It is 10:30 a.m., and the sun finally begins to force its way through the closed blinds and curtains on your window. As you wake up, you figure that since its not quite noon, you can still squeeze in some breakfast. But the cupboard is bare. All you can find are a few single-serve bags of flavored oatmeal and a half-eaten bag of off-brand fruit loops. What’s a seminarian to do? Gather up your spare change, find a few dollar bills you have stashed under your mattress and head out to breakfast. (After getting dressed, of course.)
But where to go? McDonald’s just won’t do. Instead, head south on Kingshighway to a place called “Uncle Bill’s.” You know you will have found it when you see the building that looks like it is out of a German village with an old neon sign with the martini glass. Yes, the martini glass for a breakfast joint. But this place is a St. Louis legend. Really. Uncle Bill’s was really started by a guy named Bill who was an uncle. It was then sold to a German family and now is owned by a couple of Asian men. All in all, its history is a testament to the hard work of American immigrants, but the food is a testimony to huge portions and cheap prices.
We found our way here because of the many times that it has shown up in Sauce Magazine and The Riverfront Times as a best place for pancakes/breakfast/morning food/etc. This reputation was then seconded by several locals who said this is the place for breakfast in St. Louis.
Upon entering, you will be shown to a table, and hopefully, someone will come to help you soon. (Service can get a little spotty; I’ve been known to find the water pitcher on occasion though Bethany highly discourages me from doing that again.) What to order? Well, breakfast is served anytime of the day and because you have been living off of flavored oatmeal and stale Fruit Loops, you need to find something substantial and hot.
Our three favorites are the pancakes, waffles, and omelets.
They are all great! The waffles and pancakes are these monstrosities that fill up entire plates with their size. If you want to splurge, you can get various things mixed in, but for the first-timer, I recommend getting them al fresco to enjoy what a real waffle or pancake tastes like.
Thick and fluffy and buttery, not flimsy like something out of the freezer box. For heartier appetites, there are the omelets. Just one will fill your plate and belly and make you wonder why you ever settled for a McOmelet. They come with all sorts of cheese, meat and vegetables.
Plus, unlike those fast food places that stop serving breakfast at 10 or 11 a.m. your favorite Uncle Bill will whip you up a fresh omelet or pancakes (or waffles for that matter) any time of the day or night. (They’re open 24-7!) So put away the stale Fruit Loops, avoid the McBreakfast urge, and head out to Uncle Bill’s for some filling and cheap breakfast any time of day.
(This article originally appeared in the September 2005 ATT)