Monday, December 5, 2011


The Delmar Loop
6605 Delmar Blvd
St Louis, MO

A workday review.
The Delmar Loop is an upscale and quite popular area of the St. Louis metro area, located only a couple of miles from Forest Park, where can be found the St. Louis zoo, Botanical gardens, art museum, etc. The loop is actually in one of St. Louis’s many, many neighboring suburbs called University City, named so as it is home to world renowned Washington University.
It is called the loop because it once was home to the looping turn-around area for the streetcar lines. The streetcars and loop itself have been gone for quite a while though the name stuck. There is word of a possible trolley system in the future. Anyway it’s a really nice area, lots of stately homes, fashionable shops and eateries, theatres and performance halls. The sidewalks are home to plaques and statues of famous folks from St. Louis. Fitz’s has near its front door a bronze statue of Chuck Berry. Other folks commemorated on the loop are Nellie, Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, John Goodman and sexologists Masters and Johnson.  I’m not making that up. M&J started their filthy, sinful sex-work at Wash U.
Fitz’s itself is a brewer/bottler of Root Beer, first produced in 1947. The current old building it occupies was originally a bank, the bottling operation operates where the vault once stood.
We left work for lunch to meet up with a former co-worker who was in town for a spell. I’d never met him, he left the company before I started my current employ. There were four of us, Doug, Rob (with whom I’ve written about before) and Brenda, a very talented and often useful database administrator.

The Place.

None of us had been there before, so we had maps, three of them, each slightly different. They got us there without too much trouble. Street parking is a known issue in this area, but we lucked out that Fitz’s had a lot behind the building. There was construction netting up around the outside, workers were busy re-cobbling the patio areas. The place was busy but not packed, we told the lady that met us that we were meeting a party, she pointed us up the stairs. I appreciated this as kids are allowed downstairs, but not upstairs. It’s a kid-friendly place I’m told, with cardboard car-shaped serving baskets to utterly delight the sticky little tykes.
We met the guy, a handsome thirty-ish man with no hair on his head. That’s a look I’ve often thought about sporting, but Angel insists I look fine just the way I am. He turned out to be a nice, intelligent man despite his lack of hair. Brenda asked him where he worked, he replied ‘Avon’. She looked baffled. “You sell Avon?” she asked.
”No, I work at Avon’s HQ in White Plains New York, still admin’ing IT systems, like I did when we worked together.”
“Oh. That makes more sense.”
The place was trying to look 1950’s-ish, retro stuff here and there, the walls were exposed brick, the ceiling open with exposed large, shiny vent pipes. Upstairs and down were booths and tables. A long bar lined the entire back wall. We were greeted and seated by a nice young lady with a very unfortunately located water stain on the front of her jeans. I tried not to stare.
There were three large flat screen TV’s flashing various sports shows, hockey, football highlights, etc. The sound was thankfully muted. We sat directly under a loudspeaker, a pretty loud loudspeaker playing a form of music that I can only equate to Velvet Underground style glam (imagine Andy Warhol influenced rock). It may not have been that at all, but it wasn’t too bad.

The Food:
We glanced over the menus, mostly burgers and sandwiches. They didn’t list a BLT, though they did offer a B.L.A.S.T which was a wrap with Bacon Lettuce, Avocado, Sauce (spicy), and Turkey.  I don’t do Avocado.  Rob apparently does though. I wasn’t in the mood for a burger either, Angel got lazy the evening before and picked up burgers from McDonalds instead of feeding me properly as a good wife should.
I did find a winner though, beer-battered fish and chips. ‘Chips’ is what the British call French fries, I don’t know why, maybe they’re just stupid. We aren’t in Brittany anyhow, it should really be called fish and fries, what’s so wrong with that?
By default I was going to order tea, but the three folks that ordered ahead of me all asked for the root beer. I thought for a moment and decided to do likewise since this place was a brewer and bottler of the stuff. To do otherwise would be like going to Steak and Shake and not ordering a shake. Come to think of it though, I have been to Steak and Shake and not had a shake. I’m not proud of that, I just don’t like cold, milky sweet drinks. Root beer, A&W specifically, like they sell at fairs and Demolition Derby’s always seem too sweet. I was afraid this might be the case, but because of my sense of obligation to you, my loyal fans, I went ahead and did my duty.
We were soon delivered frosty mugs, seriously frosty, like a windshield in January frosty. Cute, but it came at a price. The frost melted almost immediately when the root beer was poured into them, leaving large puddles on the table. It might also explain the waitress’ pants stain. The root beer itself though was pretty good, earthy, not hyper sweet. I’m not a big carbonated beverage guy, they tend to make me feel bloatey but in this case I refilled twice.
The food was delivered, the three fish portions looked like eggrolls. There was enough tartar sauce to overcome subjugation by the Mongols.* The slaw was generous, way too generous since it was completely bland. I had maybe two bites of it. The fish itself was quite good. The fries were fine, but nothing to write home about.
Rob said his BLAST was okay, but it was a little light on the turkey. I asked the others about their burgers, Brenda said “They’re like real burgers” Which I assumed to mean not like fast food burgers. Everyone but me finished everything off, I was left with a bowl of tartar sauce and a bowl of bland coleslaw.
The root beer was the star of the meal though, without a doubt. In all the food was okay, but not excellent or outstanding. It was overpriced for the quality presented, meal came to $14.20 before tip. That’s not excessive, but I can certainly do better elsewhere, like at Hodges’ Chili Mac, Casa Gallardo or Maryland Yards.  Fitz’s may indeed have standout dishes, I might just have missed them. Let me know if there’s something they’ve got that’s good enough to motivate me to go there again.

* Subjugation by the Mongols:  The Tartars (or Tatars) are a Turkish speaking ethnic group in a wide area in Russia and the many ‘stans’ around the region. In the 13th century Genghis Khan was pillaging and looting the area, enslaving a lot of defeated peoples, the Tartars included. They’ve been subjugated a lot. Tartar sauce is thought to be called such as the tartars were by legend very rough people, and as an adjective, ‘tartar’ was possibly once used to mean ‘rough’, as is the texture of the stuff.

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