Inside St. Louis

An original water color painting of The Feasting Fox by local artist Marilynne Bradley.

     The Feasting Fox is located in a historical landmark building in the heart of South St. Louis one block away from the original Ted Drewes Frozen Custard stand. From the European stucco and timber architecture with slate roof to the rich German décor inside and authentic German cuisine, this dining establishment gives patrons the feel of being in the old country. It’s overflowing with history and ambiance and beautiful leaded glass windows abound. This building is one of several Anheuser-Busch restaurants with the grandest being Bevo Mill. Along with the Stork Inn on Virginia St. and Skip’s Place on Osceola St. these historic restaurants all within a few miles of each other.


     Built in 1914 by August A. Busch, Sr., the Feasting Fox was owned by Anheuser-Busch through prohibition under the name of Al Smith’s. Al Smith leased and operated it from the 1930s to 1961 and then Fred & Evelyn Krumm took over after managing it since 1945.  The building was heavily damaged by a

fire in May of 1968 but was rehabbed to be functional once again. Eventually, though, the building sat vacant from 1986 to 1993.


    In 1993 the Shoney Corporation approached Anheuser Busch, who owned the property, with a plan to raze the building and put up a fast food restaurant. The Dutchtown South Community Corporation took the lead in saving the historic building by convincing the State to give the brewery a tax credit upon the donation of the property to the Association. Current owners, Sue and Marty Luepker, stepped in at that time to save the landmark from possible demolition by completely rehabbing the restaurant. The Luepker’s are long time residents of the neighborhood and Marty’s family operated a heating and cooling business and did renovation work during the slow periods. So when Marty heard about the Association’s plans, he and his wife saw this as a great opportunity to save the neighborhood landmark. Sue and Marty had experience with smaller remodeling jobs but never a job of this magnitude. But they took the plunge to restore and revive the historical building. Being long time avid antique collectors fueled their interest wanting to get involved in the restoration project.


     The Association agreed to rent the Luepker’s the building with option to buy only if they could successfully operate the building as a restaurant for 5 years. The renovation starting in 1993 was quite the challenge, with the property needing extensive work due to deterioration from the building sitting vacant for about 7 years with no maintenance. Making the task even more daunting was the fact that neither Marty nor Sue knew a thing about running a restaurant. With the help of friends and favors from the most unexpected sources, the place immediately started coming together. The owners rehabbed the building themselves and went to great lengths to furnish it with items found in other St. Louis landmarks to preserve the rich St. Louis history.


     “This project was meant to be” Sue and Marty recall. “Every time there was a need for furnishings or assistance from others, everything seemed to fall into place”. A friend who was the property manager of Top of the 230 in Clayton gave them a call and said the restaurant had closed and there was some crown molding available. Their visit resulted in not only acquiring the molding, but also elegant chandeliers and even high quality carpeting. To this day, the carpeting in the main dining area looks brand new. One friend told them about benches that were available from Dohack’s Restaurant, and another told them of booths, bar chairs, and some marble tables formerly used at Nantucket Cove in the Central West End. With those acquisitions and other tables and chairs acquired from Famous-Barr in Clayton and the Missouri Athletic Club, the place really started to come together.


Marty and Sue’s knack for finding antiques helped them in supplying the décor for the restaurant. The ornate piano in the lounge came from their private collection and the entire building has a distinctly German heritage. Adorning the walls are antlers, beer trays, old German steins, paintings, old lanterns, and a variety of breweriana. This establishment has taken on unique ambiance not found anywhere else in St. Louis.



     One of the more memorable events was when Anheuser-Busch delivered beer to the restaurant with it’s famous Clydesdale team and Studebaker wagon to introduce the “American Originals” a series of old recipe specialty beers.

     Marty and Sue have been car collectors for many years. They are well known among the various car clubs around St. Louis. Among the car clubs they belong to, they are active in the Model T Ford Club of Greater St. Louis, Horseless Carriage Club of Missouri, Inc., Classic Car Club of America, and the Buick Club. As a matter of fact, the Luepker’s are a valuable resource to film producers that come in town to film movies. Calls come in for vehicles from a certain era to be used in movies and Marty and Sue make it all happen. They also act as the initial contact for cast members and stars needing transportation while filming in St. Louis. While interviewing the Luepker’s for this article, Connie Stevens called requesting a car for an upcoming visit to St. Louis.


     The Feasting fox also offers banquet facilities upstairs and next door at Gretchen’s Inn, both elegantly appointed with rich German décor and available for a variety of small or large get-togethers. Businesses, organizations and social groups can meet for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Feasting Fox even

has a Biergarten keeping with the authentic German theme where you can taste local micro beers to those from all over the world. And there’s live music every Wednesday in the Pub and the entertainer strolls the dining room on Saturday nights.

     A favorite activity for locals is the creative idea the Luepker’s came up with: Movie Night at the Feasting Fox. On the 4th Thursdays of the month, movies that have a St. Louis connection are shown in one of the banquet rooms. These are movies either about St. Louis or filmed in St. Louis, and they especially like to show films in which they were involved in obtaining vehicles to be featured. Each movie comes with a buffet dinner with the menu fitting in with the theme of the movie, and all of this fun for only $10!


     With all the restaurant has to offer, anyone wanting to have some wholesome fun and great food knows this is the place. And the Luepker’s kind and friendly personalities really make you feel like you’re at home. No wonder it’s kept crowded by the local regulars. Among the regulars are former Mayor Clarence Harmon and the St. Louis legend, Stan Kann.   


     The menu at the Feasting Fox is extensive and has wonderful food you won’t find anywhere else. Capture the taste of classic German dishes such as the savory Weiner Schnitzel or Sauerbraten, or a mighty tasty Black Forest Sweet and Sour Pork. The daily specialties of the house will satisfy even the biggest appetites. The perfect potato pancakes and the traditional red cabbage shouldn’t be missed. The menu has something for everyone, offering German delights mixed in with basic steaks and seafood. A pleasant surprise is the signature house dressing made with just the right touch of horseradish to make it unique. A hint of horseradish is also found in the mashed potatoes to give it a delectable taste. And don’t forget the quintessential home made apple strudel for dessert! The Feasting Fox serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday and offer a decadent Sunday brunch. Check out their website for lunch and dinner menus, hours of operation, and more fascinating history.


Click here to see all of the images from The Feasting Fox


Written By: Judy Hartman

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