Who remembers the hullabaloo created by the 1985 reopening of Union Station? For a couple of years, it was the hottest place in town. Visiting was like going to the zoo: Parking was a challenge, but entrance was free and there were many interesting things to see and do.
Among the restaurants was Fedora Café & Bar. It might have been the first St. Louis spot to serve Modern American cuisine. The menu caused more than one diner to do a double-take. (Who’d ever heard of rare duck, served with ginger in the sauce?) It represented a mixture of influences, delivered under the auspices of the newly arrived chef, a guy named Bill Cardwell. We would hear quite a bit more from him in the decades to follow.
Despite its casual setting and reasonable prices, it soon became clear that Fedora represented Serious Food. And it was no secret: Nationally known chefs and authors held demonstrations and book signings there.
Eventually, though, financial problems in the Gilbert/Robinson chain’s headquarters ended the fun. Still, Fedora’s influence remains.