St. Louis Landmark Goes Up In Flames – Giovanni’s on the Hill
ST. LOUIS, MO/January 27, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Giovanni’s on the Hill – There seems to be one piece of bad news after another for what has been a St. Louis landmark for four decades. Officials are investigating the cause of a fire at the popular Giovanni’s restaurant in the 5200 block of Shaw Avenue on the Hill.
Giovanni’s is one of only six restaurants in the St. Louis area to have a four-diamond rating from the AAA’s national restaurant guide. Owner, Giovanni Gabriele, has cooked for Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, both George and George W. Bush, and Vice President Al Gore. In the 70’s his clientele included celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney.
The one-alarm blaze broke out around 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday before the restaurant had opened. The building sustained heavy damage to the second floor and the roof. When the flames broke out there were no customers present however, the restaurant’s owner and seven others were inside at the time. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Giovanni’ son, Carmelo Gabriele, told a reporter the business had been upgrading its electric system for weeks and that the fire was discovered after an electrical worker smelled smoke. According to the St. Louis Fire Department, electricians had been working for more than a week to install new wiring.
Before the fire incident, there had already been a black cloud hovering over the high end restaurant. Earlier this month a missing #14,000 mink coat made headlines when a Belleville couple took the coat home by mistake. Then last month, a St. Louis grand jury indicted 75 year old Gabriele for allegedly molesting a female security system representative at the business in July. Giovanni was charged with first-degree sodomy, second-degree sexual abuse, and third-degree assault.
Although the future seems anything but bright, Gabriele says the goal is to reopen the restaurant in a couple of months following repairs to the water damaged dining room.