Lost Tables: Remembering Nantucket Cove

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Ever wondered what happened to that restaurant you once loved and have memories of dining at with your family and friends? We did! There is an amazing website called Lost Tables, dedicated to celebrating the restaurants of our past. We are partnering with the site’s creator Harley Hammerman and celebrating these wonderful stories. Hammerman and his wife Marlene are members of Shaare Emeth, and she is past president of the National Council of Jewish Women of St. Louis.   Visit Lost Tables on Facebook 


In the 1950s, two of the best places to eat in St. Louis were the Mayfair Room, in the Hotel Mayfair, and the Rathskeller, in the Hotel Lennox. Both restaurants were operated by the Mayfair-Lennox Corporation and its president, C. Gordon Heiss.

On August 1, 1959, Heiss announced plans for a new seafood restaurant in The Frontenac apartment building, to be located in the space formerly occupied by the Villa Capri. The new restaurant would be operated by Mayfair-Lennox and called Nantucket Cove.

Nantucket Cove officially opened on November 27, 1959. Its “cove” was its parking lot, which one entered off Kingshighway through wooden gates adorned with nautical buoys and fish netting.

Diners entered Nantucket Cove’s suite of five dimly-lit rooms via a wooden walkway. A Cape Cod atmosphere was fostered with authentic artifacts acquired from Massachusetts seaport towns.

A “Jenny Lind” masthead kept watch over Nantucket Cove’s bar. The bar was separated from the restaurant by a wall of oars, harpoons and buoys, covered with fish casting nets. There were red running lanterns which had been used on sailing ships of the 1800s, along with compasses and other navigational equipment.

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Two large dining rooms – The Mayflower and the Upper Deck – were replete with checkered table clothes, captain’s chairs, beamed ceilings and 12-inch planked flooring.

When Nantucket Cove opened, its seafood orientation was revolutionary for the Midwest.

“At the Nantucket Cove, no frozen sea food will ever be served . . . for we are dedicated to a “hook-to-pan-to-plate” freshness that converts even the most avid landlubber to our delicacies from the briny deep.”

The advent of jet air freight in early 1960 was the key, and over the years, Nantucket Cove steadily built its reputation for absolutely fresh, imaginatively prepared seafood. Flounder, red snapper, salmon, pompano, halibut, oysters, clams and live Maine lobster were featured daily on the menu.

Nantucket Cove served more live Maine lobsters than anyone else in the Midwest. It was their most popular item.

Click here to read more about the history of Nantucket’s Cove on LostTables.com