St. Louis, Missouri
I love a good neon sign.
How could we resist a 24-hour restaurant, with a neon sign, showing a snazzy cocktail glass and the word PANCAKES?
Breakfast at Uncle Bill's
We could have gone at any hour during our 2-night stay in St. Louis last fall.
We chose breakfast.
What's Through Those Doors?
I had a feeling when we stepped through those fine doors, we were going to stumble right back in time! Even though Don vaguely remembered eating here when he was a student living in South St. Louis in the seventies, we still didn't know what to expect.
Would there be folks finishing up martinis from a big night of partying? Would there be construction workers inhaling some calories before starting work?
The first dining room revealed a pretty normal bunch of hungry South St. Louis locals. We clearly were not locals because we were too busy looking up high at the stage set window boxes and shutters.
I couldn't conceal my delight, seeing a brick wall and fireplace with Dutch Delft style tiles. Banners and shields, tudor and brick. The busy patterned carpet held the fumes of syrup spills and smoking days and I found it all just too fun.
The back room held two rows of booths. Rounded stones decorated one of the walls and colorful windows decorated the other.
A hazy morning glow shone through the pale stained glass... and vinyl ghouls and pumpkins that had been added for the season.
What to Order?
We of course had to try the pancakes and it seemed like the kind of place where we should order ham and eggs.
We didn't order a martini... this time.
Sharon stamped her name on our bill and invited us to come again.
And I did 2 minutes later.
I walked back in the door and rushed by this lovely display case, after I realized I'd left my sweater behind.
The bus boy came back from the booth empty handed. Sharon went back to look, but found nothing. I had to use my cell phone light to spot the black sweater, under the table. Guess whose sweater smelled like syrup and cigarettes?
I guess I should be grateful that anyone offered to help at all! The menu had reminded me earlier, that Uncle Bill's wasn't responsible for lost items.
Just lucky I didn't order that martini, or who knows what else I might have lost!
St. Louis, MO
This wonderful corner in North St. Louis has been serving up candies and sundaes and sandwiches for over 100 years!
My mother, who grew up in St. Louis remembered the sweet smelling shop and took my brother and me about 40 years ago. I finally had a chance to introduce the diner/shop to my husband, Don this past September!
I don't know what kind of neighborhood this was, back when the business opened in 1913. When I first visited in 1975, it was questionable. The little oasis of a building was surrounded by vacant lots and sadly neglected buildings.
I remember seeing children playing on nearby stoops and feeling sad to realize they probably were never able to afford the treats inside the shop. But on the sunny afternoon of our fall visit, I noticed some decent shops and galleries had moved in nearby. A nice surprise!
The Candy Part
I was so relieved to see little had changed inside the brick building. Mr. Karnadzieff and his friend opened the Shop in 1913, after immigrating with some confectionary skills from Greece.
I imagine at that time, St. Louis was still a hopping place, less than 10 years after being in the glittery spotlight of the 1904 World's Fair. It was fun to picture the long dresses and hats that stood in front of the wooden case filled with chocolates... chocolates that are still made today.
Mr. K's son, George took over the business in the 1950's and his 3 sons continue to run the place today.
In fact the gentleman behind the counter was most likely one of the sons. I wonder what kind of stories the sons heard from their grandfather. If it hadn't been so busy, I would have asked some questions.
Tiny White Booths
We were lucky we got one of the little booths.
The ceiling and booths are all original, with I can only imagine how many coats of paint.
Don and I split a chocolate malt. I had fun sitting there wondering if my mom ever sipped a malt in the very booth where we were sitting.
After placing our order we were served with the efficiency of a place that's had 100 years of practice.
Mom loved her malts, and more than once got a little fussy when someone tried to pass off a milkshake as a malt.
I'm guessing George must have added the table juke boxes in the fifties. Ours was out of order or I would have played a tune, for sure. I liked out little mirror, with the words "Lover's Delight" written in red. That's the name of one of the ice cream sundaes... that we had no room for.
Egg Salad Sandwich
Egg Salad and chips seemed like the perfect malt shop kind of meal. I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious it was.
Maybe I was just starry eyed over the whole atmosphere, or I was starved. I just know that my perfectly toasted bread was packed with the creamiest (probably most unhealthy) but flavorful concoction of egg, mayo and seasoning. Not a bit bland like some of my home attempts. The dill pickle and of course the malt made the whole deal heavenly!
In St. Louis there are so many family owned restaurants that have been handed down to different generations. Crown Candy Kitchen is one of my favorite examples!
There are no restaurant owners in my family history, but we're doing our part to enjoy this one! I'm pretty sure my grandmother took my mom to Crown Candy. And I took my kids a few years back. 4 Generations of customers to Crown Candy Kitchen!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.