St. Louis Restaurant Openings and Closings: December 2020

Bloom Cafe, a restaurant with a social mission, was one of the casualties of COVID-19. - MABEL SUEN
Bloom Cafe, a restaurant with a social mission, was one of the casualties of COVID-19.

As this hellscape of a year drew to a close, the pandemic-related misery in the hospitality business remained brutally apparent in the form of several iconic closures. Eat-Rite, Mangia Italiano, Missouri Bar & Grill — it's difficult to imagine the St. Louis dining landscape without these storied spaces. Their loss is felt so hard for the exact reason they were unable to survive: They were gathering places, community watering holes, industry spots, the places that simply cannot exist in the transactional world this damn virus had rendered the human experience.

Though not a historic spot, the loss of Bloom Cafe is equally painful. Opened in 2018 as a social enterprise to empower people with disabilities who are traditionally shut out of the workforce, the restaurant served a vital need in the community. We lost a good restaurant, yes, but even more significant is the loss of opportunity for those who really need it.

Still, life goes on. David and Meggan Sandusky tripled down on their BEAST brand, this time with their third location, BEAST Southern Kitchen & BBQ in Columbia, Illinois, which promises to be a bastion of down-home comfort food on either side of the river. K-Bop, the popular Korean food truck, put down roots at a brick and mortar on the eastern side of the Delmar Loop, and Lulu's Local Eatery reopened under new ownership, reviving a beloved brand for vegans and omnivores alike.

Did we miss anything? If so, leave a note in the comments.

B.A.B.S. (Ghost Kitchen inside Sanctuary), the Grove
BEAST Southern Kitchen & BBQ, Columbia, IL
K-Bop, Delmar Loop
Lulu's Local Eatery (Re-opened under new ownership), South Grand

Bloom Cafe, Kings Oak
Eat-Rite, Downtown
Mangia Italiano, South Grand
Mango Peruvian Cuisine, Downtown
Missouri Bar & Grill, Downtown
New Day Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe, Clayton

We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected].
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About The Author

Cheryl Baehr

Cheryl Baehr is the restaurant critic for the Riverfront Times and an international woman of mystery. Follow her on the socials at @cherylabaehr
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