It feels like forever since my last ‘Chicago Eats’ post!
And so many of you have reached out asking for more restaurant recommendations — especially during these cold months — that it’s a shame I haven’t done one already this year.
But in a way, it’s serendipitous since today’s restaurant is a special one.
Special in that you-must-run-here-to-eat-immediately sort-of way.
Special in that Saint Lou’s Assembly sort-of way.
Saint Lou’s Assembly is far from Chicago’s newest restaurant, having opened its doors in summer 2016.
But it’s a new-to-me restaurant that I recently discovered and have been kicking myself for not exploring sooner. And if you haven’t been, take my advice and head there today. For lunch or dinner.
I’ll meet you, mmmmm k?
Because Saint Lou’s Assembly has all the components to a good, no-frills meal in the Loop:
— a nostalgic, all-pleasing menu
— killer decor (70’s cafeteria-meets-hipster-millennial)
— a spacious patio to enjoy in summer
— cocktails and floats
— friendly staff
It all adds up to create one helluvah experience — just try and look at these photos without drooling!
You can’t miss Saint Lou’s Assembly, thanks to the two-story yellow billboard advertising it’s location.
And if there’s one thing bright building-sized billboards indicate, it’s fun!
And from the moment you step in you’ll feel like you’re going to have fun.
There are plenty of cozy, nostalgic booths to snuggle into.
And a vibe that feels like a hipster caferteria in the homey-iest, coziest way.
The old-school menu board brings me right back to elementary school!
In the back there’s a spacious patio that I’ll definitely be exploring more this summer (I hear they do s’mores and game nights out here in the warmer months!).
But for now, let’s eat!
First things first: order a FLOAT.
Saint Lou’s always has at least two on the menu: a rootbeer and a seasonal. I ended up trying the Fanta float and it brought me right back to childhood after just one sip.
SHOP MARKUS LUPFER SWEATERS:
Gigi tried the lavender lemonade which coincidentally coordinated beautifully with her outfit and mani!
Those who know me know that when oysters are on the menu, they are non-negotiable. I MUST order them.
You can always tell a good restaurant from how they treat this beautifully simple ingredient.
And luckily Saint Lou’s did not disappoint!
Our oysters were plump, juicy, and beautiful when drizzled with some of Saint Lou’s hot sauce!
And the rest of our order was just as delicious!
I always feel the need to over-order on my first visit to a restaurant. How else am I to truly get a feel for their cuisine if I don’t try more than one dish?
That’s why I’m so grateful to have friends who love food as much as I do and who are just as eager to try as many dishes as possible!
Gigi, Starr and I always order half the menu whenever we go out (for the photos but more importantly for our tummies!) and share — it’s a great way to experience a few dishes without overeating (too much).
And we had quite a spread for our lunch!
I opted for Saint Lou’s Meat-And-Three. Just like an old-school cafeteria you choose your meat (I opted for the seared diver scallops) and three sides to go along.
It’s a simple concept but a delicious one! These seared scallops were cooked to perfection and beautifully complimented the kimchi collard greens they were served on.
I tried a simple side salad too (which was beautifully dressed),
and what was probably my favorite dish of our entire meal: the mac ‘n cheese.
Now a cafeteria mac ‘n cheese from school days? The thought is enough to send most people running.
But luckily Saint Lou’s offering is a much more delicious, adult version.
And quite possibly the best mac ‘n cheese I’ve yet had in Chicago!
Starr opted for another winner: Saint Lou’s famous grilled cheese.
I had heard about this grilled cheese quite a bit — if you’re a foodie in Chicago, it was hard to ignore.
EVERYONE kept talking about it.
And after one bite, I completely understand why. This grilled cheese is childhood nostalgia in a sandwich.
But in a very grown-up, gourmand sort-of way.
It’s addicting, delicious, and totally worth the trip in it’s own right.
(The waffle fries are heavenly too!)
Gigi opted for one of our waiter’s favorite dishes: The Steak Sandwich with umami aioli, coca-cola onions, and parmesan.
Which she loved and highly recommends for anyone who loves steak!
For a side, we ordered the biscuit basket… another must-try!
Not only were these biscuits beautifully fluffy…
But they were absolutely divine drizzled in honey butter!
Okay, now I’m really getting hungry…
But the culminating moment when I decided Saint Lou’s Assembly was my new favorite spot in the Loop wasn’t until our dessert came.
My friend Sandy has been raving about the soft serve ice cream at Saint Lou’s for what feels like FOREVER! And it did not disappoint!
We were lucky enough to try their fruity pebbles cereal ice cream which not only brought me back to my beloved Milk Bar cereal ice cream in NYC but also managed to be the best bite of ice cream I’ve yet taken in 2019.
From the fun decor to the inventive yet comfy menu to the killer soft serve, this spot will definitely be one of my favorites for years to come.
Well played, Saint Lou’s Assembly. Well played.