Gypsy Wagon February March 2024

By Betty Jo Gigot  Publisher

Restaurant owner Steve St. Pierre and Betty Jo at the Have a Cow, St. Louis, Mo.

It’s midafternoon the middle of January in Colorado, and the temperature is still below zero. I know it is worse where a lot of you are and cannot imagine the stress on the cattle, workers and machinery. I am reminded of the time I went from Nebraska into Kansas one January day, and the highway patrolman stopped me and told me to turn around. “Kansas is closed,” he said. Needless to say, I waited until he went back down the road, made it to Oberlin and spent the next five days in a blizzard. Should have listened to the patrolman. I just pray it heats up by the time you read this and all is well. One nice thing about my being confined in my apartment is that I can call Tribe, the neighborhood restaurant downstairs, and order a martini and a rare steak, which they will deliver to my door. Tribe is featured in Where’s the Really Exceptional Beef on page 28. Many years ago Bill Rhea, a dear friend from Nebraska, suggested we write a regular column highlighting great restaurants serving great beef. It has turned out to be a real hit. Recently, Joe Morgan, a current nominee for the Cattle Feeder’s Hall of Fame, told me that he always looks for that article and even goes out of his way to visit some of the places we have featured. Over the holidays, I spent a month enjoying the different events around Christmas. I heard the St. Louis Childrens Choir, saw the Christmas lights on the NASCAR track close to St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, and enjoyed a wealth of good food and companionship. I also found another of those exceptional places for Joe to visit. Have a Cow Cattle Company, a picturesque restaurant and farm store with a tractor out front located in a small neighborhood of St. Louis, has a true farm-to-fork setting. Steve and Lisa St. Pierre serve their customers beef raised on their very own ranch 90 miles away. The name, of course, comes from the expression many of us used in the old days – “Don’t have a cow!” (or don’t overreact). The reason for the restaurant is a little more complex. Steve and Lisa owned three toy stores for decades. While working with a local ministry, they realized there was a definite need for jobs for the neighborhood folks and also gave Steve a chance to raise cattle like his brother did in California. His are Hereford, and meat from the farm is available in the freezer in the back of the store. The menu states, “The mission of Have a Cow is to foster connection and provide opportunity for folks from different backgrounds to come together, break down cultural barriers and serve one another.” The mission was working on the Saturday morning we breakfasted there in what you would have to say was a “happy” place. Handmade toys and knitted birdhouses adorn the wooden tables, reminding you of Grandma’s kitchen. Huge pancakes, homestyle potatoes and eggs and giant cinnamon rolls grace the menu. Lunch, of course, includes a slightly spicy brisket or Triple S steak sandwich. I was lured toward The Cow Kicker, house-made meatloaf baked with cheddar cheese and jalapeno bits, glazed with BBQ sauce, then toped with more jalapenos and melty white American cheese, served on a toasted hoagie roll. You can see why Head Chef Tom Shuman is the star of the show. Next time you are in St. Louis, I encourage you to find 2742 Lafayette Ave., meet Steve and Lisa and enjoy a cattle company with a mission. The name, the Cow Kicker, is fine as a menu item, but it reminded me of a headline in the local paper reporting on the Denver Stock Show. It read, “Zulu – the world’s most adorable cow.” I don’t disagree that HE was adorable, but I’m still trying to teach my own sons that cows have calves and give milk, and cattle is the generic singular term for cattle. Betty Jo, don’t have a cow!