporary closure yesterday.”You get successful, and you get a big family, so you know, the bigger the family, it hurts,” Emerson said.He said the goal was to weather the storm and have a ship to keep sailing on the other side.”I made my career through hugging people when times were tough,” Emerson said, “and now the one thing they tell me is ‘OK, don’t do that.'”9: 34 a.m. March 25 — Kalbi Taco Shack closes, plus non-closing newsKalbi Taco Shack in Benton Park is the latest restaurant to end curbside pick-up and delivery service and close until further notice.“Kalbi Taco Shack would like to thank everyone for their love and support through this rough time but now with the ‘stay-at-home’ order, we feel it’s best to cease all operations of the restaurant till further notice for everyone’s safety till then please be safe,” owner Sue Wong-Shackelford said in a statement.In non-closing news: • Following up on my story last week about food trucks coping with the pandemic, Go Gyro Go owner Ken Hirsch tells me his truck and Cha Cha Chow are ready to serve out of their shared commissary kitchen at 4001 Utah Street in Tower Grove South. For Go Gyro Go, online ordering for pick-up will be available through the truck’s website for lunch (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) and dinner (4: 30-7: 30 p.m.) service.• Tower Grove East pizzeria Pizza Head remains closed, but owner Scott Sandler has announced Bagel Head, a one-day bagel pop-up. You can buy a half-dozen large plain bagels for $9; vegan cream “cheese” is available for $4. Order online from 7 a.m. on Thursday for pick-up between 3-7 p.m. Friday.• Seoul Taco has added meal kits and limited grocery items to its pick-up and delivery menu. Grocery items include meats by the pound marinated in the restaurant’s sauces and, per the announcement, “Asian specialty food items, including rice, spices, and sauces.”
An electric heart sign inside Olive + Oak on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, in Webster Groves. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, [email protected]
2: 08 p.m. March 24 — Olive & Oak, Clover and the Bee close, Cafe Natasha’s closing this weekendAcclaimed Webster Groves restaurants Olive + Oak and Clover and the Bee have closed until further notice, effective immediately.A post on Olive + Oak ‘s Facebook page announcing the closure reads in part: “Over the past few days it’s becoming very clear that Covid-19 is closing in on STL and glaringly obvious that no matter how careful we are in our execution of food handling and carry-out service, there is just too much room for error. While the financial hardship our staff will face is devastating, their health comes first.”Also on today South Grand institution Cafe Natasha’s announced it would end service after Saturday (March 29).11: 30 a.m. March 24 — Bogart’s Smokehouse to close until further noticeSoulard barbecue restaurant Bogart’s Smokehouse will close until further notice at 4 p.m. Tuesday (or earlier, if it sells out).A representative for the restaurant said sales have been down and continue to decrease.The other restaurants in Bogart’s group — Pappy’s Smokehouse, Dalie’s Smokehouse and Southern — will remain open for curbside pick-up.
The exterior of Blues City Deli on 2438 McNair Avenue in St. Louis on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. Photo by Cristina M. Fletes, [email protected]
Cristina M. Fletes
9: 05 a.m. March 24 — Blues City Deli, others close until further noticeBeloved Benton Park sandwich shop Blues City Deli has ended its curbside takeout service and will remain closed until further notice.“We feel confident that we will reopen,” owner Vince Valenza wrote in a Facebook post announcing the closure. “Please keep our staff in your thoughts and prayers as they will be temporarily out of work.”Melo’s Pizzeria, located immediately behind Blues City Deli, will remain open for call-in curbside pick-up on Thursday and Friday from 5-8: 30 p.m.“It is our hope that by taking these measures we will be able to reopen with our normal model of dine in/carry out service in the near future,” Valenza wrote.Also now closed until further notice: • Edibles & Essentials in St. Louis Hills: “Painfully we have made the decision to cease all operations for the time being as we hope this pandemic will pass quickly and we all stay safe,” owners Matt and Mary Beth Borchardt wrote on social media. “It is our full intention to re-open as soon as the world is safe for everyone to gather around the bar or chill on the patio.”• Frazer’s Restaurant and Lounge in Benton Park: “With the best interests of all our loyal guests and employees in mind, Frazer’s will be closing its doors for any business for the the next 2 weeks until we are through the more serious period of the pandemic,” owner Frazer Cameron wrote on social media.6: 00 p.m. March 23 — Blueprint Coffee closes coffee barsBlueprint Coffee is ending takeout service at its Delmar Loop and Lindenwood Park locations and closing both until further notice.“When the stay-at-home order came out, we really supported that, we felt like it was the right time for that from a public-policy standpoint,” co-founder Mike Marquard tells Off the Menu.