After years of hardship, Steve's Hot Dogs closed its doors on February 1, 2020. Less than one month later with the support of the community, the legendary gourmet hot dog shop reopened with new investors and a new vision for the business. Three weeks later, COVID shut down restaurant dining rooms across the St. Louis area and fundamentally changed our plans for recovery.
One year later, our little-restaurant-that-could has fared well thanks to non-stop community support and a number of strategic pivots. As we look back on our journey to this relaunch anniversary, we can hardly believe how many blessings we've been given - and the number of opportunities we've also had to pay those blessings forward.
Below are some highlights of our incredible year back:
February 26 - Doors reopen.
March 17, 2020 - St. Louis City & County order restaurant dining rooms closed due to COVID. Steve's quick pivots to curbside and online ordering.
April 8, 2020 - Steve's launches the #FeedThePeople program - providing free meals for first responders and people in need in the St. Louis community. The program would go on to serve more than 2,500 people with no-questions-asked free meals in 2020. All meals were funded by customers and donors - stabilizing the business while providing much-needed meals to the community in a time of hardship. This program is now a permanent staple of the business.
June 3, 2020 - Steve's begins monthly collaborations again for the first time since reopening. It began with the Dogtown Pizza Dog. Other collaborations in our first year included the Tiny Chef Kim Chi Dog, the Gioia's Red Hot Riplets Dog, the Strange Donuts Done Dog, the Pretzel Boys Pretzel Dog, the Eckert's Campfire Dog, the Crown Candy BLT Dog, the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company Waffle Dog, and the Anthonino's Greek Dog.
This was the first of TWO fundraisers that our friends at Benton Park Prints held in 2020 to support our Feed The People program. Owner Daniel Jones graciously donated a portion of the proceeds from sales of their St. Louis tees to feed those in need.
Don't Call It A Comeback (Naw, It's Cool...) :) - On June 12, the St. Louis Post Dispatch named Steve's Hot Dogs their "Favorite Restaurant Comeback" as part of their The Go! List 2020: Food & Drink.
Named One of the Best Hot Dogs in America - On July 22, MSN highlighted Steve's Hot Dogs as one of the best hot dog restaurants in America.
July Celebrations - In July, we celebrated Midwest Black Restaurant Week, National Hot Dog Day, and National Ice Cream Day. During National Ice Cream Day, we highlighted a new partnership with Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.
Six Feet ApartY Labor Day - Over Labor Day weekend, we held an unforgettable neighborhood party called "Six Feet Aparty" - the outdoor celebration provided our neighborhood with a safe environment to celebrate the holiday weekend together. We shut down the neighborhood, brought tables into the streets, and played music outdoors with Steve Ewing himself singing a set, and Bruiser Queen as his opening act.
#EatItForward Award from Discover in September 2020 - In September, we received the incredible news that we'd been chosen by Discover Card to receive a $25,000 award for black-owned restaurants. Their reward came at the perfect time, allowing us to fund repairs and renovations to our shop - and ensuring that even as COVID and winter challenged us during the holidays, that we could continue to keep our team employed.
Halloween Six Feet ApartY - The safe neighborhood gathering format was such a hit that we decided to repeat Six Feet ApartY for Halloween - this time incorporating socially distanced trick or treating for kids, fall-themed Eckerts Campfire Dogs, acoustic live music in the street, and a masked costume party.
If you haven't heard about the work of the December 5th Fund, please stop reading for a moment, click here and learn about their incredible work and the ways they show kindness through simple acts. This December 5th, we were lucky enough to partner with them to serve hundreds of meals to first responders. We're so thankful to have been chosen as their partner in this outreach.
Marcus Lemonis Purchases 2,000 Meals to Support #FeedThePeople - In December, after a viral social media campaign and more than 170 nominations by our customers and fans, we were chosen by Marcus Lemonis of CNBC's The Profit and Streets of Dreams, to be a partner in his #PlatingChange program. A natural extension of our #FeedThePeople program, through Marcus's effort, Marcus purchased 2,000 meals from Steve's Hot Dogs, which we are working to distribute to people in need in the area. Through this partnership, we have been able to deliver more than 1,500 meals to date to groups like Tent Mission, St. Patrick's Center, Carondelet Betterment Federation, the Wesley House, and others.
St. Louis Community Foundation Community Carryout Fund Award - In December, the Community Carryout Fund awarded Steve's Hot Dogs #FeedThePeople program a $5,000 grant to provide meals to those in need in the St. Louis area.
So, what's next for Steve's Hot Dogs in 2021? You never know with us! It's always as an adventure, but we look forward to:
Doubling our donated meals through #FeedThePeople and helping even more people in need in our community.
Expanding our catering business, and
Planning for more locations in the future.
As with every milestone along the way, we can only do it with your support, so we look forward to going on this adventure along with each of you - and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support.
Please join us this week as we celebrate this Reopening Anniversary with Throwback Week. We'll go back to our roots and revive some customer favorites for 4 days only. Click here for details.
Steve, Danni & Marcus Steve's Hot Dogs