Breaking News Bar
posted: 5/17/2014 5:30 AM

Go for the food: Taste the Big Easy in St. Louis

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Sous chef Arturo Morales, left, prepares a dish at the grill as a plate of oysters sit ready to be served at Broadway Oyster Bar in St. Louis.

      Sous chef Arturo Morales, left, prepares a dish at the grill as a plate of oysters sit ready to be served at Broadway Oyster Bar in St. Louis.
    Associated Press

  • Tucked into St. Louis' former French enclave of Soulard, the 1840s-era roadhouse Broadway Oyster Bar is gloriously downscale.

      Tucked into St. Louis' former French enclave of Soulard, the 1840s-era roadhouse Broadway Oyster Bar is gloriously downscale.
    Associated Press

  • Patrons dance to live music at Broadway Oyster Bar in St. Louis. The venue doubles as a home away from home for touring artists from New Orleans, whose concert posters are plastered on the walls.

      Patrons dance to live music at Broadway Oyster Bar in St. Louis. The venue doubles as a home away from home for touring artists from New Orleans, whose concert posters are plastered on the walls.
    Associated Press

  • Patrons enjoy the patio area at Broadway Oyster Bar after a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game in St. Louis. Diners eat off tin plates while sitting on long wooden benches in an enclosed patio that also doubles as venue for live music.

      Patrons enjoy the patio area at Broadway Oyster Bar after a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game in St. Louis. Diners eat off tin plates while sitting on long wooden benches in an enclosed patio that also doubles as venue for live music.
    Associated Press

  • Brandon Gray, left, sits next to friend Lisa Murray as they are handed another drink by James Huntley at Broadway Oyster Bar in St. Louis.

      Brandon Gray, left, sits next to friend Lisa Murray as they are handed another drink by James Huntley at Broadway Oyster Bar in St. Louis.
    Associated Press

 
By Alan Scher Zagier, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- The Broadway Oyster Bar may be a mere block from the home stadium of the St. Louis Cardinals, but its heart lies in another Mississippi River city nearly 700 miles south.

"We're trying to bridge the connection between St. Louis and New Orleans," says owner John Johnson, a former painting contractor whose annual sojourns to the Big Easy for jazz and food set the stage for his purchase of the oyster bar nearly two decades ago.

Tucked into St. Louis' former French enclave of Soulard, the 1840s-era roadhouse isn't shy about its allegiance to New Orleans. It's decked out for Mardi Gras, sporting everything from those classic beads to purple-and-green Christmas lights and Gulf Coast mollusks.

And then there is the menu -- crawfish cakes, alligator sausage and pork boudin sliders as appetizers, with jambalaya, gumbo and crawfish étouffée among the entrees. The shrimp and grits revolves around a firm grit cake made with white cheddar and andouille sausage, providing a sturdier foundation than the more typical, porridge-like version.

Sandwiches include seafood po'boys on bread from New Orleans baker Gambino's, as well as warm muffulettas, which combine salami, ham, cheese and an olive spread on rounded loaves. Grinders are an attempt to pair New Orleans with New England, taking hollowed-out French baguettes and filling the resulting dough trough with minced garlic, onions, peppers and a choice of seafood.

But as the name suggests, oysters are the star attraction, with near-daily shipments from around the country. Those less enamored with raw shellfish can opt for the chargrilled oysters drenched in garlic, cheese and bread crumbs, styled after those made by the legendary Drago's Seafood Restaurant down south.

The draft beer selection is ample, dominated by local craft brewers such as Civil Life, Four Hands, O'Fallon and Schlafly that have emerged as more complex alternatives to Budweiser, the city's erstwhile King of Beers brewed just a short walk away.

Broadway Oyster Bar -- known as BOB for short -- is gloriously downscale. Patrons eat off tin plates while sitting on long wooden benches in an enclosed patio that also doubles as a venue for live music -- and a home away from home for touring artists from New Orleans, whose concert posters are plastered on the walls.

In addition to blues-lovers and baseball fans, the restaurant draws an eclectic crowd that also includes conventioneers and white-shoe lawyers.

This spring, BOB and like-minded neighbors such as The Beale on Broadway and BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups have more competition for Cardinals fans with the opening of Ballpark Village, a Cardinals-approved entertainment district next to Busch Stadium with several themed restaurants and sports bars. But Johnson is unconcerned.

"This is the real ballpark village," he said.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here