Tag Archives: st. louis brunch

Kingside Diner

What comes to mind when you think of when you think of a diner? Greasy, fast, retro, late-night? I was expecting all of this out of the Central West End’s newest restaurant, Kingside Diner, but I was left a little disappointed.

The theme of the restaurant is supposed to play off of its neighbor, the St. Louis Chess Club. However, aside from the name, a few catchy menu items, and a couple of TVs on the chess channel, the theme seems to stop there. Rather, the inside feels more like a modern, casual restaurant instead of a bustling diner.

Our experience was off to a bad start when the not-so-friendly hostess took our name and told us that it would be 20 minutes until we would be seated. This would normally not be a a big deal except there were multiple tables inside and out that were unoccupied. We were told that there were just not enough people to wait on all of the tables and that more servers should be arriving soon. Knowing it was a Sunday morning on Father’s day, you would expect that the restaurant would be fully up and running.

Kingside Diner 2Once we were seated, we looked over the large menu of breakfast items, sandwiches, burgers, chili, salads, and daily specials. We decided to start off by splitting the cheddar drop biscuits. I chose a burrito filled with eggs, spinach, tomatoes, red onion, and buttermilk basil which was served with a side of hash browns. My husband went for something a bit more unusual, Grandma Rosie’s rolled cabbage. This Eastern-European inspired dish consisted of beef stuffed cabbage and tomato sauce served over a bed of mashed potatoes.

Our food took a full 30 minutes to arrive and I was brought someone else’s order. The mix-up was quickly corrected and we were finally able eat. Luckily the disorganized feel of the restaurant did not ruin the taste of the food. The buttermilk basil on my burrito was what made this dish stand out. The tortilla was warm and fresh, the eggs were well cooked, and the portion was just right. The hash browns were both crispy and greasy, just like I would expect at a diner. However, I didn’t love the cheddar biscuits as much as I expected. They were dense and dry but in their defense, I did not top mine with the creamy chorizo and sage gravy. My husband loved the gravy and put the left overs on his mashed potatoes. My husband also enjoyed his cabbage dish because it reminded him of something his grandmother would make. I did not grow up with anything close to this and it didn’t suit my taste quite as much.

Luckily the best part of our meal was the food. The menu is well priced and the restaurant is family friendly (although I did overhear the hostess say that they ran out of highchairs). Although Kingside Diner has been open for a few months, the kinks in the service need to be worked out before I’ll be back.

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Cedar Lake Cellars

We couldn’t have had a more perfect morning to drive the 50 minutes out to Foristell to have brunch at Cedar Lake Cellars. I have been there several other times to enjoy a glass of wine with friends, but I was unaware that they served Sunday brunch until it was suggested that I try it. The setting is beautiful with a newly built indoor restaurant and bar that opens to an outdoor, covered patio. Next to the patio is a large grassy area with Cedar Lake Cellars front entrance+picnic benches, chairs, and fire pits that back up to a beautiful lake complete with a dock that offers even more seating. Live music is often playing when the weather is nice and a second outdoor bar makes it easy to access wine, beer, and wine slushies (that’s right, wine slushies!).

Brunch is served from 11a.m. to 2p.m. on Sundays for $18.95 per person and we arrived at around 12:15p.m. without a reservation, although it is recommended that you make one. The hostess found us a table outside and offered to move it into the sun for us which was appreciated. She instructed us that our brunch would come with a Bloody Mary, Mimosa, or a glass of wine and that we could find plates inside next to the buffet.

We went to the buffet right away but we were unable to find plates where we were told they would be. We asked a waitress who said that they were running out but that she would try to find us more. She did come back after a few minutes and we proceeded to fill our plates with food from the buffet since the omelet line was several peoplCedar Lake Cellars buffete deep. Nothing on the table was labeled so I took my best guess at choosing vegetarian-friendly items. The bowl that should have been filled with biscuits was empty but the dish of macaroni was brought out while I was standing there so I helped myself to a serving of that as well as broccoli salad, marinated eggplant and onions, and potato casserole.

We sat down at our table and ate while we waited for a waitress to come take our drink order. The potato casserole and broccoli salad with poppy seed dressing, cranberries and pecans was good but just about everything else was disappointing. The marinated eggplant was spongy and had not been cooked while the macaroni was covered in sauce that tasted like Alfredo sauce from a jar and was cold (even though I watched it come out of the kitchen). My husband had beef stroganoff and didn’t touch it after the first bite. By now we had been at the table for 20 minutes and we were starting to feel thirsty but we decided to wait a bit longer, just to see what would happen.

We went back for more food and since there was no line at the omelet station, we headed that way. There were two pieces of French toast left sitting in a pan so I helped myself to one of those and then placed my omelet order. Since there were only 4 choices of toppings (cheese, turkey, red pepper, and red onion), the decision wasn’t difficult. My husband asked if they had tomatoes but the chef informed us that they “ran out a few days ago.” I know it is a small town but I have to assume that they have access to a grocery store every few days.

We went back to the taMimosa and Bloody Maryble where our old, dirty plates were still sitting and decided to flag someone down for drinks. The hostess happened to be the closest to us and she apologized, took our plates, and promised to send someone over. We ate our rubbery French toast and omelets which were good, despite the odd toppings. After 10 more minutes without drinks, we asked to speak to a manager who proceeded to apologize and offer us our drinks as well as a free meal. While we waited another 10 minutes, my husband went to get dessert. He returned with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, fruit, and bread pudding. Since there were no serving utensils, he used his hands to pick up the fruit and cookies. Finally, 50 minutes after we were seated and 30 minutes after we first started asking for drinks, our Bloody Mary and Mimosa arrived from an apologetic waitress.

