Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Classic: Old Ways Still the Best at Dieckmeyer's

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Classic: Old Ways Still the Best at Dieckmeyer's

Article excerpt

Remember the old black-and-white movies when the passage of time was shown by calendar pages flying off a wall and blowing away with the breeze?

That's about what you expect - only backward - when you walk through the door of Dieckmeyer's Bar and Restaurant, 6201 South Broadway (481-8137). It opened in 1947, and though I was not a St. Louisan in those days, the restaurant appears practically unchanged in nearly a half-century.

"Best Brains in St. Louis" says a sign on the back-bar mirror, and that's been a claim to fame for decades. But Dieckmeyer's is more than that. It's a white-tablecloth establishment, closed on Sundays and Mondays, with a basic, old-fashioned menu that does not appear to have changed (except for prices) in the same period of time. That's not a criticism, either, but a memory twinge that brings back my early days in Missouri.

News of a daily special hangs over the bar, and a chalkboard with available pies is near the kitchen window. Specials include things like fish (on Friday) with macaroni and cheese, and chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, while the menu has a full run of classic sandwiches - jack salmon, pork chops, polish sausage, ham and cheese, hot roast beef with gravy - that are prepared to order.

Service is brisk and friendly, and the lunch-time crowd ranges from dark suits to overalls, from ties to gimme caps. An old lithograph of Union Station hangs on a wall, and the nearby brewery is well represented.

Soups change daily, with a very good cream of chicken available one day.

Given its fame, the brain sandwich is a must, and it's excellent. It's an organ meat, like tripe, or liver, or kidneys, or sweetbreads, and the texture is what makes it different - and uncomfortable - to most palates. The Dieckmeyer's version is battered and fried, and is soft and juicy inside. Its flavor is not very strong, and it benefits from an accompanying slice of raw onion. Ketchup helps, too.

Hamburgers are rather ordinary, but a jack salmon sandwich was splendid, with the whiting freshly fried under a medium batter, and accompanied by old-fashioned, heavy, cheesy macaroni and cheese. …

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