ST. LOUIS – After 28 years in downtown St. Louis, J.F. Sanfilippo's Italian Restaurant and Bar is closing its doors.
Sanfilippo's opened in 1991 in the Drury Inn next to America’s Center. Owner Joe Sanfilippo said there have been many highs—including the days when the Rams were still in town—but also lows, mainly in the last 10 years with St. Louis attracting less convention business.
“It’s a bit of the nature of the restaurant business, that there is going to be some turnover,” said Missy Kelley, president and CEO of Downtown STL. “We're sorry to see Sanfilippo’s go after many years in downtown STL.”
Kelley said there are over 300 restaurants downtown and while Sanfilippo’s is closing, many more are opening their doors in the city.
“We have had 12 restaurants open in the last two months. (Tuesday) is the ribbon cutting for Morton’s Steakhouse at Lumiere Casino,” she said.
Some other upcoming restaurant openings include Gringo, BLT, Cinder Block, Center Cafe, and Dao Tien.
Kelley said she’s noticed more specialized restaurants launching.
“Even in places that restaurants closed, new ones are coming back in,” she said. “For example, Bella’s Frozen Yogurt reopened a couple months ago.”
These new ventures will face the same situation Sanfilippo's has with fewer conventions coming to St. Louis. Instead, the businesses will rely more on the neighborhoods for support.
"In the core of downtown we have 10,000 residents," Kelley said. "That's not enough to sustain 300 restaurants 24-7."