Q • Lewis and Clark’s gumbo is the best I’ve ever had. — Marla Hamlin, St. Louis
A • You just know that after 4,000 gallons of gumbo, the Lewis and Clark’s cook had to wonder why his new boss was taking the soup off the menu. The year was 2012. And the cook was Tim Adelmann, the kitchen manager who’s now racked up 32 years of experience at Lewis and Clark’s restaurant.
His boss was Dan Badock, who had just bought Lewis and Clark’s. Since Badock was moving from one historic neighborhood to another — he co-owned Soulard’s Restaurant and his brother Tim still runs it — he figured he had good insight into his new customers’ taste. Instead, he says, “I made a mistake. OMG, the core clientele was outraged when gumbo came off the menu.” Naturally, Badock put it right back where it belongs and where it has stayed.
Badock is a history buff and has updated the restaurant’s décor with maps and prints illustrating the 1804-06 expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. He’s also introduced slightly more upscale entrées. He’s especially proud of the ribeyes, wet-aged and cut to spec, slow-cooked overnight. “People are catching on that the quality is here, with very reasonable prices.”
Badock calls his restaurant a “St. Charles icon” and smiles to think of locals who choose the restaurant for a first date, then come back to get engaged and celebrate anniversaries and later to feed their families from the kids’ menu.
The restaurant’s gumbo has a slight kick. Adelmann says he’s no seafood fan but likes the gumbo. His own favorite soup is the white chili — even after making more than 22,000 gallons over the years. He and Badock are of like mind about the pork chop: Both are partial to the tender meat doused in andouille gravy.
Lewis and Clark’s
217 Main Street, St. Charles
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