Robert St. John has spent almost four decades in the restaurant business. Thirty-two 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.
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 72 cities, in 17 countries, on two continents for six months.
His 11th book, A Mississippi Palate, another collaboration with Waters was released in 2018.
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 will soon film its fifth season.
In 2009, St. John founded Extra Table, a statewide non-profit organization that ships over 20 tons of healthy food to over 50 Mississippi soup kitchens and mission pantries every month.
St. John is a founding member of the national board of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, and currently serves on the boards of the Mississippi Alzheimer’s Association, Special Olympics of Mississippi, The Mississippi Book Festival, the Hattiesburg-Forrest County Public Library, and is the founder of Hattiesburg Hundred, an organization that assists sworn law enforcement and first responder’s families in their times of need. He is also the founder of the Midtown Merchants Association in Hattiesburg.
He and his wife Jill have two children.