Steve's Hot Dogs has won $25,000 from Discover as part of the financial-services company's Eat It Forward program to support Black-owned restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic.
Discover is awarding a total of $5 million to 200 Black-owned restaurants. According to the Eat It Forward program's terms, each winner is randomly selected from the pool of eligible nominated restaurants.
“I'm not going to lie, I kind of broke down a little bit,” owner Steve Ewing tells Off the Menu. “This year has just been so stressful and hard. And we weren't expecting it. So when it came up, it was just a shock.”
Ewing announced in January he was closing his restaurant at 3457 Magnolia Avenue in Tower Grove East. This followed the September 2019 closure of Steve's original brick-and-mortar location on the Hill. Ewing, frontman for the band the Urge, founded Steve's as a hot-dog cart in 2008.
Then, only three weeks after Steve's final service on Feb. 1, Ewing announced the restaurant would return thanks to new investors. It reopened on Feb. 26, just before the pandemic hit.
Steve's is currently open for patio dining, takeout and delivery. Ewing says the $25,000 gives the restaurant “wiggle room” as the industry's traditionally slower fall and winter months approach.
“No one has any clue on how we're going to deal with that at this point,” he says.
Ewing's announcement of the award on the Steve's Facebook page says it “allows us to be able to continue to be a resource & refuge to the people in our community — and to continue donating meals to those who need it most through our #FeedThePeople program.”
He tells Off the Menu, “It's something we've been doing for a long time anyway, but this year we really just doubled down on the community.”