I suppose it’s a little cruel to talk about Ted Drewes’ Frozen Custard in January — the only month the St. Louis institution is closed — but on this warm, sunny morning, I just can’t help dreaming of spring.
From February to December, you’ll find customers lined up 10 deep in front of the building at 6726 Chippewa — the most popular alignment of Route 66 through St. Louis — to order a Crater Copernicus (devil’s food cake with frozen custard, hot fudge and whipped cream), Dutchman Delight (chocolate, butterscotch and nuts), or Fox Treat (hot fudge, raspberries and macadamia nuts).
Don’t let the crowds scare you off. While a long line at some establishments may indicate that the business is understaffed or the service is slow, the fast-moving lines at Ted Drewes’ are merely an indicator of product quality. Everybody in St. Louis goes to Ted’s — and because Ted knows it, he hires enough employees to keep up with the crowds. I’ve never had to wait in line longer than five minutes.
Everyone’s tastes are different, but for my money, the Cardinal Sin (tart cherries and hot fudge) and Dutchman concretes are the best items on the menu — at least until fall, when Ted offers his pumpkin pie concrete, which involves an entire slice of pie mixed into a big cup of frozen custard.
My rat terrier, Scout, is partial to the Southern Delight, which is made with pralines and butterscotch.
Concretes, for the uninitiated, are rich, creamy milkshakes so thick that they won’t fall out of the cup when it’s turned upside down. I can’t begin to explain how good these are, but I’ll just note, for the record, that one former president of the Illinois Route 66 Association has been known to drive all the way from Chicago just to get a concrete on a summer weekend.
Scout and I completely understand.
If you’re not up for a 300-mile ice cream run, Ted can pack a few mini concretes in dry ice and ship them to you.
During December, Ted Drewes’ also sells Christmas trees. A second, older location is open during the summer months at 4224 S. Grand. When we lived in the area, we generally preferred to hit the Route 66 location, but if you’re interested in exploring St. Louis a bit while you’re in town, South Grand is an interesting drive that takes you past the Bevo Mill, among other oddities.
Ted Drewes’ opens at 11 a.m. daily. Closing time varies, but it’s fairly safe to assume that if the Cardinals are playing at home, Ted will be open when the game ends.
For more information, call (314) 481-2652 or (314) 481-2124 or visit the Web site.
Route 66 spirit: A