Ted Drewes Frozen Custard has been a St. Louis tradition since 1929. It's an old 1950's "walk-up kind of place", and its parking lot is always full.
Ted Drewes' father began selling it after his cousin, who worked for a carnival, suggested traveling with the carnival and selling frozen custard. The recipe on the machine was horrid, so he experimented until he found the perfect recipe. He left the carnival and started a store first in Florida, and then he moved back to St. Louis, and now this treat is found only in St. Louis.
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard is most famous for a treat called a "concrete" (actually, it's a shake that is so thick that you can turn it upside down, and it doesn't fall out of the cup.) The server wears a hard hat!
In addition, they serve the Custard in cones and as sundaes. The custard is always vanilla with many topping choices. My choice is FOX TREAT--a combination of hot fudge, macadamias and raspberries. It is named in honor of St. Louis' fabulous Fox Theatre. There are many more with names to symbolize some part of St. Louis.
So, if you want to do what the locals do, visit Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.
As with any place you live or visit, you appreciate it more if you know some history. St. Louis has a unique history. Residents are proud of it.
The amazing Mound Builders, as they are known, left mystery and a history behind about a thousand years ago. Then European explorers & settlers arrived & still show their stamp on our city in many wonderful ways, from architecture, to food and festivals. For an American city, we have kept much of our historical buildings preserved, as the treasures we know they are. I really like that about this city.
The attached website gives a brief history, and many links for more historical information.
St. Louis is the point of origin for many food items that are well known today. Hamburgers and hotdogs served on buns, ice cream cones, and iced tea are all said to have been popularized at the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904.
One other St. Louis culinary innovation, almost unknown outside of St. Louis, is the St. Paul sandwich.
This is an egg fu young patty served as a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise on squishy mass market white bread. almost every Chinese restaurant in town serves these things and they very popular.
What, I hear you ask, does this have to do with St. Paul. To the best of my knowledge I am the only person who both knows and has posted about it on the web.
The St. Paul began when a customer asked for something he could eat on the run. Now there are no Chinese sandwiches but the customer suggested that an egg fu young patty would make a good sandwich. The cook obliged. . But why St. Paul?
In the lexicon of the Chinese restaurant, an patty is made with "one bowl" of the egg mixture. One patty=one bowl and the cook described it as a "One Bowl Sandwich." The customer's inability to understand the cooks accent transformed this into a "St. Paul Sandwich."
People of St.Louis take there sports teams very seriously. They come out and support there teams like no other city I've ever seen. Another thing is, if it's raining, snowing, or anything besides dry conditions. They will drive as slow as possible on the roads. So plan ahead for extra time. Yes they do ask you what high school you went to a lot here. It's our thing you know!!!!
I don't know if it is really a local costume, but it gave me that idea.
I know that the American use to exaggerate in wedding festivities, with well prepared performances, with rehearsals, hard preparation, and dressing in a... a... an American produced way ( Portuguese will understand what I mean. The other... let's hope they will).
Until arriving to Saint Louis I had never seen a whole marriage in uniform. But they were there. The blue marriage taking pictures, against the beautiful frame of the arch and courthouse, and the red marriage waiting their turn. One thing they achieve: it's harder to intruders!
Even though St. Louis is one of the USA's oldest and most successful cities, you never forget that you're in the middle of America's great agricultural center. Trains roar by at all hours, often sticking you at rail crossings to count 140 cars with your 8-year-old, carrying farm products to and from the ports. Big companies from St. Louis, such as Monsanto, Purina and even Budweiser, made their fortune due to their proximity to agriculture. Even when St. Louisans describe the history of their baseball team, they see the Cardinals as representing the purity of old country hardball (whereas the Yankees were the city slicker team). As urban as it may seem, the country in St. Louis is just below the surface.
If you intend to drive in STL take heed.
Get the heck out of the left lane if you are not gonna pass someone. Otherwise plan on having a local up your tailpipe.
We are not nice drivers. So if you don't know what you are doing or where you are going, let us pass you. Pull over, or get outta the way.
