Lulu’s on South Grand reopening with new owner in St. Louis
It’s a happy ending story for St. Louis in a year we could really use more happy ending stories
ST. LOUIS – A restaurant success story is always something to celebrate, but it’s especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The hotel industry was hit hard with around 11 million employees affected. The National Bureau of Economic Research predicts that if the pandemic lasts only a few months, only 15% of restaurants can stay open, which is almost certain to happen.
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So there is a special reason to celebrate when a restaurant closes – and finds a way to reopen.
That was the case with Lulu’s Local Eatery.
It’s a happy ending story for St. Louis in a year we could really use more happy ending stories.
The South Grand Avenue restaurant wowed the crowd with a delicious vegan, plant-based menu. The atmosphere was light and airy, like the house photos you like on Instagram. And customers could feel at home at the bar with table tennis tables.
But the food truck restaurant announced it will be permanently closed in June, to the shock of South City neighbors and foodies across St. Louis. The owners said it was mainly for health reasons.
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While writing the final chapter in their Lulu book, they left it open for someone else to pick up.
“We’d love to have someone continue this vision of sustainability that we’ve put our hearts and souls into. Our turnkey business, including branding, recipes and equipment, is officially for sale,” read a social media report Post from June.
A woman named “C” saw it and picked up the phone.
“I think I was the first person to try. I saw the mail like it was early, early in the morning. And then I immediately called the brokers because I was interested, “C told the Abby Eats St. Louis team on a recent podcast episode. We’ll call her “C” in this story; it is short for her real name. It’s very private.
For C, the listing crossed a fork in the road for her and her family’s business. It made her decision to buy not only on time, but also necessary. She said she was always the helper in her family’s business. She was ready to branch out with her own ideas.
“I always thought we should do a vegan restaurant, a plant-based vegan restaurant, because personally I think this is the direction of the future,” said C.
As a longtime fan of Lulu, she’d seen the restaurant in action. She said she was confident that the model would work and that she could keep it working.
“It is important that you maintain the main value in principle,” said C, adding that, as a customer, she can see the restaurant’s priorities for sustainability and that the owners care about the environment and animals. “I think these are the core values that I want to work on and keep.”
She says fans of the original Lulu’s will still find some of the same items on the new, smaller menu, but she’d like to add her own torch.
“I do a couple of things like adding some fusion dishes to the menu because I’m a minority. I am chinese. So I want to see some of my characters on the menu, ”she said.
There’s one thing Lulu fans might miss when the restaurant reopens: the ping pong tables. C said she was thinking of taking it out to accommodate more seating. Space is a premium in these days of far-fetching. She said removing the ping pong tables could make room for more dining tables and seats.
Regarding opening a restaurant in the middle of a global pandemic, C said her family was definitely worried but she was ready for the challenge.
“I’m just telling them I know. I’m ready. This is a good opportunity. But I also had no doubt that this is a good time to do so, as it may already contain something of value. So it’s a good investment, “said C.
She is working to reinstate the laid-off workers and open the restaurant as soon as possible. It does not have an official opening date yet.
Until Lulu’s doors swing open again, C enjoys feeling the love – and a little pressure – of the St. Louis food community.
“I’m very excited,” she said, adding that customers reached her on social media. “I can’t even express my gratitude… leaving comments about how happy you are that we are going to keep business, how excited you are, and how happy you are for me. And all of this stuff is just overwhelmingly cute, and I’m very grateful. “
This story is a companion piece to the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast episode entitled “Farewell to Good Buy: The New Owner of Lulu’s”. You can download and subscribe to the episode for free wherever you get your podcasts. Below are links to some of the most popular podcast platforms.