Robert St. John has spent four decades in the restaurant business. Thirty-three of those years have been as the owner of the Crescent City Grill, Mahogany Bar, Branch, Tabella, Ed’s Burger Joint, The Midtowner, and El Rayo Tex-Mex in Hattiesburg, MS, and Highball Lanes, The Pearl, and The Capri in Jackson,Mississippi.
St. John is the author of eleven books, including, An Italian Palate, which was written in Europe while St. John, his wife, and his two children traveled through 72 cities, in 17 countries, on two continents for six months.
For over 20 years, St. John has written a weekly syndicated newspaper column, and has been named the state’s top chef for three consecutive years and was honored as Mississippi Restaurateur of the Year.
St. John is also the creator, producer, and co-host of the Public Broadcasting Service series, Palate to Palette, the upcoming series Yonderlust, and the producer of the Southeastern Emmy-Award winning, “Walter Anderson: The Extraordinary Life and Art of the Islander.”
In 2009, St. John founded Extra Table, a statewide non-profit organization that currently ships over 200,000 pounds of healthy food to over 60 Mississippi soup kitchens and mission pantries each month. In 2020, alone, Extra Table shipped over 5.9 million pounds of food during a global pandemic.
St. John is a founding member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition and was an integral part of a small group that recently secured $28.6 billion in grants to aid independent restaurants affected by the Covid crisis.
St. John is the co-chair of the Alzheimer’s Association of Mississippi and serves on the boards of the Special Olympics of Mississippi, The Mississippi Book Festival, and the Hattiesburg-Forrest County Public Library.
St. John is the founder of Hattiesburg Hundred, an organization that assists sworn law enforcement and first responder’s families in their times of crisis . He is also the founder of the Midtown Merchants Association in Hattiesburg.
He and his wife Jill have two children.