I can count the times that I have complained to a manager on two fingers and while it was appropriate that we did not pay for our meal, we could have left on our own without paying and no one would have noticed the difference. While I would return for a drink on a nice day with a group of friends, Cedar Lake Cellars is just too far to drive to ever give it a second chance for brunch. I have seen them host large events in the same space where brunch is held but they seemed incapable of serving the number of people that showed up this morning. Aside from improving the service, simply stocking the buffet would have easily made this a more enjoyable experience.

Cedar Lake cellars is located 11008 Schreckengast Rd Wright City, MO 63390

Southwest Diner

I have received several recommendations about restaurants to check out but today’s pick is the only spot where multiple people have told me that this is a “must try”. Southwest Diner, appropriately located on Southwest Ave. in South City, is tucked between several houses with only a cactus out front to give it away as something special. We chose to attempt brunch on a Saturday around 11a.m. but apparently our idea was not so unique. The restaurant was full when we got there and remained packed for the entire two hours that we were there. My biggest complaint of the day is that there is no waiting area so if you are seated at one of the unfortunate tables by the door, be prepared to have waiting patrons towering over your table. On the plus side, the wait moved relatively quickly and there was plenty of unique Southwest décor on the walls to capture our interest while we waited.

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We were seated and quickly greeted by our waitress who provided us with great service throughout our entire meal. As we looked over our menus, I sipped on Kaldi’s coffee while my husband had a beer-mosa consisting of OJ and Schlafly Hefeweizen. While I prefer a Bloody Mary as my breakfast drink of choice, this was definitely an acceptable alternative. We also ordered an appetizer of sopapillas which are very light, puffy, doughnut-like pastries that came accompanied by a bottle of honey. This created a sticky mess of deliciousness that would have probably been more appropriate for the end of the meal but let’s be honest, I would eat these 24 hours a day if I had the chance.

Our food arrived quickly and a giant enchilada-style, New Mexican breakfast burrito with calabacitas (an assorted mix of corn, squash, zucchini, and onion) was placed in front of me. In addition, the burrito was filled with eggs, home fries, cheese, and green chilies and topped with salsa and melted cheese. While I lost the battle with this giant, spicy, yummy burrito, the leftovers made a perfect late-night snack. My husband went for the Grande Egg Combo: complete with two eggs, breakfast sausage, home fries, and a short stack of buttermilk cornmeal pancakes served with an optional side of cream cheese butter. We both agreed that his dish could have used a bit of sauce or spicing up of some sort but luckily each table had about 5 different sauce options and the Cholula hot sauce really helped. The cornmeal pancakes tasted just like cornbread but were a bit more dense and soaked the cream cheese butter and syrup right up. Even though my stomach felt like it was going to burst, I could not stop stealing bites of the pancakes from my husband.

Southwest Diner provides the perfect twist to your average breakfast and diner fare and it comes at a reasonable price. Thank you to everyone who suggested this spot. Please share this review and keep the ideas coming!

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The Mud House

This morning, my husband and I went in search of a new weekend brunch spot and happened to come across The Mud House located on Cherokee Street. I had not yet been to this part of town that is known for its antique shops, art galleries, and cafes. I have been hearing a lot of talk about St. Louis’s up and coming coffee scene and this was one of the names that has been mentioned. However, I had no idea about their creative breakfast and lunch menu that are both served throughout the day.

Rosemary latte
Rosemary latte

We arrived around 11a.m. and since it was getting crowded, I stood in line to order at the counter while my husband found a table. Little did he know, he was about to be the recipient of a lavender mocha that was recommended by the barista. While I was a little nervous about choosing this for him, we were both pleasantly surprised. In fact it was so delicious, he uncharacteristically ordered a second drink for the road. I took a chance by ordering a rosemary latte which was also unexpectedly good. You could smell a hint of rosemary as soon as you brought the mug to your mouth but the taste was very subtle.

While waiting for our order, we had a chance to take in the restaurant. The décor complemented the artsy feel of the neighborhood in that everything was so mismatched, that it matched perfectly. The floors were a rustic wood, menus were written on chalk boards and rolls of paper towels, and the walls were covered in vintage shop finds. The restaurant was filled families having breakfast, students studying on their laptops, and groups of friends having coffee. It had such warm, cozy feel that I wanted to love it the minute I stepped in the door.

After about 15 minutes, the food arrived at our table. While there are a la cart menu items, this is not a place that you go for your typical eggs, bacon, and hash browns. I chose to go with The Breslin made with curried lentils, two sunny-side up eggs, cilantro, plain Greek yogurt, and two pieces of grilled bread. The portions and presentation were perfect and the combination of eggs and lentils was something that I have never seen before. However, the Greek yogurt didn’t add much to the dish and I probably could have done without it. My husband went for the Mud Slinger made with two sunny-side up eggs over black bean chili, roasted potatoes, red onion, and toast. We both loved this dish but thought that the eggs could have used another minute on the skillet.

After finishing our breakfast, we stayed just a bit longer before deciding to check out some of the shops next door. We made it a few blocks before deciding that a cold Sunday with snow packed sidewalks was not making for the best shopping and settled on coming back when it is warmer out. For anyone looking for a new brunch or coffee spot, I would definitely recommend The Mud House.

For more info check out themudhousestl.com

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