A Better St. Louis. Powered by Journalism.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Print
  • Email

Will Citygarden restaurant closing

In Out & About

3:40 pm on Sun, 09.25.11

Updated at 4:52 pm on Mon, 09.26.11

When dining in downtown St. Louis' Citygarden sculpture park you're more likely to hear "Would you like a wine list?" than "Do you want fries with that?" But that could change with the closing of Terrace View restaurant.

meyer150dannyEllenSlverman
Photo by Ellen Silverman
Danny Meyer

Immediately following Tuesday's announcement that Terrace View will shut its doors at the end of the year, New York restaurateur Danny Meyer began getting telephone calls and emails. The messages to the the St. Louis native were all the same: Would he consider opening a Shake Shack in Citygarden?

Meyer's lucrative 13-and-counting Shake Shacks — offering little more than burgers, fries, shakes and concretes — are an homage to his growing up in the Gateway City, a marriage of Ted Drewes, Steak 'n Shake, and Fitz's Drive-In (the original hamburger joint in Richmond Heights that inspired the current Fitz's Rootbeer operation.)

"I think if you love where you came from as I do St. Louis, you always have a little thing in the back of your mind that says, 'Could I ever come home?' " Meyer said.

Would Burgers Beat Bruscetta?

If Meyer were to ever open a restaurant in St. Louis, the odds favor a Shake Shack over one of his fine dining establishments, he said. The Shacks are the only one of his restaurants to expand beyond New York City to other major East Coast cities and even Dubai and Kuwait City in the Middle East.

ShakeShack300msgcindy
Photo by Cindy Betz
Shake Shack in New York City's Madison Square Park

As for Citygarden, Meyer has never been there. He did acknowledge that the success of Madison Square Garden location and other Shake Shacks that border parks might bode well for a Citygarden spot. But success is built on many factors, including the availability of the Shack's signature beef and the amount of foot traffic.

"I don't know enough about how many pedestrians go through there morning, noon and night," Meyer said. "One of the reasons Madison Square Park works so well is that unless it's pouring rain or freezing out, there's a line every single day, all day from 11 in the morning until 11 o'clock at night."

Volume is critical, agreed Terrace View owner Jim Fiala. Both hot and cold weather have kept people away from his restaurant because they see the park and the restaurant as a package deal.

In good weather, Terrace View's gourmet pizzettas, seared pork loin and Reuben eggs benedict pull in 120 to 130 people who spend an average of $15 each for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. Not bad, said Fiala, who also owns Acero, Liluma and The Crossing. But lunchtime fare like burgers or even barbecue might make more sense.

"A place like Pappy's is doing 1,000 people a day — they've got a wait outside the door," Fiala said. "[At Citygarden] you need somebody who can do $7 or $10 a person and do 500 to 1,000 people a day."

'sweet Spot'

Maggie Campbell, president of Partnership for Downtown St. Louis believes Shake Shack would be a good match for the Citygarden site.

"it would be a magnet, a great compliment to a public space," Campbell said. "It's a proven driver — it would be amazing."

Campbell150Maggie
Photo provided
Maggie Campbell

As further evidence, Campbell points to the food trucks that have seen recent success downtown.

"That area has consistently been supporting six to eight food trucks," Campbell said. "That shows you there is a demand — a strong demand — at least in the daytime, for affordable lunch options."

But Terrace View was designed for fine dining. According to Campbell, changing the fare to fast food would mean significantly altering the space. Any lunch establishment entrepreneur would have to negotiate renovations. "It's a business decision somebody has to make," Campbell said.

No matter what, the site will not remain vacant, Campbell said. She's had "multiple calls" about the site this past week, and hopes a new restaurant will move in this spring or summer.

"It's sitting in a sweet spot," Campbell said. "If someone can bring the right concept and do the deal it could be a very successful restaurant location."

Never Say Never

Citygarden is owned by the city of St. Louis. The nonprofit Gateway Foundation, which spent some $30 million on improvements, pays for all ongoing expenses except for water and electricity.

Terrace300ViewCitygardenWiki
Photo from Wikipedia
The Terrace View Cafe fits into the flow of Citygarden.

