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Route 66 News

Yacovelli’s restaurant near St. Louis is closing

Yacovelli’s Restaurant and Catering, one of St. Louis’ oldest eateries, is closing its doors for good on New Year’s Day, according to various media reports.

Employees and owners of the restaurant held a “Last Dance, Last Chance” party on Friday. The restaurant will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday, and will have a last hurrah on New Year’s Eve.

KSDK-TV in St. Louis had some details about Yacovelli’s history:

John Yacovelli, who immigrated from San Salvatori, Italy in 1911, opened the first restaurant across from Washington University in 1919. When John retired in 1950, his son, Dewey, started his own restaurant on Big Bend Road in Kirkwood. Jack Yacovelli, John’s grandson, joined the family business when he was just 14-years-old and worked alongside his father until taking over in 1977. The business has been located on Dunn Road in Florissant ever since.

The Florissant site is along what roadies call the “bypass” alignment of Route 66 that swings around St. Louis.

St. Louis Public Radio reported that the current owners, Jack and Jan Yacovelli, simply wanted to retire, and their children didn’t want to take over the business.

“We’re tired, we want to have more time,” Jan said. “We both have our health. It’s time to enjoy life. We’ve worked really hard our whole life.” […]

Since they announced the closing, the restaurant has been “slammed” with at least triple the business, Jan said. Waiting lists and long lines now require five hosts at the door. Jack said the response is “beyond my wildest imagination.”

“I thought people would be kind of sad about it, and my business might go up a little bit with people wanting to come up for the last time, but I never in a million years thought it would be like it has been the last three months,” he said.

Yacovelli’s first announced its impending closure in early September.

(Hat tip: Kip Welborn)

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