SANDWICH REVIEW #4: Chris’ Pancake & Dining

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But, if you’re like me, you may not be the most comfortable around egg mixers, stoves and skillets.

Yes, it’s true. I am a lousy cook. Ask any of my former roommates and they’ll tell you — if it can’t be made on a George Foreman grill or brought to the front door, then I ain’t making it. Perhaps this is why I forgo a good, solid breakfast so often. And, perhaps this is why I can appreciate a solid slab of meat between two pieces of bread.

My friends, I write to you this Sunday evening to say that sometimes you can have it all. Sometimes you strike gold in the most unexpected places.

Chris’ Pancake and Dining is somewhat of a St. Louis institution. Chris’ and the other member Bartolino’s Restaurants put a premium on quality and they like to keep things simple, as evidenced by their motto: Cook good food and give plenty. I would say they have kept true to their word, as they have been delivering high-quality dining experiences in St. Louis for nearly 60 years.

Settled at the corner of Southwest Avenue and Watson Road in the beautiful Clifton Heights neighborhood, Chris’ has been a longtime favorite brunch destination after Sunday mass for several local families — including my own. Find yourself in the lobby at 12:30 p.m. on a Sunday and you’re likely waiting for a table to open up. Clamoring, laughter and the ‘ding-ding’ of silverware against glass and china fill the room. Nine times out of ten you will see Chris Saracino himself, or his wife Joanie, seating tables. Alongside the benches in the waiting area you will find coffee and butterscotch cookies, which I would guess are more addicting than crack cocaine. This cozy breakfast eatery, however, serves up a sandwich even more satisfying than its butterscotch treats.

Vendor: Chris’ Pancake & Dining (Southwest location)

Sammie: The Chris’andwhich

Bread: Croissant

Dine-In/Carryout: Carryout

Ingredients:

  • Fried Egg
  • Sausage Patty
  • American Cheese
  • Hash browns (On side)

Tasting Notes

What I particularly like about Chris’ is that its menu contains the breakfast essentials done extremely well, with a bit of Italian influence sprinkled in (i.e. Sicilian omelette.) The Chris’andwich takes everything you love about breakfast and smacks it all together. I will add the disclaimer here that unfortunately I was a bit pressed for time, as legit journalists say, on this Saturday morning. Therefore I had to take this sammie on the run and eat it in my car, but to my delight it did not disappoint.

The egg was prepared just how I like ’em — not runny and not too dry. The sausage patty may have been a bit larger than what you’d typically find on your breakfast plate. It tasted a little smoky to me, and unmistakably seasoned to perfection like all of my prior meals at Chris’ have been. My slice of dairy was a bed of melty goodness that complimented the slightly-spicy sausage and egg perfectly. Why do I not eat breakfast again?

chris
As stated earlier, I had to take my sammie on the run. This photo is from Yelp.

I’ve been asked frequently over these past few weeks what I consider the most when conducting my sandwich reviews. I give the same answer every time — it starts with the bread.

The croissant that held this beauty together was the meal’s MVP. Light, buttery, and delicately soft, the croissant made the sandwich for me from start to finish. It wasn’t particularly warm, which may have brought the entire experience down just a bit. Had I been able to sit at a table to enjoy and not devour it as I swerved through south city, I’m sure this note would have been rectified. Overall, this morning-time treat brought it very strong, and I will have again very soon.

Overall Rating: 4.3/5

 

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