St. Louis, MO
The Broadway Oyster Bar opened in an old warehouse, in the 1970's. I remember going there with my mom, who had a knack for discovering unique places. Mom was a big fan of oysters and curious historic buildings.
When Don and I joined Mom there in the early '80's, the place was still pretty much a dive bar. Don and I decided to pay a visit, on a trip to St. Louis, a couple years ago.
Don and I were staying at the hotel in the old Union Train Station, so it was only a 5 minute Uber ride to reach BOB. There was quite a crowd outside waiting to be seated.
The old building from the 1840's, still had lots of retro charm with the glowing neon. The building itself was filled with history. Before selling drinks and oysters, it was a boarding house, a Chinese laundry, a bordello and more.
But seeing the crowd outside was a clear reminder that times have changed. The people spilling into the street, were not local neighbors and workmen, stopping by to slurp down a beer and a few oysters. We were about to see what changes had attracted this crowd.
The main bar area was pretty much how I remembered it. The small room was a bit cramped with folks on stools and a few tables behind. The walls and ceilings were still plastered with faded posters and photos...dangling Mardi Gras beads and Christmas lights.
The people looked different. No one appeared to be a "regular", but I could be wrong. Many were glued to a St. Louis Blues hockey game on TV and that made me feel the strong, St. Louis vibe. St. Louisans are loyal sports fans.
We were able to snatch a bar table while we waited to get the text, telling us our table was ready. It gave me some time to study the walls and ceiling.
I wondered what decor was original, from when we first visited 30+ years ago. I heard that the owner doesn't like to remove anything... just add. Maybe there are treasures hidden underneath!
Food & Space Changes
Years ago, BOB expanded their menu from oysters and booze, to award winning Cajun and Creole dishes.
The restaurant & bar also expanded their kitchen and added new dining spaces, some inside and some out. For that reason, our wait wasn't very long.
We were seated along the fence in one of the colorful patio areas. Luckily we had jackets on a cool April night.
Don and I could sort of peek out to the wild traffic on the corner of Broadway and Gratiot Street. On a Saturday night, there seemed to be a pretty crazy parade of motorcycles and souped up cars, all competing to make the most noise.
There was lots to amuse us within the patio area. A pretty amazing mosaic decorated the exterior wall that faced the patio. I wish I'd gotten a better photo, because you can't tell this is made with oyster shells. You also can't tell that it's nearly 2 stories high!
I heard later there were interesting bathroom mosaics. Darn. I usually make a restroom trip just in case there's something curious... and I missed this one!
Of course we had to order some oysters.
There were numerous options, as you might expect. We were not disappointed by our simple, breaded oysters with parmesan.
Crawfish Pot Pie
I ordered the Crawfish Pot Pie, which sounded a little decadent. It was supposed to come with a cheddar cheese biscuit, which had me pretty excited.
It took a while for our food to arrive, so when a plate of equally decadent crawfish fettuccini arrived, I just considered it my lucky day. My photo makes it look small. It was huge, rich and heavenly-delicious. I didn't get close to finishing.
Music Starting Up
As we finished up our meal, a band was completing sound checks for a show starting at 10. The group, that had traveled from Brooklyn to perform was yet another reminder of the times.
Don and I were about the oldest in the young, hip crowd that now filled the area. Back when I was 21, there was no stage, no patio and no menu period.
Good Bye BOB
It was a little quieter outside, when we grabbed our Uber to head back to the hotel. I laugh now as I write this, 2 years late... that night was our first Uber experience. Who would have guessed 30+ years ago, that there would be such a thing as Uber? Who would have guessed that we'd stare down at our "traveling phones" to see words appear, telling us our table was ready?
If I'm around in 30 years, I hope BOB will be, too. Then, we'll see what else has changed!
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.