Sara Lou’s Not Doing Well

Update: I learned in September of 2018 there may be hope for the beleaguered Sara Lou building.

Over three years ago, my friends and I came across one of the most architecturally harmonious intersections in the city: Sarah and St. Louis Avenue. Sara Lou Cafe, named after the intersection, was long an institution in the Ville. But with the death of the owner a year or two ago, and the closure of the restaurant years before, the building has fallen on hard times.

The sign, while not original to the eclectic building, is still a standout and an excellent example of Twentieth Century neon sign design.

The plywood has gone up since my first examination of the building, and it is sadly not surprising; this building is in increasingly bad shape.

Around on the Sarah side, one can see the horrible bulge out of the bay window on the second floor; I would not be surprised if it collapses this winter.

I always loved this porch; think of the time and money that went into building it originally. Someone truly had pride when they built this building.

Across Sarah is another of the buildings on the corner; it is in excellent shape, though abandoned. In fact, it seems all the four corners are now abandoned, which was not the case just a few years ago.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom Maher - Kirkwood says:

    I note the copper thieves missed a tiny bit on the first building.
    Isn’t there a place here that collects signs? That is a great one, even if missing the tubes. Maybe the African American museum downtown?

    I’m surprised the copper is still intact on the final building. While you mention it is abandoned, it would sorta look like there are residents in the portion on the left.
    Those uppermost windows are interesting – I wonder if they are the only ones for a windowless -(and low-ceilinged) attic? Or perhaps a tiny-tiny apartment?
    It looks like this has a cast iron facade (word?) – true?

  2. Geri says:

    Back in the 80s we used to live at 4038 Palm. The house is still there and now occupied by another family. Anyway, my mom used to go to Sara Lou’s a lot back then. She always talked about the shrimp and the frog legs. At the time I thought eating frog legs was gross. I still do of course. I do remember when it was open. It had a lot business back then. The last picture I remember being opened not to long ago. The apartment attatched to it was occupied by a classmate back in 82. I remembered his name was Dallas. I always thought that was a strange name for boy.

  3. Lisa.R says:

    I came here from a search, was born in the neighborhood at Homer G. Phillips Hospital and lived right across the street on N.Whittier. Loved going to Sarah-Lou’s back in the day. I’ve since moved from St Louis back in 06, the area was never a good place, but this business was a city staple.

    To bad it could’nt be saved, sad when nobody in the city steps up to revitalize such places. Whenever you think of St Louis if your from the northside Sarah-Lou does come to mind. Next time i’m in St Louis (if ever again) I will stop to take photos and a little video. I would is Mr Tobias’s store still open as well with the green apartments next to it.

    He and his wife have long since been gone, yet i’de like to know what they did with it.

    1. Tara says:

      My fiance is the owner, his family has owned it for years, he is wanting to rehab but funding is hard to find. Thank you for the kind words! 🙂

  4. Craig Sleet says:

    I am curious about the status of the of this Historic Building, it should be persevered.

    1. Tara says:

      My fiance is looking for sponsors or funding. Yes, I agree. There are thousands of customers we have talked to, waiting…

  5. Craig Sleet says:

    I am curious about the status of the of this Historic Building, it should be persevered. By the way what is the address to this building?

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      It’s at the corner of St. Louis Avenue and Sarah Avenue, in the Greater Ville neighborhood. Unfortunately, I would assume that there is not a demand for commercial space that would facilitate its renovation.

  6. There is one excellent building near Sarah’s Lou Caf, this day. Our neighborhood offers DEW D In-home Services, CDS and trainings. We have in been business for over 17 years and just as proud of our neighborhood.

  7. Erin says:

    2914 N Sarah, 4067 St. Louis and 4069 St. Louis are the addresses. Does anyone have any pictures from back in the day? I’m actually researching this property. Thanks!

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