My Marie brings Haitian cuisine to Cherokee Street in St. Louis

Cherokee Street welcomed Haitian restaurant My Marie in September. The spot at 3147 Cherokee St. is the creation of owner Marie Louis Jeune, who wants to represent her culture through her passion for food. 

Jeune’s passion for cooking began in Haiti. “One day I may write a book about my story because I’ve been doing that my whole life since I was a teenager. I even used to cook for my neighbors,” said Jeune. “But cooking at home and working in a restaurant are two different things … you have to love it to do it.” She would start selling sandwiches in high school, worked in kitchens since she was 19, then attended culinary school in Haiti.

She made her way with her husband to Cape Girardeau, and opened the first My Marie there. However, she wanted to come to St. Louis after connecting with the Haitian community here. “I used to come back and forth from Cape Girardeau to St. Louis,” said Jeune. “I was looking for a Haitian restaurant. They have Mexican, they have African, or Jamaican and I said why not open up something from Haiti? I need to represent my country.”

Jeune designed her menu to reflect her Haitian roots. The menu includes fried pork griot, which Jeune said is one of the most popular foods in Haiti, served with another Haitian staple – pikliz. Pikliz is similar to coleslaw, but with a spicy kick and made with pickled carrots and cabbage. “We Haitian people eat pikliz with every meal – everything,” said Jeune. Her menu also includes Haitian-style stewed goat and oxtail made with a spice mix created in-house. “No matter what we make, we use Haitian seasoning.” My Marie also offers Haitian lemonade made in-house with fresh lemons and limes and a passion fruit juice called grenadia.

Jeune, her husband and her sister quickly opened up the new location – only taking about three months to do so after buying the property. The building used to be another restaurant, and Jeune used equipment from the Cape Girardeau location, making the process easier. My Marie, Jeune describes, is warm and inviting with Caribbean touches in its décor. My Marie can seat 33 inside and has five tables on the patio.

Jeune plans to someday expand her concept further with more locations beyond St. Louis. Her passion for cooking is what drives her. “When I’m making Haitian food, it’s just like something from my heart,” said Jeune. “That’s something I want to do for the rest of my life.”

My Marie is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Updates for My Marie can be found on their Facebook page.