It’s a scary time to be a restaurant owner; the almost unstoppable encroach of the chain restaurant has reached the point of epidemic, and it’s dangerous to even try to serve a sandwich without a trendy name. It’s also scary to be a restaurant enthusiast, since the rise of the chain has, at best, limited our choices down to either fast food fare like McDonalds or slightly higher quality slop from places like Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday’s, and other restaurants with a ‘s at the end of their names.
Thankfully, there are still some home town heroes around–places that aren’t meant to be chains and will never be. The Macklind Avenue Deli is one such place.
Walking into the restaurant, you’ll see dozens of advertisements for their hundreds of varieties of beers and their regular beer tastings, which take place in the back room. The store is of decent size, and you’ll always get a smile from whoever is working the counter (often, it’s the owner himself, an older gentlemen whose picture adorns a wall to your left when you enter).
The sandwich selection is amazing, with something for every taste, including vegetarian sandwiches, reubens, and the all-powerful Macklind Avenue BLT, which is bacon, lettuce, and tomato (duh) with peanut butter on one of the pieces of bread. It sounds a bit odd, but it’s a taste that must be experienced–you’ll be trying to recreate it at home for months.
At the front counter, there are cellophane wrapped deserts, brownies, cakes, and other treats priced affordably, and they’re good, not too sweet and designed as a complement to a meal, not a replacement for one.
The sandwich selection pales (insert India Pale Ale joke here) in comparison to the beer selection. The walls are literally lined with hundreds of different brands, stouts, IPAs, hefeweisens, and pretty much every type of beer under the sun. Locals know to check out the Schlafly brews, which are somewhat reasonably priced. I had a nice Dos Equis lager on my last stop there, and it’s a great summer brew to compliment the simpler sandwiches. If you don’t know what beer to order, or if you’re just overwhelmed at the breadth of available brews, ask whoever is working the counter to help you pick one. They’ll be glad to give you a few recommendations.
There’s not a whole lot to complain about, except for perhaps that the wait for food can be extensive, although when your consolation for that wait is a great tasting, unique, fresh, locally made sandwich and a cold beer, it’s always worth it.
If you’re around Macklind Avenue off of Kingshighway in Saint Louis, be sure to stop by the Macklind Avenue Deli, a locally owned and operated joint that presents a truly unique experience in the Gateway city.