ST. LOUIS – About 10 years ago, Stevie LaChance took over her father’s Original Crusoe’s restaurant and bar in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood in south St. Louis City.
“It’s just been an uphill battle,” LaChance said.
LaChance’s college degree is in elementary education, and she was working as a bartender when she took over the restaurant.
“It was a learning curve for sure,” she said.
LaChance hit the ground running, trying to keep the restaurant, which first opened in 1979, afloat.
“I do everything,” she said. “If it needs to be done, I’m doing it.”
On Wednesday, Stevie announced on Facebook she would be closing down the restaurant.
“This is probably one of the hardest things our family has had to do. Unfortunately, we are going to have to close our restaurant of 44 years,” she wrote.
LaChance said a combination of COVID-19, a recent power outage, and fewer customers willing to come to south city all contributed to the decision.
“I just found out today,” Crusoe’s regular Queen Ingram said. “I was disgusted.”
Ingram has lived next door to the restaurant for nearly 20 years.
“I never thought they would close,” Ingram told FOX 2.
Since the post, Crusoe’s seen an outpouring of support, with customers filling up the restaurant.
“The outpouring from people—I want to fight for it,” LaChance said. “If I can get people to come down here and remind them we are here and that they’ll come back.”
A friend of the restaurant has started a GoFundMe to keep it in business. LaChance is hoping there’s still time to add more memories at the historic restaurant.
“I’m just grateful,” LaChance said. “I feel blessed. There’s a lot of people who don’t have this support. I feel very blessed to have amazing employees and customers.”
LaChance said if they can stay busy for the next few weeks, there’s a chance the restaurant stays open.