There Goes the Eruv

You'll dig the delightfully unorthodox (yet totally Orthodox) food at Shmeers

The catch of the day usually means trout, flounder or escolar -- a Gulf-caught fish sometimes referred to as "white tuna" and dubbed by Schwadron as "poor man's Chilean sea bass," though it's not related to either. Its texture is akin to marshmallows or tofu; its fine yet full-bodied flavor is almost caramel-like. In short, escolar's a fantastic fish, and reason alone to pay a visit.

Upon entering Shmeers, nothing much sticks out from the unimportant décor -- twelve tables, institutional gray carpet, self-serve coffee urns and soda dispensers lined up against one wall, buttercup-yellow paint job oddly bordered at the ceiling by a stripe of purple neon -- save the surprising amount of brand-food signage. The cookies are David's Cookies, the coffee is Seattle's Best (which is actually a subsidiary of Starbucks), and the soda fountains come from Coca-Cola, as do the cans of Tab -- Tab! -- found in the beverage cooler.

Flying in the face of the notion that small businesses must stay steadfast to local suppliers, Schwadron likes the signage, and he likes the marketing behind it. (He does, however, bake all of his desserts on-site, and he proudly sources out his pizza dough to nearby Pratzel's Bakery.) Schwadron's ultimate goal for Shmeers is to see it become "the kosher version of Applebee's. In order to be successful, the trend today is to go with a lot of branding, so I went with a lot of recognizable, signature items."

Higher calling: Gershon Schwadron dishes up delicious kosher meals -- and Tab!
Jennifer Silverberg
Higher calling: Gershon Schwadron dishes up delicious kosher meals -- and Tab!

Location Info

Map

Shmeers

8400 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63124-2109

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Ladue

Mai Lee Restaurant

8440 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63124-2109

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Ladue

Details

Taco salad $6.25
Spinach salad $6.25
Meatball sandwich $6.25
Escolar $11.95

314-991-2113. Hours: 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and 5:30- 8 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun. Open Sat. from an hour and a half after sunset to 1 a.m. (midnight in fall and winter)

8400 Delmar Boulevard, University City

Schwadron is currently having a trellis-roofed patio (with those misting atomizers popular in Vegas) installed out front. He's thinking about bringing in some live music for the patio toward the end of the summer, as well as adding espressos, lattes and Creamices (the Seattle's Best version of Frappuccinos) to the menu. A liquor license should be coming through soon, allowing Schwadron to start serving beer and wine in August. The restaurant is hooked up for wi-fi. He considers Shmeers to be "the great alternative" for breakfast, a competitor to downtown Clayton's First Watch outpost. He wants Shmeers to be an after-movie nosh spot on Saturday nights. He designed Shmeers to be franchised, which is his long-term goal.

For now, it is a casual, reliable neighborhood restaurant that is slowly but surely drawing in the vegetarians and the goyim alongside the Jews. Recently, Schwadron happily served a group of customers wearing "Jews for Jesus" T-shirts, and when some regulars made a fuss, Schwadron replied, "Their money is as green is yours."

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