Steve's Hot Dogs is back.
After the restaurant announced it would be closing for good, the popular hot dog joint is reopening its doors on Wed., Feb. 26. Steve's was able to reopen thanks to an angel investor, as first reported by Sauce Magazine.
The Tower Grove East restaurant closed on Feb. 1 after 11 years of business; owner Steve Ewing stated that he could not find a way to keep to business sustainable.
"I had to close," Ewing says. "We were hemorrhaging."
Ewing reached out to Danni Eickenhorst, a longtime friend who sometimes worked with Ewing on a project-by-project basis, to let her know Steve's was closing. She helped get the word out that the shop was in its final days. And then, people started coming out in droves.
"That week went by and we did an unbelievable amount of sales, and we had people come out from everywhere," Ewing says. "So that kind of let me know that maybe this thing should stay open."
Eickenhorst and her husband agreed that the business should stay open and wanted to be a part of it, so they came in as investors. The two also had marketing and business experience that would prove useful.
"My husband, Marcus, and I have worked closely with Steve for years, and we've watched as he's built this business and a sense of community around it," Eickenhorst says. "When Steve reached out and told us he was going to close, we took a hard look at the business itself. After years of business consulting, we know a good business from a bad one – and what we saw as a business with incredible success potential. All he needed was a strong partner (or two) who could help him really run the business side so that he could continue to rock the creativity and collaborations in the shop."
Steve's Hot Dogs will remain mostly the same, but there will be some changes to make it a more sustainable business. For one, Steve's will stay as one location – it previously had a second location in The Hill neighborhood – to focus on customer service. The menu will also have a narrower focus; Steve's menu of nearly 30 items meant a lot of unused inventory, so the menu will be pared down to the shop's staples and vegetarian offerings. Plus, Steve's will now have a larger focus on catering and only offer dinnertime hours on weekdays.
For Ewing, it's a new start. He didn't want his shop to close in the first place, and now it doesn't have to.
"This is awesome," Ewing says. "It's a huge weight lifted off, and now I feel like we can not only get the store going again, but we can actually get it going way better. It can grow from here."
Steve's Hot Dogs reopens Wednesday at 4pm and will be open until 10pm.
Steve's Hot Dogs, 3457 Magnolia Ave., Tower Grove East, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.932.5953, steveshotdogsstl.com