Heath bars and blueberries sit side by side on the menu. Everyone is doing the unthinkable: flipping their dessert over to see if it in fact sticks to the cup. It is just another night at Ted Drewes in St. Louis. The sweet treat icon in the city has become world famous, so much so that people don’t mind waiting for their taste of frozen custard. If you need a way to cool off in the heat of America’s Midwest, consider meeting family and friends in St. Louis for a taste of Ted Drewes.
A Bit of History: If you ask anyone from St. Louis where to go for a sweet treat, they will most likely tell you Ted Drewes. The staple in the Missouri powerhouse has been selling not just frozen custard but also Christmas trees for years. Ted Sr. opened the first establishment in 1929 in Florida. He expanded to Natural Bridge in St. Louis and then on to the South Grand store in the city by 1931. Another Ted Drewes would open along the old Route 66 by 1941. While Ted Jr. frequently receives requests to franchise, he has declined in order to keep up the quality of the St. Louis icon.
The Custard: Many don’t know the difference between frozen custard and ice cream. Ted Drewes helps you understand instantly. One bite and you know you aren’t eating ice cream. The carnival treat from the turn of the century requires at least 10% butterfat and 1.4% egg yolk. What makes Ted Drewes frozen custard different from ice cream is the amount of air within the mixture known as overrun. While ice cream has 100% overrun, frozen custard only produces 20% overrun, giving it that silky smooth texture.
The Toppings: Ted Drewes doesn’t skimp on the toppings. Once you arrive at the tiny window, you will see a laundry list of topping options to add to your frozen custard mixture. From Abaco Mocha to Brownies, you can add loads of flavoring agents to the frozen custard for what Ted Drewes calls a concrete. It is so thick that the servers can hand it to you upside down and nothing falls out. Ted Drewes also features sundaes, cones, floats and sodas on the menu for those not hungry for concrete.
Location, Location, Location: While Ted Drewes used to have several locations in St. Louis, all that remains is the Chippewa and South Grand Locations. While the South Grand location is older, opened in 1931, the Chippewa tends to be more famous. That Ted Drewes sits along the old Route 66, making it a landmark stop.
Tips and Tricks: If you arrive to the two Ted Drewes locations in St. Louis on a weekend night, you will most likely be met with a line. While I contemplated whether the crowds were worth the wait for frozen custard, Ted Drewes keeps them moving. Even on the busiest of nights, you won’t have to wait longer that 15 minutes until you have your concrete mixture in hand. Also, be sure to flip your concrete over, the Ted Drewes’ way. It will stay suspended in your cup, the sweetest of miracles.
Photo: Suzy Guese
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