Eat-Rite Diner closes after 5 decade run

ST. LOUIS – A downtown St. Louis landmark has closed its doors after being a part of the community through five decades. The owners of the Eat-Rite Diner say they’ve served their last meal.  It’s been open since the 1970’s.

The owners, L.B. and Dorcas Powers have been known for years as Mr. and Mrs. Eat-Rite.   L.B. said, “I’m going to miss it like my right arm.”

After working in a diner for 65 years, 80-year-old L.B. Powers is hanging up his apron. His wife has been by his side for most of that time. Dorcas Powers said, “We’ve come to love the people we worked with and the people we met its just it’s kind of like home a part of our being.”

At one point, they owned seven Eat-Rite Diners. Their last one is just south of Busch Stadium. They’ve been considering calling it quits, L.B.’s health is not as good as it used to be. They said a broken exhaust fan at the diner was the last straw, plus the problem of finding dependable workers.  Dorcas said, “You hire somebody they may be there they may not, they may show up they may not.”

L.B. has had to adapt to a changing industry over the decades, including reacting to the major chain restaurants.  He said, “At one time we were the hamburger people and here come McDonald’s so we add a little more than hamburgers.”

It’s impossible to say how many lives they touched over the years serving a meal with a friendly smile. The powers have also reaped rewards that are priceless. L.B. said, “It’s hard to explain what I’m going to miss it’s been a way of life for us.” Dorcas added, “There’s not a lot of years left we should be doing something else we should be relaxing enjoying our great grandchildren.”

They worked up to the end. She’s been doing the books and he’s been down at the diner helping by washing dishes and making pancake batter.