“But for the health of our employees, to ask them to come to work in the face of that, that’s just a lot. It’s a lot to carry as an owner from a moral perspective and a safety perspective.”Marquand says while Blueprint could have continued as an “essential” business, “we’re not going to kid ourselves, coffee’s great, but you can get by without it. It’s not like calories.”Customers can still purchase packaged Blueprint coffee through its website. A skeleton crew of Blueprint owners will continue its roasting operations.Per the announcement, Blueprint hopes to reopen or become eligible for federal or state assistance by April 2. In the meantime, about a quarter of employees have paid time-off while others are receiving a stipend.Marquard says the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t yet affected Blueprint’s relationships with coffee growers across the globe. But as the company stops selling coffee — wholesale business is already down to 10 percent of its usual amount, according to Marquard — it won’t be able to enter as many contracts to purchase coffee from future harvests.5: 00 p.m. March 23 — Hamiltons close restaurants, give away sanitizerUpdated with comment from Paul HamiltonPaul and Wendy Hamilton have closed all of their restaurants until further notice. Eleven Eleven Mississippi and Vin de Set were already closed. PW Pizza and Hamilton’s Urban Steakhouse now join them.“It had a lot to do with keeping an eye on the safety of our staff, kind of gauging their comfort level on what decisions we were making,” Paul Hamilton said. “And while they were in it for whatever we could do, I kind of sensed that they were getting a little freaked out themselves.”The restaurants, located where Lafayette Square meets downtown west, also didn’t see much takeout traffic.“We obviously weren’t doing much (at lunch) because there’s nobody going down there to work,” he said. “And Lafayette Square, they’re always very supportive, but it’s not a big neighborhood.”In the meantime, the Hamiltons are giving away their restaurants’ excess sanitizer.Paul Hamilton said the decision began during a conversation with a friend in the hospital field who had been shorted some supplies. She took the medical-grade black gloves the restaurants had stocked up on, but wasn’t sure if she could take the sanitizer.The restaurant’s chemical supplier provided the proper dilution ratio. Per the press release announcing the closures, “The solution being provided is being mixed to the current CDC standard to sanitize surfaces as related to the Covid-19 outbreak. It is a 1000 parts per million chlorinated solution.”The sanitizer is free. The Hamiltons will donate any money collected to their hourly employees who have been laid off.You must bring your own container, with a limit of 32 ounces per person.The sanitizer is available in the parking lot of Vin de Set and PW Pizza at 2017 Chouteau Avenue from noon-3 p.m. daily.8: 37 p.m. March 22 — Dave Bailey closes restaurants until further noticeRestaurateur Dave Bailey is closing all of his venues — Baileys’ Chocolate Bar, two locations of Rooster, Baileys’ Range, Small Batch, Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar and Pop — until further notice.In a statement, Bailey said, “Never in our wildest dreams would we have ever thought that this would be our reality right now. Your support not only over the past couple of weeks, but for the past 15 years, means more than you could ever know.”The final service will be curbside pick-up of brunch and groceries Monday at the Tower Grove East location of Rooster on South Grand Boulevard.”It is gut-wrenching to know that our family has to be apart for now, and there are no words to express the sense of sadness we feel around this,” Bailey said in the statement. “To our employees and the St. Louis community, please know that we are going to work tirelessly to get through this with you.”Also on Sunday evening, the Webster Groves restaurant Frisco Barroom announced that it would end its takeout service and close until further notice.5: 30 p.m. March 22 — Vicia closes until further noticeVicia has ended the curbside pick-up option that replaced its regular dinner service during the coronavirus pandemic.The widely acclaimed restaurant will be closed until further notice.“It was definitely tough,” chef Michael Gallina tells Off the Menu about the decision.Gallina had already laid off much of his staff and was working with a skeleton crew to prepare the restaurant’s curbside “Family Meal” option.Still, he said the idea of that one of them could come down with COVID-19 and spread it to the others and their families “made it a little bit easier to make that decision.”Gallina’s wife and co-owner, Tara, has been talking on the phone with elected officials, discussing ways to help the restaurant industry.“We’ve been trying to focus our energy on that,” he said.
Sign up for our Go! Sneak Peek e-newsletter, your weekly go-to guide for the weekend’s best entertainment in and around the St. Louis.
Sign up now to get the most recent coronavirus headlines and other important local and national news sent to your email inbox daily.