Those of us who have been around St. Louis for awhile can remember Stan Musial & Biggie's restaurant. Then in 1988 Ozzie's Restaurant & Sports Bar opened up in Westport. Mike Shannon has a restaurant downtown these days and Albert Pujols has his place at Westport. Jim Edmonds invested in a place downtown There aren't a ton of sports bars around St. Louis associated with big names. So it really does feel like something of a passing of an era when you hear that Ozzie's is going to close down.
This Friday will be the last day. The staff will find jobs elsewhere. Customers will find other places to eat. The "regulars" who would be there on weekends to catch games and spend time with their buddies will find other hang-outs.
We sat down tonight with Ray Gallardo. You may remember him. In the 1970's you may have seen the commercials for Casa Gallardo. He started a chain of Mexican restaurants that eventually grew to 38 restaurants spread across several states. I worked as a waiter and a bartender when I was in college. I got a taste of the food industry. It was tough. Long shifts, unusual hours, customers that were less than appreciative. But Gallardo said the restaurant business was in his blood. It was his thing. He said running Ozzie's has been a good run but life is full of changes.
Since Pujols 5 opened up in Westport Ozzie's restaurant has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the struggle to keep restaurant open is over the fight with Westport plaza isn't done. The company that owns Ozzie's has filed a lawsuit against the company that owns Westport. Ozzie's says it was told by Golub & Company of Chicago that Pujols 5 would be a high-end restaurant and not a sports bar. There wasn't enough business to support two sports bars. But the owners of Ozzie's says Pujols 5 is indeed a sports bar. Apparently, the courts will now decide.