Food, Wine & Spirits in St. Louis

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 / 11:21 AM

Dierdorf & Hart’s Closing

Dierdorf & Hart’s Closing

Lou Garesche, owner/operator of Dierdorf & Hart’s has decided not to renew the lease at 323 Westport Plaza that expires in June. 

Dan Dierdorf and Jim Hart, kingpins and crowd favorites of the St. Louis Cardinals football team, opened the restaurant in 1983. The decision to close a 30-year-old landmark restaurant never comes easily, but in a staff meeting on Sunday, Garesche told staffers he “just couldn't commit to the level of dedication it takes to sign a lease.”

In an email, Garesche reminisced that “we have a lot of guests that have gotten engaged, had first dates, and closed big business deals in the restaurant. We hope to give guests that have a history with D&H over the last 30 years time to come in one more time.”

A new ownership group recently took over at Westport Plaza (Bob O’Loughlin’s LHM group), but Garesche said that had nothing to do with his decision.

“The new ownership at West Port has been understanding and wishes we would stay open,” he said. “This is the first time since Tom White owned the Plaza in the 80's and early 90's that we have had local ownership, and they have a good long term vision of the Plaza. LHM has already invested a lot of money… they are the right owner for Westport at this time.”

In 2011, in response to the popularity of casual restaurants, D&H introduced (wisely, we thought) a different component—D&H American Bistro (right)—that effectively offered diners two concepts and two menus under one roof. The Bistro offered 20 items under the magical $10 mark.

Alas, the rejiggering may have been too little, too late, as the allure of Westport has faded in recent years. LHM is poised to change that, beginning this spring with a massive landscaping project.

Garesche expects the restaurant to remain open for 5-7 weeks, noting that “the staff is on board with giving the best service to our guests” during that time.

Update: Lunch service will end April 19, and dinner service will end May 18.

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