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Newly Launched Restaurant ‘Have A Cow’ Is On A Mission In St. Louis’ Gate District

Mark Groth
St. Louis City Talk
After many years of success as the owner of toy stores, Steve St. Pierre's journey now has him cattle ranching and running a restaurant connected to the farm.

About five years ago, Steve St. Pierre was sitting on an airplane, returning home to St. Louis from a speaking gig in California, when an idea came to him that has shaped his unusual path since.

During his travels, he’d been spreading the vision of Restore St. Louis, a ministry-focused nonprofit connected to his church New City Fellowship and headquartered in north St. Louis. The organization was seeing good success in its efforts to serve neighbors, making a point of deferring to community members themselves in identifying needs rather than assuming the ministry group knew best.

“We didn’t say, ‘Here’s what you need,’” St. Pierre explained regarding Restore St. Louis’ origins. “We said, ‘Hey, if you had services and things that would enter into this, what would they look like?’ And then the neighborhood told us what they wanted.”

But on that flight back in 2016, St. Pierre began to sense it was time to pursue something more. Spearheading Restore St. Louis had already been a big fork in the successful toy-store owner’s career path years prior. Yet as he listened to local teens tell him time and again that what they needed most were job opportunities, he felt restless.

Mark Groth / St. Louis City Talk
Have A Cow is located at 2742 Lafayette Avenue in the city of St. Louis.

“I just was wrestling with, ‘Do I just want to talk about this [approach to ministry] constantly, or do I want a practical expression?’” St. Pierre said.

That’s when the idea for his latest venture hit him. And just last week, the plans he first sketched out while flying home to St. Louis all came to fruition: St. Pierre opened Have A Cow Cattle Company and Urban Farm Store, along Lafayette Avenue in the central corridor’s Gate District neighborhood, on Jan. 20.

It’s been a busy five years getting to this point. St. Pierre stepped down from his leadership role with Restore St. Louis in 2016, sold a toy-store building, educated himself about cattle ranching and bought a farm several hours away in Owensville, Missouri — an operation that now supplies his Have A Cow restaurant in the heart of St. Louis.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Pierre joined host Sarah Fenske to share more of the story behind Have A Cow and discuss his business’ distinctive vision going forward.

That mission incorporates the idea of loving one’s enemy and sets forth a goal “to foster connection and provide opportunity for folks from different backgrounds to come together, break down cultural barriers and serve one another.”

“If we can’t learn to serve and love each other,” St. Pierre explained, “we’re not gonna make it.”

Have A Cow is currently open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with all-day breakfast and lunch options, and the store and coffee bar stay open until 6 p.m.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Evie is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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