86 the Banana Split

Soda Fountain Square ain't a real diner, hon

Even the basics at Soda Fountain Square are screwy. The flip-pad menus are confoundingly laid out so that the top sheets face upside-down. This necessitates repeatedly turning the menu 180 degrees in order to take it all in. That's frustrating, though evidently not as frustrating as it must be to wait on customers there. Two servers (one working the floor, the other at the counter) took it upon themselves to complain to me about how busy and/or tired they were. Perhaps it's no coincidence that, during those two visits, I waited an interminably long time for service.

Faux real: Soda Fountain Square turns an American classic into a glossy gimmick.
Jennifer Silverberg
Faux real: Soda Fountain Square turns an American classic into a glossy gimmick.

Location Info


Soda Fountain Square

1801 Park Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63104-2534

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Louis - Soulard


1415 S 18th St
St. Louis, MO 63104

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Lafayette Square


Tuna melt $7.95
Chicken and dumplings $20
Co-ed banana split $4.25

1801 Park Avenue; 314-241-0099. Hours: 6:30 a.m.-midnight Tue.-Thu., 6:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 a.m. -9 p.m. Sun.

Yet, even as I recall the tableau at the counter, me and my fellow customers hunched dejectedly, our countenances glazed-over masks of defeat, I sense a glimmer of hope. Maybe it's because the woman behind Soda Fountain Square, Bethany Budde, put Lafayette Square back on the dining-destination map when she opened the wonderful SqWires in the former Western Wire Products factory a few years ago. Maybe it's the gleaming rows of milkshake-mixing chalices lined up behind Soda Fountain Square's soda fountain, standing proud and optimistic. Or maybe it's just me, irretrievably in love with diners — and possibly, even "diners."

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