Hi-Pointe Drive In by Sugarfire Coming to Vacant Del Taco Site

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Hi-Pointe Drive In

While the Grand Center Del Taco/Naugles flying saucer building was preserved and now houses a Starbucks and Chipotle, another prominent space vacated when Del Taco folded proved harder to reinvent. Last July we learned that the owners of Sugarfire Smoke House were eyeing the vacant building on McCausland near Forest Park in St. Louis City for a new concept.

Now St. Louis Magazine confirms that the spot will become the Hi-Pointe Drive In, a “simpler, faster, different, and less complicated” version of Sugarfire. The project, designed by Cohen Architecture Company, will use shipping containers. Popular elsewhere, shipping container architecture has had a few false starts in St. Louis. The first significant project to repurpose the steel boxes is currently under construction in St. Charles County: Shipping Container Home Making Waves in St. Charles.

The vacant Del Taco building has now been demolished and construction on the new building is set to begin. The site is near several big investments, with the Hi-Pointe Theatre being renovated, the Powers Insurance Agency set to build a new office across the street, and the complicated intersection with I-64/40, Clayton Road, McCausland and other streets being remade for the first time in a half a century.

Hi-Pointe Drive InHi-Pointe Drive InHi-Pointe Drive In

From St. Louis Magazine: Sugarfire Owners To Open Burger and Sandwich Joint on Former Del Taco Site.

SLM has learned new restaurant will be a fast casual burger and sandwich joint called the Hi-Pointe Drive In. (A hat tip to @forestparkowls for his keen eyes, alerting us to today’s progress.)

One of the issues with the site was how best to use the existing building—and the answer was not to use it at all. Turns out it was cheaper to demo the old structure and start anew, which the group did, sort of, creating a new building from old shipping containers (as opposed to just cladding the old one).

The first anomaly is that the Drive-In won’t be a drive-thru, per the requests of the neighborhood. Co-owner Mike Johnson confirmed the restaurant will be for dine-in, pick-up, and delivery only.

Progress photo 11/2/2016 from urbanstl.com member addxb2:


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  • tony

    From SLM “The exterior will be fabricated using three, locally-sourced, recycled shipping containers”… couldn’t help but laugh. Love that they are using shipping containers, the fact that they are “locally-sourced’ is just funny.

    This is dangerously close to my apartment though.

  • Rich Starr

    I hope this bunch knows what they are doing. Naming a proposed venture a drive-in and then admitting it is eat in or carry out only is disingenuious at best. But explaining that they yielded to the wishes of the neighborhood group does make it easier to swallow. There is a joke in there somewhere I guess.

    • wahh

      It worked for Carl’s.

    • Riggle

      Thats what a “drive-in” is; its different thatn a “drive-thru”, numbnuts

      • Alex Ihnen

        Well, I’ve always known a “drive-in” as a place you can stay in your car and eat, with food delivered to your window – like Sonic, for example.

  • T-Leb

    I imagine every architect starts with a pitch to use a shipping container…