Mr. Yummy’s

Spread the love

Mr. Yummy’s @ Bates & Ulena
South St. Louis, MO
“Livers, Gizzards & Wings… oh my.”
It’s an oft-heard reaction to one of the signs on the Mr. Yummy’s building. Mr. Yummy’s is my neighborhood’s touchstone; it’s unique and endearing with a curious connection to the past. Because of all this, I’ve been sitting on some information about the place for most of the year.

This past winter, the owner and proprietor of this venerable take-out burger and shake shop tacked up a For Sale sign. While this tiny little sign rattled my cranium, I also realized that he hadn’t bothered to include his contact information. Rather than a serious bid to sell the place, maybe it was just a physical manifestation of some form of frustration he felt?

My worry is what the sale of this place could do to the neighborhood. Is it possible for someone to buy it and continue to run it as a neighborhood burger joint? Or is it more likely that someone could buy it for the property alone and do something heinous to it (like rezone and build a McMansion!)?

Mr. Yummy’s is an odd little anachronism that could only survive in this part of town. The owner is a war veteran (I’m assuming Vietnam, because he doesn’t look old enough to have been in the Korean) who freely dispenses liberal political views as he grills up burgers so greasy that they saturate their brown paper bags, and will slip out onto the pavement if you don’t know better than to hold it from the bottom.

He has always had the ultimate working hours: 10 a.m. – 5-ish p.m. There was always a huge lunchtime crowd of construction and utility company workers dining in their trucks, scattered across the large parking lot. Then there was the underage after school crowd who bought sodas and ice cream treats as a pass to simply hang out. And then there’s the newspaper machine and the only working pay phone within a mile radius, which still has people hanging from it all hours of the day.

Taking a look at the public records of Mr. Yummy’s, seems that very pay phone was “grandfathered” in a 1998 permit transaction. Surprising to me is the age of the building: Fast Food – No Seating 520 s.f. brick and wood structure built in 1925! Was it a gas station at one point, or always some kind of food establishment?

I have talked with some 40- to 50-something folks who grew up in the neighborhood, and it has been “an ice cream stand” for as long as they could remember. The current owner bought the place in 1978 for $10,000, and now he just must be tired. He was lightly adhering to his abbreviated winter hours when the For Sale sign went up. Now that it’s spring, it seems he opens up on a whim; I drive by every evening hoping to see his doors open, hoping that he’ll get back into the swing of it and reconsider. If he’s open twice a week, it’s a miracle.

Very recently, the owner added a 2nd For Sale sign smack on the outside corner of the lot. It’s very tiny, and still lacks contact information, but now more people are noticing that the place is on the sale block. Look to the right of the above picture and see how a neighborhood car salvage guy is now using the back part of the parking lot for his overflow. This is not a good thing, not good at all.

A 5.11.07 building inspection turned up 5 violations that remain unresolved. I’m supposin’ the owner put up his 2nd For Sale sign in reaction to that. I decided to finally say something about it with the hopes that someone will want to save the place… none of us want our neighborhood mascot to go away or be radically altered. It’s hard to bear the weight of an era sighing to an end. Fingers crossed that there’s an optimistic new chapter.

8 thoughts on “Mr. Yummy’s

  1. I stumbled upon this page because off and on I look for old stores & businesses for not only My own personal memories of them from the 80s & 90s but also to collect to preserve their once existence. I hate it when good places that I had fun at for years goes out of business especially if you knew the people that owned them. While this generation in this toned down digital androgynous age is disregarding history, I’m trying to preserve it!

    It seems only the first poster Adam knows somewhat of Mr. Yummy’s history other than this page’s owner which is really a shame that after all of this time over a decade nobody has posted anything new of the history or their times there:( There’s a lot to tell because I know a lot but not everything. First off this is correct, this building of Mr. Yummy’s is on 3904 Bates St. & Ulena in Saint Louis MO. I live right down there as I speak. Every so often I get depressed when I either think of his little outside diner or see it in recent times because ever since he sold it to people that turned it into a laundromat/dry cleaning place that was called Give-N-Go that lasted only several years if even that compared to his place of decades. Still today I believe it was major mistake for him to “retire” because when he made his decision and it was finalized his history faded away and look where we are now:( Too bad nobody trie dto talk him out of if either and thought about the history:( I’m probably one of the only people that thinks of this stuff which is depressing within itself. I went to St. John the Baptist Catholic School just down the street around the corner basically from his small joint on Delor and in the very early 90s every so often after school My Grandpa would pick Me up and We’d stop by there and he’d get Me Mr. Yummy’s Hot Dogs & Fries. Still to this day I have never tasted ones better than those!!! He also had dandy good Burgers as well! My Mom always wanted his Banana ICEEIES, she craved those back then! Mr. Yummy was an older man when I first met him, I guess 50ish. He was bald with a short, white ring of hair around his head, He was about 5ft, 10in, big and stocky and his arms were quite big. My Grandpa was a muscular man and in great shape but Mr. Yummy’s forearms were quite large, like Popeye’s or “Ravishing” Rick Rude. He always wore a Yellow Mr. Yummy’s T-Shirt! He had a white Pontiac perhaps a Plymouth. He was nice and thankful for his business. I would tease My Grandpa about the “Livers & Gizzards” because he was squeamish about stuff like that. We didn’t go to him as often as We should have I mean his stuff was great and he had enough variety for different suppers a few times a week! After he sold the building I don’t know what he did next. The very last time I saw him was when Me & My Grandma ate at Burger King in Loughborough Commons in 2011. He looked older and a bit slimmer but otherwise I could clearly tell it was him and he still had the same white car & the same Yellow Mr. Yummy’s T-Shirt!!

