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Family-run restaurant closing on South Grand after nearly 40 years

Café Natasha's owner will retire at the end of April, and the restaurant will reopen as a new concept on South Grand.
Credit: Google Maps

ST. LOUIS — A fixture on South Grand will close its doors and usher in new changes after nearly 40 years.

Café Natasha owner Hamishe Bahrami announced Tuesday she’s stepping down and will retire at the end of April. Between now and then, the St. Louis community is welcome to dine in and enjoy the Persian stews and kabobs they’ve been serving up for decades.

“The St. Louis community has shown such incredible support for Cafe Natasha over the years, and that didn’t even change during the pandemic,” said Natasha Bahrami, Hamishe’s daughter and the namesake of the restaurant. “We are so grateful to have been part of so many St. Louisans’ lives for so long – and we’re also so happy that Mom can retire and enjoy life outside of the kitchen.”

Hamishe and her late husband Behshid Bahrami opened “The Little Kitchen” restaurant in 1983 in downtown St. Louis. The cafeteria catered to the American cuisine. But the couple was passionate about wanting to showcase traditional Persian food, so after a decade downtown they moved to the Delmar Loop and reopened as Café Natasha. They moved to South Grand in 2001, according to the restaurant’s website.

“You don’t know how deeply the St Louis community has become a deep part of our lives and the reason we have kept the fire going for so long,” the restaurant shared on Facebook Tuesday.

Along the way, the Bahramis’ daughter, Natasha, opened up The Gin Room in an area adjoining the restaurant. She developed an internationally acclaimed cocktail program and was the first American woman inducted into the Gin Hall of Fame.

The Gin Room will remain open after Café Natasha closes.

A new concept will open in the dining room space at 3200 South Grand Boulevard. More information will be shared in the coming weeks, according to a news release sent out Tuesday.

The restaurant shared a little hint on Facebook as to what could be in the works.

“Hamishe needs to retire. And she will emerge refreshed and vibrantly part of our new concept we are building in its place. We intend to put the same love, passion and care into this next chapter and continue to see your families grow, thrive, and share your joys,” Café Natasha shared in the Facebook post Tuesday morning.

“This is not goodbye, it is a transformation,” the restaurant stated.

Café Natasha will continue its normal business hours through its last day, April 30. The restaurant is open for dinner from 3-8:30 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are recommended.

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