Somehow, someway, it has taken me this long to hit Crown Candy Kitchen up there in Old North St Louis. And the sad part is I had read about it for months before I moved here. Maybe it was that I had failed to ask anyone to show me where it's at, or the fact that everyone tries to scare you to death about going North of Delmar for fear of being gang-looked-at. I know getting gang-looked-at (being looked at by someone you don't know who's "scary") can really freak someone out, but the North side was more abandoned than wrought with early 90s Snoop Dogs. THAT would have been awesome. Those cars bounce!
Crown Candy Kitchen (pic from the website)
It was sad to see all those historic buildings abandoned and in ruin, but it did make the drive to Old North extremely quick. The whole area seems like it could be a new Soulard actually. I know I've read accounts of what Soulard was like in the 70's and what I saw on the North side was the real-life version of it. Perhaps there is hope there. As I pulled up to Crown Candy Kitchen I did see signs of it.
Crown Square (from ONSL blog)
It looked as though there was plenty of rehab going on to store fronts right around the immediate area. As soon as I saw it I was reminded of a story I read about the restoration of a North side street mall and I was sure this had to be it. I googled a little bit since then and it seems as if the area will be called Crown Square. I like it! Even more impressive is what the plans are proposing. It sounds like Old North could really become an art center for St Louis. Well, I can tell you this much... The buildings are on their way. The street was full of construction with a few buildings seemingly ready to occupy. In fact, it looks as if the whole area as a whole is ready to explode onto the scene. Check out the goings on of Old North in this blog. What they are doing is pretty impressive. Revitalizing a whole area takes patience and balls. Not necessarily in that order.
Front Counter at Crown Candy Kitchen
Apparently it also takes bacon. Lots of it. More on that later. As I entered the corner building I wasn't struck with a sense that the place was ridiculously old. I mean, it opened in 1913, so it's old. It just didn't seem too old. Which is good in my book. I like the charm of a place that hasn't been updated since the 20's but I can't help feeling like it isn't up to code food preparation-wise. It's that damn germophobic thing again. Either way, I felt safe. The decor spans the decades which is maybe why it doesn't feel like a certain era. Crown Candy Kitchen isn't large by any means but there are plenty of tables, almost always full of people from what I understand. Today was no exception.
I arrived before noon which must have been a good plan because I immediately scored a table. Shortly after, the line to sit down was out the door. I was there to get one thing in particular... The famed Crown Candy shake/malt. I wanted to decide on that first. I'm still second-guessing myself on the choice of Coffee flavor with so many good choices, but the real trouble was what to eat. I was planning on ordering the BLT which many people had recommended until I began to look around the joint. It was obviously the most loved sandwich there as many people were munching on it. However, what they were eating looked nothing like a BLT that I'd ever seen. These weren't BLTs. These were bacon sandwiches. I've never seen so much bacon served to a person. I get it, people love bacon, but damn. I like bacon to an extent but nowhere near that much. I passed on the BLT.
The Crown Candy Kitchen BLT (from Iron Stef)
So what did I get? A turkey bacon sandwich. Why am I an idiot? Because it's a BLT with turkey on it. There was less bacon than the regular BLT, yes, but I still had to remove quite a few slices of meat candy. Thankfully I had my delicious coffee shake to wash the salt down with. When you order a shake they bring you out a gigantic metal cup that they make the shake in and a regular sized shake glass. From there you pour the shake yourself. That metal container holds about 4 shakes. Yeah, its large. And delicious. Nutritious? Well... No. They clearly state on their menu that their ice cream is made with 14% butterfat. While delicious it has no business being included in a healthy meal. Luckily you don't go to a place called Crown Candy Kitchen for healthy meals.
My Coffee Shake
Here's the question... How unhealthy is it? Let's compare the shake to an Oberweis Vanilla Milkshake. Oberweis uses 18% butterfat in their ice cream according to their website. That's a decent amount more I'd say. Now lets take a look at some nutritional assessments... Wow. 1080 calories. 72g of fat. 97g of carbs. That's for the serving size of "1 shake" whatever that means. You'd guess that Crown Candy Kitchen's shake would be a little less horrible for you until you realize that the serving size of these shakes there is massive! Who knows the number of calories and such are in there, but if you are drinking the whole thing like it begs you to do, you're likely going into a coma. Guess, what I did as soon as I got home? 2 hour nap!
So yeah, be prepared. You are likely getting a whole days worth of calories when you go there. A whole delicious days. The place is totally worth trying at least once. I know where I'll be bringing my Chicago peeps next time they visit. They love bacon.