OLD NORTH ST. LOUIS – It isn’t just a restaurant. It isn’t an ice cream shop, nor is it just a candy factory. It’s all three combined into one.
Crown Candy Kitchen has been sitting on the corner of 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue for the past 106 years, and the business does not plan to relocate anytime soon.
“I love this neighborhood. I love this area, and I plan on being here for the rest of my life,” Andy Karandzieff, owner of the establishment, said.
As an iconic landmark in north St. Louis with a reputation that is world renowned, Crown Candy Kitchen is a family business that has been passed down through four generations.
It was opened in 1913 by Andy’s grandfather, who passed the business on to Andy’s father in 1951. Andy’s father ran the business until the early ’90’s, then passed the reins to Andy and his brothers. Business has been booming ever since.
Whether it’s their famous BLT sandwich adorned with a pound of bacon, a pineapple milkshake or maybe even a chocolate bunny, you don’t need to spend much time in St. Louis to learn of the nostalgic establishment.
“I’ve got three, maybe four generations of customers coming through these doors now … we’ve got grandparents, we’ve got great-grandparents, we’ve got the parents and their kids … a lot of people have their roots in north St. Louis city, and we’re still here, so it’s something they can kind of still see, experience and be apart of,” Karandzieff said.
On a busy summer day, Crown Candy Kitchen will serve 800 to 1,000 customers.
Whether it’s a stacked sandwich, a caramel pecan sundae or a giant gourmet frank, the restaurant’s consistency in delivering a tasty meal coupled with excellent customer service is what keeps patrons coming back for more.
“I think it’s a lot of that authenticity … I feel like a lot of St. Louisans appreciate that,” Mark Curtin, a faithful customer, said.
“I found out about Crown Candy Kitchen on the Travel Channel, and now we come here once a year,” Curtin went on to say.
Although known for its old-school diner decor, complete with Coca-Cola collectibles, a soda fountain and a jukebox, it’s the family-friendly environment that has made Crown Candy a pillar in the community.
Neighbors who live and work in north St. Louis say they’re proud to have such a thriving business in their neighborhood.
“As long as they’re there cooking good food and bringing that uniqueness to the area, because I don’t think there’s anything else around here like that around here … it just [brings] that good nostalgic type feel to the neighborhood,” said Andréa Hughes, director of the 14th Street Art Community. Hughes is a life-long resident of St. Louis and works about a block away from Crown Candy Kitchen.
“Crown Candy is that jewel in the crown,” Hughes finished.
If you ever find yourself in Old North St. Louis, you won’t regret making a pit stop at Crown Candy Kitchen. In fact, you’ll probably go back for more.