a hi-pointe drive-in cheeseburger photo by carmen troesser

Hi-Pointe Drive-In will open in former Porano space downtown

Look for Hi-Pointe Drive-In to join sister concept Sugarfire Smoke House in the MX District in downtown St. Louis next year.

Chef-owner Mike Johnson said he’s signed a lease for the former Porano Pasta space at 634 Washington Ave., and hopes to have the next location of his popular burger-centric restaurant up and running in February 2019. (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch originally reported that the lease was almost complete in October.)

“I think there’s a lot of opportunity to do great burgers there,” Johnson said. “I can’t tell you how much I love downtown.”

He said the downtown Sugarfire is one of that concept’s busiest locations thanks to the convention business in the neighborhood, and he expects big crowds at the Hi-Pointe, as well.

“I think [the new space] is an even better corner than Sugarfire’s, since it’s right across from the convention center,” he said.

In keeping with the Hi-Pointe’s over-the-top aesthetic, Johnson said he’s shooting for a “Space Age, 1950s, sputnik, punk rock” vibe for the new space. He also plans to do some serious catering at that location, so the kitchen will be expanded accordingly.

Johnson said the new location will offer mostly the same bill of fare as the original Hi-Pointe. Johnson also plans to expand the restaurant’s hours into the evening to build bar business.

Sauce named Hi-Pointe Drive-In one of Sauce's Best New Restaurants last year.

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.