After over a decade of serving retro ice cream sodas and classic cocktails in one of the most creative spaces in town, The Fountain on Locust is gearing up for a new chapter.
Owner Joy Grdnic, who opened the Midtown restaurant in 2008, has handed the keys over to Danni and Marcus Eickenhorst. The new owners, who work as a business/marketing consultant and an accountant, respectively, have also had a hand in reviving another local favorite: In early 2020, they helped Steve's Hot Dogs reopen after a brief closure by coming on as investors.
Grdnic and her husband and business partner, Ron Stevens, had been planning to retire and pass the torch at The Fountain for several years – and then COVID-19 hit. But Grdnic says the pandemic allowed them the opportunity to slow down and carefully choose their successors for the much-loved business.
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"In 2019 and 2020, I was planning my exit, looking forward to retirement and to taking on new projects," Grdnic said in a press release. "COVID changed everything for us – and it gave me the time and perspective to find the right people to step into my place as I step away. Danni and Marcus remind us of a younger version of us. Danni has been a booster for the St. Louis region for years. She’s been involved with projects that have made an indelible mark in St. Louis – and when we wanted someone to step into our business with the same level of love for St. Louis that we have, she really checked all of our boxes. She loves St. Louis with all of her heart and wants to preserve and grow everything that makes this city great."
During the pandemic, Grdnic also took the opportunity to put the final touches on a new event space at The Fountain. Located upstairs, The Stardust Room will play host to private events as well as various events for the 21+ crowd starting in 2022. The Art Deco-inspired space features deep black and blue walls, gold brick, shining silver stars and a small bar. "During COVID, I took the opportunity to develop the space upstairs while we looked for the best hands to take over at The Fountain on Locust," Grdnic said. "As I prepare to step away, I’m just as excited about this new space for The Fountain on Locust as I am about the new owners!"
Aside from the new event space, though, the new owners promise that guests won't see many changes under their ownership.
"When Joy reached out to us and asked us to consider this opportunity, we immediately paused and took in the gravity of this opportunity," Eickenhorst said. "The Fountain has long been a special place for us – our cocktail before a show at the Fox or our date night dinner. We only wanted to say yes if we could be sure that we could carry on the magic of what Joy created. We are deeply grateful for this opportunity – and are excited to see all that the future holds for The Fountain in this next chapter."
Fans of The Fountain can meet the new owners, wish Grdnic a fond farewell and tour the new Stardust Room on Sun., Oct. 17 from 1 to 3pm.
The Fountain on Locust, 3037 Locust St., Midtown, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.535.7800, fountainonlocust.com