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Mandated closings bring major changes for restaurants, bars

Late Tuesday afternoon, Nadine Soaib was hoping to sell about 100 pounds of corned beef she’d started serving late last week for St. Patrick’s Day at her Nadine’s bar and restaurant in Soulard.

Then came the news that everybody was expecting. 

At a joint press conference on Tuesday, top leaders from the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Franklin County announced that beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, all bars and restaurants must cease dine-in service and must offer only delivery, drive-through, carry out and curbside service.

Mayor Lyda Krewson said Tuesday night that it wouldn’t be a good idea to implement the change sooner.

“A lot of bars and restaurants just got a truckload of food, for example,” she said. Giving a little more time would allow them to sell the food, she explained. 

But it still was hard for Soaib, who was looking for different uses for the uneaten St. Patrick’s Day delicacy after the mandated closing on Thursday night.  

On Friday morning, she’ll take a good look at whatever she has left over of the corned beef and cabbage and other food the restaurant, at 1931 S. 12th St., planned to serve. What she can’t freeze, she’ll give to the homeless at the Sts. Peter and Paul Shelter in Soulard.

“It’s an uneasy feeling to know that your employees may be out of work,” Soaib said. “One of my cooks just bought a new car.” 

At the same time, Soaib said, “Unfortunately, for some of us, this is what it takes to take a day off.”

Joanie’s to Go
While restaurants are closing, Joanie Thomas will keep selling her original pizzaria recipe pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salads at Joanie’s to Go, 804 Russell Blvd. in Soulard. But business still isn’t as good as it was before.

“It’s been good. It’s been cut in half because we’re not getting big corporation orders,” Thomas said.

Meanwhile, some restaurants or bars started shutting down well before the announcement of the ban.

Antonio French, owner of Taha’a Twisted Tiki, decided to close his Polynesian-style bar at  4199 Manchester Ave. in the Grove after a busy night at the end of last week.

Taha’a Twisted Tiki
“When I looked at the place Saturday, and it was full of young people, given what I have learned about this virus, I don’t think it’s safe,” French said. “This is going to very much hurt us.”

French, who also publishes the SouthSider, the NorthSider and, said the bar was doing well after he bought it in September 2019. He had been looking forward to reopening the patio on March 20.

Now he’s looking into doing delivery. Although he can’t deliver alcohol, he could sell drinks without alcohol in them.

And over on Morganford Road near Arsenal Street, Delana Chambers was preparing for major changes at the Three Monkeys Restaurant she manages at 3153 Morganford. On Tuesday, only 10 people were allowed in the bar at a time, and the establishment was selling only carry out food. But there were fewer customers than that. 

The Three Monkeys
After Thursday, the restaurant will sell only the carry-out food.

To prepare for the changes, Chambers plans to sell soup by the pint. Buyers, including the needy, could pay whatever they chose. The money raised will go to tip employees.

“I cannot foretell the future,” Chambers said, after the news came out that authorities planned to close bars and restaurants. “I’m sure that everyone right now is flying by the seat of their pants.”

Jim Merkel Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit

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