Also, we aren't the best drivers, so watch out.
For your benefit...cops are always running radar so be careful.
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard is a St. Louis tradition. Called "concretes" the ice cream milkshakes are more like a custom mixed soft serve ice cream. Dozens of ingredients to choose from, they mix up your treat in a snap.
Don't let the long lines put you off!! They move quickly. Make sure you're ready to order when it's your turn at the window.
One last warning... beware the killer ice cream headache! :-D
BTW, it's open Feb thru Dec.
One annoying custom of many people who grew up in St. Louis is to ask every new person they meet, "Where'd you go to school?"
When I first encountered this questions, I answered with the name of the college from which I graduated - since I was in my early 20's. But, I soon found out these people wanted to know where I went to High School! It's all part of a not-so-covert method of finding out if you're worthy. Whatever.
Since I moved to St. Louis after college, I wasn't familiar with this custom. But when my brother moved there, 5 or 6 years later, I prepared him. He was smart enough to answer with the name of the High School in the most dangerous part of the city : )
What is bowling? You roll a heavy large ball down a sleek wooden floor, attempting to knock down the pins at the end of your lane. Best done with several rounds of cold beers! You might enjoy it more on a day when the weather is lousy, or you just need an excuse to get off the couch! The balls are included in the fee & you must wear special shoes. Regular shoes will scuff up the shiny floor. You can rent the shoes;bring your own socks!
Bowling is popular in the St. Louis area, for sure. You'll find many places to do it. They call them "bowling alleys." Some Catholic churches have their own alleys & they seem to be open to anyone. But most alleys are businesses. Most are open late into the night.
I don't know the history of bowling, (though St. Louis has a Bowling History Museum across from Busch Stadium) and wonder how many countries share this "sport." Do they play this where you live? People in my country have been bowling for ages. I remember watching it on tv when I was a kid. I must have been pretty bored to find this entertaining! There was an alley near my house, then. I'd go with friends or family. it was good, clean fun. I am not a pro, by any means. But I have bowled & never regretted it!!
If you want me to recommend a place, just email me.
For the record-- St. Louis is NOT a southern city. It is Midwestern, with an eastern flair. People here (in the city especially) are raw and urban. St. Louisans have a unique urban dialect that is very noticeable, especially on the South Side. This is one of America's historic Big Ten cities. The culture and character of the city is unique and distictive. We have many local foods, pronunciations, colloquialisms and customs. You will find St. Louis an interesting and diverse city to visit.
Fantastic Missouri Botanical Gardens!!! ---- The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard in St. Louis and is easily accessible via public transportation by taking the MetroLink to the Central West End station and catching the Garden Express shuttle bus.
take a virtual tour - click here!
Former US president Grant lived in this cabin. It is located at 'Grants Farm'. The land was not good for farming. The biggest cash crop here was the firewood they cut and sold from trees on the land. President Grant called this 'The Hardscrabble Place'. Think of this when you are having a hard scrabble in life.
If you are from the south, they don't serve sweet tea. You have to add the sweetner yourself. 15% tips for waiter if your party is less than four and 20% if greater. Some restraunts automatically charge you the tip, so check your bill before you tip.
The Mississippi is an unmistakable part of St. Louis' culture, just as the Chesapeake is to Baltimore, the St. Laurence is to Quebec or the Rockies are to Denver. St. Louis music is laced with references to the mighty muddy Mississippi and locals like Mark Twain made their reputations writing stories set on it or by it. Almost every business in St. Louis advertises itself as the earliest or biggest of its kind west of the Mississippi if they can. And every resident can tell you what they were doing each year the river flooded in a major way. Just south of the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, barge traffic has long been a cog in its economic engine and cultural exchanges go up and down the river more than they go east to west -- think of the blues/jazz scene that moves up from New Orleans or all of the different styles of barbecue that have stakes along the river system. In fact, New Orleans style bars and restaurants are very popular in St. Louis; moreso than any other city I've been to. St. Louis is definitely a river city.