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'We are still fighting' | Original Crusoe's restaurant in St. Louis could stay open, depending on support

Stephanie LaChance said that since she announced the restaurant's closure, the support has been overwhelming.

ST. LOUIS — A family-owned restaurant in south St. Louis announced it was closing its doors.

Owners of the Original Crusoe's in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood broke the news on social media earlier this week. 

I am not sure where to start this post and this is probably one of the hardest things our family has had to do....

Posted by Original Crusoe's on Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The original owner, Steve Limmer, purchased the building in 1979 and his daughter, Stephanie LaChance, has kept the business up and running.

Stephanie, who is nicknamed Stevie after her dad, made the difficult decision. She took over the business a decade ago after her dad became ill from Parkinson's disease. 

LaChance shared, "My dad was a mailman and it was an open building. Him and his first partner decided to make it a restaurant."

She said her and her brother grew up in the business. 

"The servers were like my aunt and uncles," she said with a smile.

In recent years, LaChance said COVID-19 really hurt the restaurant, like many other businesses. She also noted it was a rough summer with Mother Nature's storms and relentless heat.

Power outages and loss of food paired with equipment malfunctions was a disastrous recipe for them to handle.

"A big storm came, we were out with electricity that evening and lost a lot of product, close to $9,000," she said.

LaChance said Crusoe's was always about family, from staff to supportive St. Louisans. 

Following the news, Chad Bilyeu made sure to pay a visit Friday afternoon for his usual lunch: the meatloaf.

Bilyeu has been coming to Crusoe's for more than 40 years.

"I love this place, always have. It’s breaking my heart they are closing. They always treated us so well. I like the ambiance and the people. I hope it stays," he said.

LaChance said since the social media post, the support has been overwhelming from dedicated customers like Bilyeu.

"I feel super blessed. I just want people to remember we are here, I feel like we are off the beaten path and it's hard to remember us, we are here and we are still fighting. I want them to come out and enjoy our food and make us busy. We want to work," she said with a chuckle.

Crusoe's will continue to operate until they go through their inventory.

LaChance said she will give her business a chance. If the support continues, they aim to stay open.

"I would love for my kids to grow up in this business like my brother and I did," she said.

LaChance's best friend created a Gofundme to help the business.

If you're interested in helping, click here.

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