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For the last 28 years, brothers Dan and Tim Badock co-owned and ran Soulard's, the restaurant with a Creole-inflected menu at the corner of South Seventh Street & Lafayette Avenue. Their mom, dad, and sister started Soulard's in '77, and they took over in '84.
Then, along came a lil' bugaboo known as the recession.
"We got to the point where we had to change it up, because of economics," said Dan Badock. "When we were down at Soulard's together, we were feeding two families out of one place for a long time; it had to change."
There's a case to be made here that some of the strictures imposed by the economy are actually our gain -- last May, Dan packed his bags, crossed the Missouri River, and bought Lewis and Clark's restaurant on Historic Main Street in St. Charles from Bob Kirkwood (who also owns Trailhead Brewing Co., just down the road).
The recently renovated Lewis and Clark's occupies three stories of a 150-year-old building, and features a balcony (right) that seats 40, with views of the River.
Badock is still in the process of tweaking the menu.
"We've added a peppered-beef tenderloin filet (below left)," said Badock. "We added some seasoning to the prime rib, and a red chili to complement the white-chicken chili already on the menu. We've also changed some of sauces – the mahi mahi (below right) now gets a chipotle-cilantro butter, and the teriyaki-grilled salmon gets a Sriracha cream sauce."
Badock has brought over some dishes from the Soulard's menu, though; a pork tenderloin with raspberry glaze (below left), and a bread pudding with whiskey sauce and fruit have been added to the choices. The Lewis and Clark's house salad now uses that sweet vinegar-and-oil dressing with bits of crumbled Parmesan familiar to Soulard's fans (Soulard's sells it by the bottle).
A dessert also imported from the Soulard's menu, "Amish cheese pie" (above right) is a Badock family recipe.
"It's a real light cheesecake, and it's my mom's recipe," he said. "It's actually gluten-free because it's crustless. It has cream cheese, eggs, almond extract, and a topping of sweet-sour cream and house-made raspberry sauce." All desserts, in fact, are made in-house.
The white chili and the prime rib, along with the mud pie (left), are among the most popular dishes on the old Lewis and Clark's menu, said Badock, and had to stay.
"The customers demanded that the gumbo and red beans 'n rice remain on the menu, too," he added.
The beer taps currently feature craft brews like Ferguson Brewing Co.'s Pecan Brown Ale, Goose Island Honker's Ale, and New Belgium's Fat Tire Amber Ale.
"We'll be working on the wine list in January," Badock added.
Crossing the bridge into St. Charles County shouldn't be such a big deal, but it seems for many of us, married to routine, the thriving restaurant and bar scene along Main Street in St. Chuck is largely a foreign land.
"I think we probably have two-thirds St. Charles County customers, one-third St. Louis County and City customers," Badock estimated.
Lewis and Clark did some exploring, we hear -- maybe we should, too...
Food photography courtesy of Douglas Gealy
Lewis and Clark's
217 S. Main
Lunch and dinner daily