By Stephen Lindsley
There are occasions when the meeting you are planning is something a little special. It may be a celebration, or an important chance to host a valued partner or prospective client who is in from out of town. It might be an occasion that calls for a generous, candlelit dinner with attentive and well-dressed waiters, the kind of understated elegance that only comes from decades of tradition. Or, it may just be that someone in the group requested a really good steak. There will not be a PowerPoint presentation at this meeting, nor will there be badges or nametags. The requirements are simple: a suitable place for an earnest conversation and a memorable meal.
A genuine St. Louis institution, the Charcoal House is located on Manchester Road at Berry Road in Rock Hill. For more than 40 years it has hosted generations of families and regular customers, and it seems that owners George and Steve Angolos know by name everyone who walks through the door. The Angelos brothers, originally from Kalamata, Greece, have owned the Charcoal House for the last 32 years, adding their own signature touches to the menu but otherwise maintaining the same winning formula that draws people back time and again.
UPHOLDING A PROUD TRADITION
Although little has changed over the years at the Charcoal House, it continues to win awards such as Best Steakhouse 2009 from the Riverfront Times. People who remember dining with their parents at the Charcoal House now bring their own children, and each succeeding generation soon discovers what its forebears already knew. More than just an award-winning steakhouse, the Charcoal House is like an extended family.
“There’s just a great history to the place,” said Inventiv Pharmaceutical sales representative John Boedeker. “I love introducing it to people who have never been there. The food is off the charts – it’s great, but there’s more to it than that. It’s also nice to go someplace where they know your name. We love the waiters and servers. Everyone is warm and treats you personally. It’s a top-of-the-line dinner spot, with white table cloths and all that, but lunch is great too – the same great food and different specials all the time.”
AN INTIMATE ARRANGEMENT
The restaurant is divided into three spaces – a small dining area facing the front windows, a main dining area on the right as you face the maître d’ stand, and a narrower, divided area with a full bar on the left that runs almost the entire length of the dining room. Smaller groups can be seated in the quieter front area, but seating is flexible throughout. The restaurant seats 95, but it usually hosts groups of smaller sizes. “We can comfortably handle meetings of up to about 25 people,” said George Angelos. “We get a lot of small lunch meetings, and occasionally a larger group that we can set apart if they want.”
Different kinds of meetings are suited for different kinds of spaces, and vice-versa, but when the opportunity arises to pamper a client, prospect, coworker or a similar small group, the Charcoal House is a resource that should not be over-looked. What they do, they do very well.
WHERE FOOD AND SERVICE DANCE
Known for filet mignon as big as a baseball, the classic “Steak by George,” broiled African lobster tails and twice-baked potatoes, the Charcoal House places an emphasis on choosing the finest ingredients. “We use certified aged Black Angus beef,” said George Angelos. “And we personally hand-select the cuts of meat so we know it’s the best.”
Many of the waiters and other staff members have a long history working at the restaurant. A successful restaurant means a successful team, and the countless years they have spent honing their craft is evident in the details that combine to create an exceptional meal, from butter at the perfect temperature for spreading on bread to the water glass that never waits to be filled. Chef Anan is the legend behind the broiler, while Nick the bartender is known for his masterful martinis and manhattans. The waiters and servers whisk in and out efficiently, like a ballet of dinner service set to the clinking of knives and forks on china.
Like the menu, the wine list is short but complete: something for every palate, but no excess of options. They know what people come there for, and the Angelos brothers and their staff know how to provide it expertly.
Many a deal has been sealed over a superior dinner, but how many have been lost because the meal was worse than the deal? It may be a rare occasion that the perfect meeting spot is a “top-of-the-line” steakhouse, but for more than 40 years one of the best options in St. Louis has been the Charcoal House. MM&E
(Stephen Lindsley is a contributor from St. Louis, Mo.)
9855 Manchester Road
Rock Hill, MO 63119
Phone: (314) 968-4842
Web Site: http://charcoalhousestl.com/