Robert Spence, a graduate of St. Louis Community College’s culinary arts program, has been in business in the heart of St. Louis City for nearly five years.
Prior to owning his own restaurant and catering business, Spence worked at several other companies to diversify his experience in both cooking and business. CBS Barbeque & Café Brown Stone Catering has supported many businesses and community events, including the STLCC-Forest Park Social Justice Week Kickoff Breakfast.
From North St. Louis, Spence attended Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and graduated from West County Technical High School with seven college credits that transferred to STLCC. He began the culinary arts program in 1996.
“I had a great experience at Forest Park, one I will never forget,” said Spence.
However, the road to success has had its own set of challenges. In January 2017, Spence was diagnosed with cancer in his small intestine.
“This was one of the hardest things I’ve to deal with mentally, physically and emotionally,” Spence said. “I was challenged on all fronts. It was difficult to explain this to my family and close friends. My doctors moved aggressively fast with surgery.”
While fighting cancer, he decided to close the restaurant for four months to focus on his recovery. Spence experienced debilitating side effects from the intense chemotherapy.
Now that Spence has completed chemo treatments, he is back doing what he loves.
“My biggest reward has been over coming my biggest challenge. I am a survivor and I thank God,” he said.
With a new outlook on life, Spence is free to develop more of his own sauces, seasonings and rubs.
“You should love what you do, get as much experience as you can, and don’t be afraid to do something new,” he said.
CBS BBQ is located at 5508 Saint Louis Ave. Hours of operation are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Sunday. The phone number is 314-345-0537. Like CBS Barbeque on Facebook.