    It’s quite sad when you know these people & businesses from long ago and they seem almost completely forgotten and it doesn’t help when plebeians don’t talk to each other about stuff like that either…I really hate that. I have had tons of experiences of great stores in My Childhood that has no record online at all which I hate even more. If there’s anybody out there with a connection to this like Me I’d really like to know because it seems like I’m always alone in this matter. Here’s a number of stores in the South St. Louis area & Counties that I loved: Tru-Buy, Rainbow Video, The Ringmaster/The Ringmaker and Verna’s Mr. T’s Video Rentals & the little comic shop next to her on Morgan Ford Road. Annie Burke’s little shop and her daughter’s Movie Mogul, Judy’s (Amercian) Beauty Parlor, those little novelty shops near A&M Cyclery on Juniata. Kroger, K-Mart & Televideo in K-Mart Plaza on Morgan Ford. Paramount Drugs, Woolworth, Pawn Shop, Judy’s (Korean) first location & strange shop next to her on Grand. Judy’s second location (Korean) Spectrum SuperStore, The Bazaar, Woolworth, Walgreens & both Globe’s Drug Stores on Cherokee. Toy Chest & Po’Folks in South County. The Video Store with Zito’s Pizza, Blockbuster Video & Penny Pinchers on Gravois across the way from Walgreens. Star Video & Hollywood Video on Loughbough. QuickTrip at Morgan Ford & Gravois, The Comic Shop on Gravois near Dirt Cheap and the Comic Shop on Hampton. Almost Everything Sports Store & Louie’s Pizza Co on Hampton. Peaches/Sound Warehouse/Blockbuster Music on Hampton. Movie King on Macklind Ave, Archo Video on Bates. Ben Franklin’s & Sears on Grand. Venture, Frank’s Nursery & Crafts, Famous-Barr & National & Blockbuster, little CD shop, Toy Store & Sho ‘n Save in South Town. Mrs. Brocks Karate School at Morgan Ford & Chippewa. Elaine’s Holly Hills BLVD Auto Service. There’s so many other places like Paul’s Pizza, Pizza Valley & Pizza Milano, The Ugly Fish, So again, it really displeases Me to see that there is hardly any records of many of these stores & places like they never existed, I had such great times there with My Family. Parents need to teach their kids about their past memories of experiences and the stores they went to before this situation get’s even worse. You think this is funny or doesn’t matter? Look at ancient civilizations…is all is left of them is drawings, hieroglyphics, structures & ruins that we really know nothing about. I would really hate to think that our fun history that we once had will all end up like that…now do you want that to happen? I’m trying to prevent it in various ways but I’m only one person. I always think about Verna’s Mr. T’s Video Rentals because she was so kind and knew I was a huge wrestling fan, she did so much for Me. I loved Judy’s Spectrum SuperStore, her & her husband took care of that building all by their-selves as they hired no employees. The Ringmaster was a Blacksmith Wizard, he could make anything into jewelry! Almost Everything was so nice & cheap. I could go on. Like I said, I know a lot but I don’t know everything but one thing I do know is that I hope there’s others out there in the St. Louis area or a St. Louisan outta state that knows some of these great stores & the great people of the past and is doing something about it!!! If you know any of these that I have listed let it be known here…WE NEED TO SPREAD THE WORD AND KEEP IT GOING PLEASE!!! Never ever forget them, never!!!

  2. I just drove by this place today and didn’t have time to stop- when I was a kid, my father used to take his car to a repair guy a few blocks away, and the path to the shop went right by Mr. Yummy’s. We’d always talk about how gross livers and gizzards sounded, and, as such, never stopped in.
    So I go looking for info and I find this, and while the info is a few years old, it still concerns me that this minuscule detail of my childhood might disappear. I wonder what his asking price would be? If the sign is up the next day I’m off, I guess I’ll find out.

  3. Pingback: Introducing…The #8 Bates Macklind | NextStop STL

  4. The major for sale push abated last year. More recently, the owner intermittently posts and then removes a tiny for sale sign near the side entrance to the building. So it seems to be more an emotional weather report than a serious real estate intent.

  5. Did you ever find the asking price? I live around the corner and have always thought it has great potential as a seasonal bbq shack.

  6. in 1974 my uncle had just bought a new station wagon and took us out for ice cream there and my cousin in the back jump seat with me, promptly dumped her shake down the back air vent…


  7. A McMansion?
    In that neighborhood??!!??

    I’m gonna say “No.”

    An auto repair, Yet Another coffee bar, or Yet Another corner grocery would be my guesses.

  8. I remember it as an ice cream stand as a child. It would be nice to see it stay as an independent small business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.