by Tom Finkel
Last night Garavelli's Banquets & Catering (6600 Chippewa Street; 314-352-6600) announced on its Facebook page that the restaurant will close its doors June 28.
"It is with deep sadness that we announce the closing of Garavelli's Cafeteria. After many great years with all of you, we have made a decision to close our doors and do what we think best. We encourage you to come in and get one last delicious meal and say your goodbyes."
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Gut Check has a special place in our heart(burn) (kidding!) for old-school joints like Garavelli's that serve up their meals cafeteria style. It's not (only) the flashbacks to grade school, when we and our fellow miscreants-in-the-making would employ our spoons to catapult canned peas from our tray up toward the light fixtures that hung like glowing targets over the sea of tables, while Miss Hunt -- enormous, her Afro dyed a brilliant carrot-orange -- had her back turned. It's places like Garavelli's, like the late, great Beffa's and, reaching way, way back, Pope's Cafeteria, where our parents used to take us every now and then for an occasional Dinner Out.
The go-to Dinner Out rotation, as we recall, featured Shakey's Pizza -- on the site now occupied by Harvest -- Chuck-A-Burger, the aforementioned, ill-fated Pope's and, later, Lee's, which at the time was one of the only Chinese restaurants in St. Louis.