Meredith Geyer, Contributing Writer
Featured image from Meredith Geyer
St. Louis has become a hub for young chefs and entrepreneurs to create the newest tastes and trends in the restaurant industry. However, among these hip venues and flavors, St. Louis still has a number of pioneer restaurants that have seen the city through a number of generations. Crown Candy Kitchen, one of St. Louis’ most well-known original eating establishments and oldest soda fountain, was opened in 1913 by Harry Karandzieff and Pete Jugaloff.
The Karandzieff family, which has owned Crown Candy for three generations, has maintained the original décor, and has made a big name for the small establishment. Along with its BLT being featured on the Travel Channel as Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America, Crown Candy Kitchen’s single location has touched all corners of the country as its candy can be ordered online and shipped anywhere in the continental United States.
It’s not surprising that a restaurant with such a high national reputation would be a favorite in its local community. Those in the St. Louis area usually visit Crown Candy Kitchen for its four main attractions: the soda fountain, the candy, the house-made chocolates, and the food. However, some come for the view instead of the food and drink. The goal of the décor is to make you feel as though you have stepped back in time, and it does just that. The tight wooden benches, vintage posters, and original sign allow people to reminisce about a time when the only attraction was the soda fountain and the décor was not so novel.
I have been to Crown Candy twice, and let me tell you, admiring the décor was not my goal. If you read my other article in the McKendree Review, “Fatterday,” you know that I am all about the food. While I have never taken on the challenge of drinking five 24-ounce shakes in 30 minutes to get them free at Crown Candy, I have shared one shake of the same size during both of my visits and was completely satisfied. I had the Oreo shake on my first visit, which was a perfect take on the classic cookies and cream flavor. On my second visit, I reached out of my comfort zone, which is anything that does not include chocolate, and had the Dreamsicle, the flavor of the season at the time. Even though it was not chocolate, the Dreamsicle shake definitely satisfied my sweet tooth with its creamy and rich orange sherbet flavor.
In addition to the massive shakes, I also had the opportunity to try three sandwiches during my visits. On my first trip I tried the famous BLT. Thankfully I was with my eating companion who helped me finish this massive sandwich. Apart from the addition of Miracle Whip, Crown Candy’s BLT is standard to the ingredients in the sandwich’s name. What makes this sandwich stand apart is its massive quantity of the best letter, B: bacon. Stacked so high I could not even fit it into my mouth, the BLT seems to have between 1.5-2 packs of bacon, which has given it the chance for Crown Candy to become famous.
It may seem like Crown Candy might be a one man show in the sandwich department, but that is not the case at all. During my second visit, I tried the turkey special and the roast beef cheddar melt. If I could give any advice to those visiting Crowned Candy Kitchen, I would definitely suggest getting at least two different sandwiches to share and having hot and cold sandwich options to try. While the turkey special was lean and light with lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo, the roast beef cheddar melt was denser with salty meat and gooey cheese. Each sandwich came with regular potato chips and a pickle spear.
Despite encouraging an atmosphere that allows people to take a step back in time, the managers of Crown Candy Kitchen stay up to date with current trends and news. In response to COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, Crown Candy Kitchen had shifted to only offering curbside service. Unfortunately, Crown Candy has currently suspended their operation until the pandemic is over. This change in operations is much different compared to its normal lunch and dinner rush that often finds patrons waiting outside the small restaurant in a long line that travels down the sidewalk. If you would like to stay up to date with Crown Candy’s service options, you can visit https://crowncandykitchen.net/ or its single location at 1401 St. Louis Ave. St. Louis, MO 63106. Again, the restaurant is currently closed, but you can check their website for updates.