Route 66 News

Eat-Rite Diner damaged in SUV crash

The historic Eat-Rite Diner near downtown St. Louis was damaged when a sport-utility vehicle crashed into it about 3 a.m. today, according to KMOV-TV and other St. Louis media outlets.

KMOV had this description of the crash:

A witness told News 4 one car ran a red light and then hit another car. According to authorities, one of the vehicles proceeded to crash into the front of the diner.

Here’s video from the scene. It appears one corner of the building was structurally compromised. It’s probably repairable, but it’s going to take time.

KMOX radio reported:

Eat-Rite owner Lewis Powers talked to KMOX after the crash, “There’s a large hole, there’s dust and brick all over everything. It was a lot worse than I thought it would be. We’ve had cars hit the building before, but never this much.”

Powers says he thinks there may be structure damage to the front of the building. He’ll get estimates and hopes to reopen soon.

The Eat-Rite — known for its motto “Eat Rite or Don’t Eat At All” — sits on an older Chouteau alignment of Route 66 and remains only a block from the better-known Tucker Boulevard alignment of 66.

According to Norma Maret Bolin’s well-researched “Route 66 St. Louis” book, a business has operated existed at the Eat-Rite site since 1916. First as a coal-selling venture, it became a gas station during the 1920s. It converted into a White Kitchen restaurant in 1936, then a Regal Sandwich Restaurant in 1957, then Gateway Sandwich in the 1960s and ’70s. It finally was named the Eat-Rite in 1986.

(Hat tip to Rich Dinkela; nighttime image of Eat-Rite diner by Chris Koerner via Flickr)

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