Route 66 Treats in St. Louis
Frozen Custard and Root Beer!
Don and I moved away from St. Louis about 25 years ago and there are a lot of treats we miss. Ted Drewes was a must on our last visit. Luckily it was fall and we didn't have to stand in long lines.
Ted Drewes first started making frozen custard as a carnival man. He opened his first shop in St. Louis in 1930. By 1941 he opened his third location in an urban neighborhood, on a street that was part of the old Route 66.
Don is pictured, enjoying a Johnny Rabbit concrete. We watched them mix cherries and chocolate shavings into the vanilla frozen custard before inserting a spoon and turning the cup upside down. That's a nifty gesture to remind us how thick and delicious a concrete is!
Closer to our old neighborhood of Glendale, we made a stop at Carl's Drive In.
Historic Route 66
Carl's has been sitting on Manchester Road on another section of old 66, since 1959. It had been about 20 years since Don and I stopped for a bite. We arrived at 11:30, but the 16-stool joint was already packed.
2 Door & 2 Counters
There are two entrances on opposite sides of Carl's. The space is divided by a cooking area and 2 counters. If you happen to choose the door to the more crowded space, you have to walk outside the building to get to the opposite side.
We lucked out and found two stools next to the man in white hair. He was enjoying his malt and burger since it had also been 20 years since his last visit. When I popped up to take this photo he teased, "Did I do something? I showered this morning and everything!"
I had to order one of their home brewed root beers that was poured from the big barrel right into my frosty mug. Supposedly their recipe has something to do with the IBC original recipe? It was very tasty.
There was no lingering at Carl's. Before we got our order, all the men seated to my right had been replaced by moms and kids. There was a constant stream of carry out pick-ups as well.
How Many Working?
I laughed to watch the employees with their red aprons working in the center. There was hardly any room to move and there must have been at least 5 working!
Frank, not Carl
I'm not sure about the Carl who must have opened the place in the fifties. But current owner, Frank Cunetto has been smashing burgers on that grill for about 30 years. There was a photo of him on the wall with Master Chef, Hubert Keller. He certainly looked like the blue-shirted guy who stood over the sizzling grill just a few feet away. But the staff was far too busy to be bombarded with my questions.
It took only a few seconds for Don's Classic Cheeseburger and my Rueben dog on Rye to make its way from the grill to the counter in front of us. The crispy edges of the burger was the icing on the cake. The dog and 'kraut worked perfectly with my root beer! Fast and yummy!
Note: It looks like Frank has sold the biz since our visit! Sure hope all remains the same at Carl's! Glad it was as good as we remembered!
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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.