Route 66 News

Garavelli’s, R.I.P.

Garavelli’s Cafeteria in south St. Louis on the Chippewa Street alignment of old Route 66 closed last June. It ended nearly a century of a Garavelli’s restaurants operating in St. Louis.

Norma Maret Bolin, author of the well-researched “Route 66 St. Louis,” sent me photos Thursday of the building being demolished, including the one above.

She said she found no permits online or at the site indicating what the property will be eventually used for.

Owners Sam and Muna Hawatmeh told a local television station that rising costs forced the closure of the restaurant last year. It was the last survivor of what had once been six Garavelli’s restaurants.

From Bolin’s book:

Garavelli’s was a St. Louis institution started by Joe Garavelli who came to America from Italy in 1903 at the age of 19. He started his first restaurant in 1914 at the age of 30. His restaurant a De Baliviere and De Giverville in the Central West End became nationally known. The restaurant had humble beginnings but expanded and got more lavish as time went on. Joe added more locations as well. Joe was famous for his wonderful food including ham, spaghetti, roast beef (which he carved at a work station in the bar area), his “Joe says” slogans and his “Hello my friend” greeting, which he extended to all his customers.

Garavelli’s had been listed in editions of the “Route 66 Dining and Lodging Guide,” published by the National Historic Route 66 Federation.

(Photo courtesy of Norma Maret Bolin)

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