Shortly after returning from the Pacific Theatre at the end of World War II, Henry A. Kern founded Kern Meat Company in a South St. Louis garage with the simple but all-important philosophy of customer service. In 1950, H. A. Kern renovated and retrofitted a nineteenth-century bakery on Cherokee Street in South St. Louis into a meat processing facility.
In 1970, Henry A. Kern invited his son-in-law Dennis Markwardt and daughter Tina Markwardt to join the family business. Under their stewardship, Kern Meat Company grew considerably in size and reputation. In 2008, Dennis and Tina Markwardt’s son-in-law, Matt Sherman, joined the family business as general manager in the midst of completing his doctoral studies in American history at Saint Louis University. Working closely together, Dennis and Matt acquired a license to buy and sell Certified Hereford Beef®, established a fresh-cut steak program for thirteen Midwest food service companies, developed a long-term strategic marketing campaign to re-brand Kern Meat Company, and streamlined Kern Meat Company’s ordering, processing, and delivery operations through the implementation of new techniques and innovative technology.
As a result, Kern Meat Company has grown to become one of the most recognizable names in the St. Louis and the Middle West for providing quality USDA-inspected meat. Most recently, we were selected by the members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis as the 2009 Purveyor of the Year, and in 2012, Dennis Markwardt was awarded the T. C. Dubois Chen Award from the ACF Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis for his professional commitment to the foodservice industry. In 2018, the Missouri Chapter of the Association Nutrition and Foodservice Professional selected Matt Sherman as Co-salesperson of the Year for the state.
After operating in the same building for 70 years, Kern Meat Company relocated the company’s processing operations, warehouse, and offices to a renovated 22,000 square-foot facility in Bridgeton, MO in September 2020. The new plant is located about 25 miles from its existing plant in the City of Saint Louis. In keeping with Kern Meat Company’s sustainability goals and carbon reduction plan, ninety percent of the building will be powered by solar. The building also boasts several energy and water saving features.