Robert St. John has spent almost four decades in the restaurant business. Thirty of those years have been as the owner of the Purple Parrot, Crescent City Grill, Mahogany Bar, Branch, Tabella, Ed’s Burger Joint, The Midtowner, and Midtown Donut in Hattiesburg, MS.
St. John is a restaurateur, chef, columnist, and author. For over 20 years he has written a weekly syndicated newspaper column.
His restaurant— The Purple Parrot Café— has been named the best fine dining restaurant in Mississippi and just received its ninth Four-Diamond rating from the AAA Travel Guide. Additionally, in 2011, AAA named Purple Parrot Café the second-best fine-dining restaurant in the South (just behind Commander’s Palace). Tabella has been voted “Best Italian” in Mississippi, Crescent City Grill has been voted one of “Mississippi’s Top Ten” restaurants, and the Mahogany Bar has been voted among the “Best Beer Bars in America” for the past three consecutive years.
St. John has been named the state’s top chef three consecutive years and was honored as Mississippi Restaurateur of the Year.
St. John is the author of eleven books, including four collaborations with watercolorist Wyatt Waters. Their book, An Italian Palate, was written in Europe while St. John, his wife, and his two children traveled through 17 countries on two continents for six months.
His 11th book, A Mississippi Palate, another collaboration with Waters was released last year.
St. John is also the creator, producer, and co-host of the Public Broadcasting series Palate to Palette with Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters which has just finished filming its fourth season.
St. John has been featured in USA TODAY and appeared on The Food Network, The Travel Channel, National Public Radio, Martha Stewart Living, and the Turner South network.
St. John serves on numerous boards and is the founder of Hattiesburg Hundred, an organization that assists sworn law enforcement and first responders’ families in their times of need. He is also the founder of the Midtown Merchants Association, both in his hometown of Hattiesburg.
In 2009, St. John founded Extra Table, a statewide non-profit organization that ships over 20 tons of healthy food to over 32 Mississippi soup kitchens and mission pantries every month.