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Sidebar July 15, 2004

A Fun Place to Be Insulted

A Fun Place to Be Insulted

 

by lyle e davis

 

It's been my experience in going to restaurants, particularly the fancy-schmanzy ones, that they are generally over-rated.  Adequate food with sometimes adequate service but with a hefty price tag.

 

I've come to believe, over the past several years, that quite often you get more for your buck and a helluva lot more entertainment value if and when you find those special little places that are often not much more than a hole in the wall.  We found that to be true two years ago when we visited a broad spectrum of restaurants in New Orleans . . . and we found it to be true in St. Louis as well.

 

In St. Louis, purely by accident, we found Chili Mac's Diner.  It's a small, greasy-spoon appearing cafe.  We actually had walked past it at one time and I somewhat snidely and jokingly mentioned to Evelyn . . ."ah, now there's a restaurant where I could properly entertain you."  We subsequently met another couple who told us that the place was actually quite good.  So, "what the hell," we thought, "let's give 'em a try."  I'm glad we did.

 

It's like a cafeteria . . . about 15 tables, the waitress will seat you with total strangers and you make do as best you can.  We struck up a great conversation with newly found friends from Illinois, who were visiting St. Louis.  They had already discovered this diner years ago and came regularly.

 

We had Donna (Radsord) for a waitress. She was an absolute kick.  She takes great joy in insulting the customers and the customers love it and keep coming back for more.  Donna's been there for about 20 years, most everyone else has as well.  Low turnover is usually a sign that ownership/management is not only okay, but pretty damned good.

 

At one point, after I ordered the breakfast special of eggs, toast, and tea, she asked if I wanted white or wheat toast. 

 

"Do you have rye?," I asked. 

 

"Did I ask you if you wanted rye," she sneered. 

 

She got me good. 

 

Later . . . I said something to her, don't recall what . . . and she sneered again,

"eat, get out."

 

I don't know if all the wait staff is like her but she's got one of those personalities where you feel insulted if she doesn't insult you.  Kind of a less expensive version of "Dick's at the Beach."  (A San Diego restaurant known for wait staff that insult you . . . and charge you an arm and leg while doing it).

 

I think my breakfast special cost less than $3 -they have all kinds of sandwiches, chili (I have no idea what a Chili Mac is but they apparently sell a lot of it).

If you're in St. Louis and looking for not only good food but a restaurant . . . no, it's not a restaurant, make that diner . . . with a great atmosphere . . . a staff that makes it fun to eat out again . . .and a place that serves up good food at a really low price . . . check 'em out . . . Chili Mac's . . .510 Pine Street, St. Louis (314.421.9040).

 

And Another Review . . .

 

We also dined at Mike Shannon's (he's the current play by play announcer for the St. Louis Cards and a former outfielder for the Cards). 

 

I would not go back there. 

 

Attractive decor, service excellent, but the prices were outrageous.  I had a prime rib . . $26.00 a la carte.  It was huge, (16 oz) I'll give you that.  But I really didn't want huge, and I didn't have an option. 

 

Interestingly, we had two rather distinguished and well dressed gentlemen seated across from us.  They looked over the menu, looked at each other and said, "hell, we'd burn up all of our per diem just eating here."  They ordered a beer and left.

 

If folks don't mind spending an awful lot of money, I suppose it's okay . . . but I wouldn't recommend it as one of my top five places to send tourists . . . certainly not without a warning. 

 

They had a filet and lobster, a la carte, $41.  That was a 'special.'  Interesting.  The waiter outlined the special(s), there were two of them, but he didn't give the price.  You had to ask the price.  I don't like that.  We didn't just fall off the turnip truck . . . and I had a feeling that he was reaching into our wallets, hoping we wouldn't notice, but being very polite about it.

 

Shannon’s is in the heart of downtown St. Louis, very close to the stadium. 

 

Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood

100 North Seventh St

(at Chestnut)

St Louis, MO 63101-2102

Phone: +1 314 421 1540