By Doug Cumpton
For a unique dining experience in an intimate setting, Soulard’s Restaurant is sure to please. Located one mile south of downtown St. Louis in the historic Soulard neighborhood, Soulard’s Restaurant opened its doors in 1977 and has since built a quality reputation centered on home-cooked dishes prepared with only the finest ingredients.
Marge and Ray Badock, along with their daughter Kay, were the restaurant’s founding partners, until 1980 when Soulard’s was handed down to the family’s youngest sons, Dan and Tim. Upon arrival, Dan and Tim Badock set out to give the restaurant a new look and expand the available dining space in this historic building. They first focused on bringing the décor from a rustic feel to its current state of upscale and refined elegance. Next, they carried this elegance upstairs by remodeling existing apartment space into the restaurant’s second dining room.
Over the years, the restaurant’s décor has maintained its refined finish. The most recent renovations took place in 2009 when Soulard’s paint, carpet, lighting and seat coverings all received a make-over to refresh the décor and enhance the ambiance in this historic space.
Ray Schmittgens, an American Family Insurance agent, has hosted a number of staff luncheons and district dinner meetings at Soulard’s over the years. “The service and food provided by the Badock family’s restaurant is of the highest quality, and is what one expects from a fine restaurant,” Schmittgens said. “The atmosphere is intimate and makes for a great meeting or party.”
As with the décor, Soulard’s menu is also ever-evolving. Dan Badock classifies the restaurant’s menu as classic American with a French influence. A large part of this ingenuity comes by the way of Chef Russel Byers, who has been managing Soulard’s kitchen for more than 20 years. Byers enjoys studying all things cooking, including the styles of New Orleans chefs, and is constantly coming up with new recipes. He has never abandoned his hands-on approach to managing the kitchen, and his passion for the art of cooking has led him to develop and perfect Soulard’s signature entrees and sauces.
One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is a Peppered Black Angus Filet with a cognac reduction sauce at a menu price of $29.95. This dish starts with a house-cut 9-ounce filet rolled in black cracked pepper, then grilled to order and finished with the cognac reduction.
Soulard’s also prides itself on its Marinated Peppered Pork Tenderloin with raspberry sauce at a menu price of $24.95. To enhance the tenderness and quality of this dish, Soulard’s seeks out the youngest cuts of pork tenderloin. The marinated tenderloin is cut into medallions, grilled and finished with a raspberry sauce.
All dinner entrées at Soulard’s are served with a house salad or the soup of the day, and choice of potato or vegetable.
Soulard’s also boasts a distinguished lunch menu with signature dishes such as a Grilled Chicken Breast with a white wine portabella mushroom sauce for $14.95 and a French Cut Pork Chop with Guinness sauce for $16.95. These specialty dishes along with others and an assortment of soup, salad and sandwich options are also available in box lunches for off-site events.
Sandwiches from the lunch and box lunch menu are served with soup, salad or fries, and lunch entrées are served with soup or salad and choice of ranch fries or vegetable.
Additionally, Soulard’s offers flexible catering options for a range of events, and will custom tailor a menu for breakfast meetings held in the restaurant Monday through Friday.
Soulard’s has a full bar at your party’s disposal and offers its own twist on classics such as the Martini. The Soulard’s Martini starts out with vodka and white vermouth, and for distinction it incorporates Blue Curacao and is finished with a garnish of lemon.
Additionally, Soulard’s is widely known for having one of the area’s most extensive wine lists. It can accommodate all wine drinkers and satisfy the most refined palates. “I’m like anyone else when I look at a wine list,” Dan Badock said. “I want really good wine for a really good price.”
Dan Badock is the restaurant’s resident wine expert. In addition to traveling to France to study his product, he also has completed the first level of Sommelier testing. To ensure top quality, all of Soulard’s wines are stored on-site in the restaurant’s temperature controlled wine cellar. A full wine list can be found at the restaurant’s Web site, www.soulards.com.
Part of Soulard’s ambiance comes from the 100-year-old exposed brick that spans the length of its main dining room and bar area. This area can accommodate up to 85 guests, not including bar seating, and is available to rent for large groups.
For small group luncheons and events, the fireplace room can be reserved and will accommodate up to 15 guests. This semi-private dining space is tucked away just off the main dining room and houses a beautiful brick fireplace accented with stained glass windows and antique suits of armor.
For private parties of up to 60 guests, Soulard’s upstairs dining room is an excellent option. This elegant space is surrounded with windows that flood the room with natural light and offer a spectacular view of the Gateway Arch. In addition to dining space, this level houses a dedicated kitchen, service bar and restrooms for your party’s convenience.
Soulard’s has parking for your guests covered, which can be a lifesaver in the bustling Soulard neighborhood. Its two parking lots offer 60 off-street parking spaces within steps of the restaurant’s front door.
If your event includes presentation materials, Soulard’s staff members will gladly assist in formulating a plan to accommodate your needs, though they do not have presentation tools onsite. “Dan has met my needs in terms of assisting with audio-visual set-up for my presentations, as well as helping set up entertainment for post-meeting parties for my employees,” said Rudy Stecich, owner of RSMK Enterprises. Stecich has regularly held meetings at Soulard’s for the past three years.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
The Badocks pride themselves on customer service and feel that a smaller venue gives them an advantage in the overall experience and the level of service they can provide for group events big or small. To ensure top quality service, Dan and Tim carefully plan every party booked at Soulard’s, and follow it through completion.
“I think a big thing for us is that you get a little bit more of a unique restaurant experience while having a meeting here versus in a hotel space,” Badock said. “From beginning to end, we are really detail-oriented, from set-up to getting the client what they want all the way through.” MM&E
(Doug Cumpton is a contributor from St. Louis, Mo.)
AT A GLANCE:
Type of Facility:
Group size this facility is able to accommodate:
Main Dining Room: 85
Upper Dining Room: 60
Classic American with French influence
Number of Private Dining Rooms Available:
1 private, 1 semi-private
Free parking, wine cellar, ambiance
Are group rates/discounts available?
Lunch $7.25 – $17.95
Dinner $9.95 – $29.95