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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

9 Mile Garden Food Truck Park Closing in an Effort to Combat COVID-19

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 10:51 AM

click to enlarge 9 Mile Garden is preemptively closing out of concern for the region's COVID-19 surge. - COURTESY OF 9 MILE GARDEN
  • COURTESY OF 9 MILE GARDEN
  • 9 Mile Garden is preemptively closing out of concern for the region's COVID-19 surge.


9 Mile Garden, the Affton food truck park and outdoor entertainment destination that opened on July 3, is temporarily shutting down this Friday. The venue cites new health and safety regulations set forth by St. Louis County, as well as its desire to support community efforts to combat COVID-19, as the reason for the closure.



In a press release announcing the suspension of operations, 9 Mile Garden's managing partner and Guerrilla Street Food co-founder, Brian Hardesty, explains the reasoning behind the decision.

"We are focused on providing a safe and socially responsible gathering space for St. Louisans, and in order to uphold that level of responsibility to our community, we've decided to be proactive and cease operations until that can be done," says Hardesty.

Effective Friday, 9 Mile Garden will close down all operations and has cancelled events for the month of August, including its Live Music Fridays, Outdoor Movies Saturdays and its screening of sporting events. The venue will not remain quiet, however; Hardesty and his team are converting the space into a collection point for donations to various local charities and a hub for drive-up food events.

9 Mile Garden opened less than a month ago to much fanfare. The venue — a first-of-its-kind food truck destination for St. Louis — brings together some of the biggest players in the city's mobile food and beverage scene and offers a family-friendly environment with entertainment options such as outdoor concerts, movies and yard games.

In its opening press, 9 Mile Garden positioned itself as a safe dining and entertainment space due to its outdoor environment and health and safety precautions. However, the latest mandate by St. Louis County that capped gatherings at 50 people makes operating virtually impossible for a venue whose existence it to be a community gathering place. Hardesty emphasizes he is on board with that decision and looks forward to resuming operations once he feels that he can do so responsibly.

"Our first and foremost concern is for the health and safety of our staff and patrons, as well as our vendors and the community we serve," says Hardesty. "We are grateful for the support from Affton and the entire St. Louis community. It has been fun to watch everyone enjoy themselves at 9 Mile Garden. While it is sad to close, we look forward to reopening soon and providing a safe place where people can gather, eat, drink and enjoy themselves and their neighbors."

We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at cheryl.baehr@riverfronttimes.com.

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