St. Louis Magazine - January Edition Jimmy's Cafe turns 20 years old!
St. Louis Magazine - January Edition
With 19 restaurants under his belt and 20 years at Jimmy’s on the Park, Jimmy Kristo could tell a thousand stories about the business. Unfortunately, we only had time for a few.
What was the genesis of Jimmy’s Café on the Park?
I fell in love with the neighborhood. Of my 43 years in the business, 35 of them have been spent in Clayton restaurants.
What was on DeMun Avenue when you started Jimmy’s?
Sadie Thompson’s was around the corner, and the original Kaldi’s was two weeks from opening. The Kaldi’s founders are now retired, and I’m still working six days a week. [He laughs.] I had no idea the action would be in coffee beans! Now, there are five of us, and the street’s become a restaurant hub. It’s nice to sit in a café and look at a park—you can’t do that in the Central West End.
How has your restaurant changed over the years?
I started it with 12 people, all of whom I’d worked with before, all of whom shared my vision. We became popular right away; it's a good thing, too, because when we opened the door, I had three grand left. It soon became six nights and lunch—13 shifts a week. In September 2013, I closed at lunch to make sure everything would be perfect for Sunday brunch and at night. We weren’t increasing or decreasing; it just wasn’t going anywhere. It’s all about dinner. The better restaurants are open for dinner only. I’ve made time to take my grandkids to school, and that’s a big deal.
In 20 years, what has been Jimmy’s biggest success story?
In 2002, I partnered with Rick Yackey, a developer with a new sense of energy who had far better vision on a remodel than me. I’m colorblind, you see. He looked at what I had designed and said, “You gotta do something else.” I literally needed his vision and his perspective. It was that conversion, that rebirth—adding the more casual bistro and making Jimmy’s more affordable—that caused business to double immediately. In turn, that allowed us to remodel the main room and redo the kitchen. That gave us a new life. In the first few months of 2015, we’re tweaking again, just to keep it interesting.
Jimmy’s went casual before it became a thing to go casual.
With 140 seats in the restaurant, the menu has to have mass appeal. In St. Louis, you can’t fill that many seats doing esoteric food. You have to walk the line between providing classic signature dishes and trying something new and fresh.
Listen to Jimmy's latest radio interview on the Big 550 KTRS
Jimmy's Cafe Weekly Specials
Happy Hour Specials Monday - Friday 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM $5 Martinis and Wine by the Glass Specials, $4.00
Draft Beers and Half Price Appetizers!
20/20 Tuesday! 20 Wines from our amazing wine list for $20 per bottle. Click Here for more details.
Are you ready to enjoy some fun cocktail combinations? Check out our all new Specialty Drink Menu! Click Here for more details.
Sunday & Monday Night Prix Fixe Dinner Special. Three courses for only $25.00 per person. Click Here for more details.
Jimmy's Sunday Jazz Brunch. Live Music 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM, Jim Manley and Mark Friedricks. Click Here for more details.
Join Us for LIVE music every Saturday night in the Bristo Bar featuring Paul Flo from 7PM to 10PM.
Connect with Jimmy's Cafe
Have a smart phone? If you answered yes, then the Jimmy's CafeMobile App is only a few clicks away! Free on the iTunes and Google Play Market Place. Download Today! Click Here for more details and download our FREE Mobile App.
We originally opened Jimmy's in December 1994, in a building that had been a grocery store serving the DeMun neighborhood
for over fifty years. A continuous work in progress Jimmys is always evolving to keep up with current trends in the food industry. Pasta Crunchers 'flash-
fried imported fettuccine with a special blend of seasonings' are another Jimmy's Original. They are complimentary on each table, and are great to munch on
while enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine. Our private party room is the perfect place to celebrate that special occasion or hold a private meeting with
space to accommodate as many as fifty guests.Our Bistro Bar was added in December 2002 with artifacts gathered by partner and developer Rick Yackey have been
used to achieve a most eclectic design. Read More