Muddy Memories

The touristy Mesquite Charlie's will nonetheless satisfy those with a fondness for Old Man River

Then, as seems inevitable in the city of St. Louis, there's the issue of parking. In the good old days, parking on the levee and on what we then called Wharf Street was free, and there was this interesting side effect that folks would park down there for work or events, then walk through downtown and back, creating an appearance of life, not to mention the frequent tendency to stop at a bar or restaurant along the way for an impromptu drink or bite to eat. Somewhere along the line (and this may have made some sense when there were multiple attractions), gates were put up and a charge imposed for parking. Now, one has to go through the shell game of paying for parking, having the attendant tell you to present your ticket at the end of the meal for a $3 discount and getting your rebate. It's really easy to forget this little flimflam over the couple of hours you spend inside, and on neither visit did our waiter ask whether we had a parking ticket to trade in.

Having noted all this, here are some ideas for fellow river rats who have been patiently waiting for the reborn opportunity to dine dockside. Lunch is served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and although the lunch menu comprises fewer than a dozen very simple items, they're generally about 8 bucks. Desserts are quite passable, including a frozen confection somewhere between chocolate pudding and mousse called Mississippi Mud and a dessert-burrito-like thing with cheesecake inside. You can also still sit in the bar on the lower deck and watch the driftwood float by.

Though the food is merely average, Mesquite Charlie's, on the St. Louis riverfront, offers a unique opportunity to connect with local heritage.
Jennifer Silverberg
Though the food is merely average, Mesquite Charlie's, on the St. Louis riverfront, offers a unique opportunity to connect with local heritage.

Details

10-ounce choice strip $13.99
Cowboy T-bone $24.99
Mississippi Seafood Platter $14.95
Surf-and-turf $23.95
Mississippi Mud $4
Fried Cheesecake $4

314-342-9800. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4-10 p.m. daily.

Lt. Robert E. Lee Riverboat, 100 S. Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd. (St. Louis riverfront)

And if you do have kids, by all means bring them down for a meal, maybe a root-beer float, and a unique opportunity to connect with the local heritage. As time passes, maybe they'll remember it as fondly as I do.

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