Foundation spokesperson Paul Wagman had little to say other than that Gateway is sorry Terrace View didn't last.

"We'll certainly explore other operators but we haven't made any decision yet," Wagman said.

"I've learned never to say never," Meyer said about the chances of his opening a Shake Shack in Citygarden or any St. Louis location. But the recent flurry of interest in the Terrace View site intrigues him.

"With the number of people who have called me or emailed me about it this past week, if I were to come to St. Louis for any reason, I would absolutely want to at least see it," Meyer said.

Contact Beacon staff writer Nancy Fowler. An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Fitz's as Fritz's.

No Comments

Join The Beacon

When you register with the Beacon, you can save your searches as news alerts, rsvp for events, manage your donations and receive news and updates from the Beacon team.

Register Now

Already a Member

Getting around the new site

Take a look at our tutorials to help you get the hang of the new site.

Most Discussed Articles By Beacon Members

Conference of American nuns will mull response to Vatican charges

In Nation

7:55 am on Fri, 08.03.12

Meeting in St. Louis next week, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will have its first opportunity as an assembled group to consider what to do after the Vatican issued a mandate for change this spring. It calls on the conference to reorganize and more strictly observe church teachings.

The 'free' Zoo

In Commentary

7:51 am on Tue, 05.22.12

When a family of four goes to the St. Louis Zoo, they can be forgiven for not knowing it will cost them $60, $72 if they park. If they can't pay, the alternative is to tell the kids they can't do what kids do at the zoo.

Featured Articles

House sends Boeing incentive bill to Nixon

In Economy

12:55 pm on Fri, 12.06.13

The Missouri House easily passed legislation aimed at attracting production of the 777x, a move that wraps up a legislative special session that saw little suspense and few surprises. The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, who has strongly supported the legislation.

Gandhi inspired Mandela on South Africa's 'Long Road to Freedom'

In World

10:10 am on Fri, 12.06.13

Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, was a towering moral figure of the 20th century -- along with Mahatma Gandhi. It was no coincidence that Gandhi and Mandela, whose paths never crossed directly, both embarked on their campaigns against discrimination in South Africa. It was when Mandela won election as South Africa’s first black president that Gandhi's influence became apparent.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Encore: Dead before death

In Performing Arts

12:58 am on Fri, 12.06.13

For years , the author was certain he would never come to appreciate The Grateful Dead, let alone be a Deadhead. But little by little, he's come around. He talks about his conversion and relates a real evolution: by a musician who went on to play with the Schwag, a Dead cover band.

Featured Articles

Schlichter honored with St. Louis Award

In Region

4:57 pm on Tue, 12.03.13

The attorney has founded Arch Grants, which brings together nonprofit philanthropy and commercially viable opportunitiesto fund new business startups, and Mentor St. Louis, which finds adult mentors for elementary students in the St. Louis Public School System. He was the driving force behind the state's historic tax credit program.

BioGenerator sets open house to celebrate new digs for entrepreneurs-in-residence

In InnovationSTL

12:29 pm on Tue, 11.12.13

BioSTL's BioGenerator organization is on the move as its entrepreneurs-in-residence find a new home in 4,300 square feet of office and conference space in an old automobile factory. The blossoming program, which helps BioGenerator's portfolio companies to get off the ground, continues to pay dividends within the growing biotech community.

Ambassadors aim to soften rough landing for St. Louis immigrants

In InnovationSTL

6:34 am on Fri, 11.08.13

The St. Louis Mosaic Project is set to hold an orientation for its new ambassadors -- dozens of foreign and native-born volunteers who aim to help make the community a more welcoming place for those from other nations. Participants will be expected to do everything from visiting local restaurants serving international cuisine to having dinner with an immigrant to the area.

Recent Articles

More Articles

Innovation and entrepreneurial activity are on the rise in St. Louis, especially in bioscience, technology and alternative energy. The Beacon's InnovationSTL section focuses on the people who are part of this wave, what they're doing and how this is shaping our future. To many St. Louisans, this wave is not yet visible. InnovationSTL aims to change that. We welcome you to share your knowledge, learn more about this vibrant trend and discuss its impact.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Featured Articles

Featured Events:

More About The Beacon Home