Metro-East News

Eat-Rite Diner gets new owners, plans to reopen by Cardinals Opening Day

The Eat-Rite Diner rises again, reopening under new management after closing in October.

The downtown institution, at 622 Chouteau Avenue in St. Louis, has been reported as dead before: In July 2017, rumors ran rampant that Eat-Rite would close in the fall. Owners L.B. and Dorcas Powers said that rumor was not true but that they had operated the diner since 1970 and were not sure how long they could keep it going.

In October, Eat-Rite closed due to mechanical issues with an exhaust fan, and the Powerses said they were looking for a buyer. They considered it unlikely, they said, because certain issues with the building had been grandfathered in during their 47-year run.

But St. Louis reacted with dismay, begging the Powerses to reconsider. A customer launched a GoFundMe to raise $1,500 to replace the fan and ended up raising more than $1,700.

Now, however, Joel and Shawna Holtman have purchased the diner and are refurbishing it, according to KMOX. They hope to have it open by Cardinals Opening Day, they told KMOX. Mechanical issues are being addressed, but the old-fashioned decor will remain, they said.

The diner goes back even further than the Powers family. At only 516 square feet, it was likely constructed in the 1930s. It survived economic rises and falls, two baseball stadiums only a few blocks away and an armed robber in the 1980s who fired off a shot into the porcelain tile.

It was famously known as the place to go for a slinger at 4 a.m. and served celebrities such as musician Chuck Berry, sportscaster Jack Buck, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and baseball players Mike Shannon and David Freese.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald