Food & Drink

The mall keeps changing. A look back at 11 popular restaurants that shoppers miss.

The former home of Olga’s Kitchen is vacant again, a futuristic machine outside of J.C. Penney dispenses frozen yogurt on demand and Famous-Barr French onion soup is a distant memory.

Inside and outside the mall, shoppers still have plenty of dining options, but it’s hard for some shoppers to forget about their favorites.

Here’s a look back at 11 of the most missed eateries in and around St. Clair Square.

Olga’s Kitchen

Olga’s Kitchen closed in 2015, leaving St. Clair Square after 36 years. The Mediterranean restaurant was located near Dillard’s inside St. Clair Square. If you miss it, you can still find the eatery nearby at Alton Square Mall.

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The former home of Olga’s Kitchen at St. Clair Square. News-Democrat file photo

J. Buck’s

J. Buck’s left its Fairview Heights site at St. Clair Square in 2008 and later operated under a new ownership with a new name. Broadcaster Joe Buck and sister Julie Buck were principal owners of two of the seven J. Buck’s restaurants at the time.

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J Buck’s Restaurant under construction during a preview party in June 2005. Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

Pasta House

More than a decade ago, a fire leveled one of Fairview Heights’ veteran eateries on an out lot of St. Claire Square. Pasta House caught fire Feb. 9, 2007, in the middle of the Friday night dinner rush. No one was hurt because the building was quickly evacuated.

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After a fire destroyed the building, all that remained of the Pasta House Co. restaurant in Fairview Heights was the sign. News-Democrat file photo

But by the time the fire department arrived, the building was a total loss. Employees said they smelled smoke coming from the attic, but a cause of the fire could not be determined during an investigation by the state fire marshal. The rubble sat for weeks until the investigation was completed.

Quizno’s

Quizno’s left the food court at St. Clair Square in 2011. Several other locations in the metro-east have closed, but you can still find the sandwich shop in Highland and Edwardsville.

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A look at the former Quizno’s food stand. News-Democrat file photo

Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A left St. Clair Square in 2015. The chicken sandwich fast-food chain expanded in the metro-east with stand-alone restaurants at 2532 Green Mount Commons in Belleville and another near the mall at 6203 N. Illinois St. in Fairview Heights.

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Chick-fil-A moved out of St. Clair Square in 2015. Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

St. Louis Bread Co.

St. Louis Bread Co. left its corner spot on the upper level after the close of business on Jan. 22, 2008. Its neighbor, Waldenbooks, closed the same year after having been one of the original tenants at St. Clair Square when the mall opened in 1974. Hollister, a men’s and women’s clothing store associated with Abercrombie & Fitch moved in.

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Morning walkers packed the St. Louis Bread Company after their morning workout. St. Louis Bread Co. left its corner spot on the Upper Level of St. Clair Square in 2008, Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

Max & Erma’s

Max & Erma’s Restaurant closed in 2012 after only a year in business. The Ohio-based restaurant chain had operated at St. Clair Square in a space adjacent to the mall. An employee from Max & Erma’s in Des Peres, Mo., said the restaurant closed a week ago because of a lack of business. The addition to the mall was initially built seven years ago as J. Buck’s. After J. Buck’s left, another restaurant and bar, Hanley’s Grill and Tap, operated there for a short time.

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Max and Erma’s closed in Fairview Heights. News-Democrat file photo

Casa Gallardo

Casa Gallardo was a popular destination in the 1980s and 90s, when there were fewer restaurants in the metro-east. It said “adios” to Fairview Heights in 2011 after 29 years in business. The Mexican eatery had been operating there since opening on New Year’s Day in 1983. Cheddar’s Casual Cafe bought the property, which is an out lot located near St. Clair Square at 6600 N. Illinois St. Fairview Heights.

Logan’s Roadhouse

Logan’s Roadhouse in Fairview Heights suddenly closed its doors in 2015. The western-style steakhouse chain had built and opened the restaurant in 2007 on an out lot of St. Clair Square at 51 Lincoln Highway.

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Logan’s Roadhouse in Fairview Heights suddenly closed its doors in 2015. New-Democrat file photo

Honorable mentions

York Steakhouse, Famous-Barr Restaurant, Hardee’s, Mr. Bulky’s Candy Store and Teavana by Starbucks have vanished along with Wing It, a restaurant that moved into the former home of Olga’s more than a year ago.

Did we miss your favorite place? Send me an email at canthony@bnd.com. Of course, I’m available to chat on Twitter @CaraRAnthony, and if you really want to go old school, call me on my landline at 618-239-2471.
Cara Anthony covers restaurants and retail for the Belleville News-Democrat, where she works to answer readers’ questions about restaurant openings, business closures and the best new dishes in the metro-east. She attended Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville and grew up in East St. Louis.
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