Mowgli and Craig Rivard met in the restaurant hothouse of Brooklyn, New York, but dreamed of owning a neighborhood spot in Craig’s native St. Louis. The couple moved to Fox Park, and in late 2019 opened Little Fox there. During the restaurant’s first three months, the neighborhood turned out.
“We had a strong support (already), which we saw on so many of those snowy nights where most of our reservations would cancel, and then the neighborhood would come in,” Craig said in a Post-Dispatch interview last March.
“It was everything we had hoped for, being a neighborhood restaurant.”
But when the pandemic arrived, Little Fox, like so many other restaurants concerned about safety for their customers and staff, shut down completely. Inevitably, the Rivards pivoted their still-new restaurant. They offered takeout, a walk-up window for sales of bottle wine, and outdoor dining on their own patio and on a previously vacant lot across the street.
Now, though, Little Fox is offering only wine sales and very limited takeout. The Rivards are preparing to welcome diners back inside the restaurant in early spring.
The financial reality of pivoting is stark.
“It’s not sustainable,” Mowgli says. “We’re not making any money. And you’re just trying so many different things. We need to make sure we still are able to be Little Fox, which we only got three months to really try to do.”