Editor's Note: We returned to Fitz's nearly three years after I wrote this review and I found the service to be much better. They have also hired a professional balloon maker who is very sweet and talented. The monkeys both kept busy with complimentary crayons and an activity sheet. I was surprised to read how spicy my food was on our first trip because I found everything a little bland on our second! Also of note, kids (12 and under) eat free at Fitz's all day on Tuesdays now. (2 per adult.) Photos from 2009, review from 2006.
St. Louis, Missouri
The night before we left for St. Louis, Warren’s girlfriend told us about a place called Fitz’s that is famous for brewing its own root beer right inside the restaurant and seems to be pretty kid friendly. After our experience at Caleco’s, we were happy to have an insider’s tip.
Fitz’s is in a neighborhood called “The Loop” which is pretty funky and had a Cooper-Young vibe to it. We totally scored a parking spot in Fitz’s tiny lot when we noticed a hipster pulling out. The restaurant was packed and in order to speed things up, we agreed to sit on the patio, which was also pretty packed. We had a (unbussed) table right next to the sidewalk with a great view of the nightlife. Our waiter came right over to tell us he’d be with us in about five minutes.
Warren and I started studying the very large menu while Satchel (age 4) and Jiro (age 2)soaked in the atmosphere. There was a very large selection of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, etc. Warren (of course) decided on some fancy burger and I opted for the buffalo chicken wrap. Fitz’s had a kids menu with the usual items—hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, etc. Satchel said he wanted a hamburger and Jiro said, “Hoddog.” The entire time we were deciding, I listened to our waiter chat up the couple at the next table (who appeared to have just moved to town) out of one ear and a crazy dude on a nearby park bench out of the other. While it was obvious that our waiter longed to be a tour guide, it was equally clear that the crazy dude missed his calling as a sportscaster. He sat there and narrated Jiro’s every move. “He’s standing up, he’s going for the spoon, he’s going to throw it, ooh yeah, there he goes!” (It was actually pretty entertaining.)
When our waiter finally turned his attention to us, he informed us that Fitz’s not only brews their own root beer, they brew their own orange, grape, strawberry, and cream soda, and that you can have as many different flavors as you want on refills at no extra charge. This news excited everyone at the table, especially Jiro, who could live on liquids alone if given the choice. (Okay, liquids and cheese.)
Once we got our order in and started on our sodas, the crazy dude wandered off and was replaced with what I can only describe as an urban clown. He sat on the bench and commenced making balloon animals much to the delight of the monkeys. I was impressed that he didn’t immediately hit us up to buy one, but I soon learned that he was too smart for that. He casually started up a (one sided) conversation with Jiro which ended in, “If your mom says it’s okay, then I’ll make one for you too.”
Meanwhile our waiter/tour guide came barreling through the patio and dropped a bowl of salsa on the ground right next to me. (Luckily none of it splashed on me, but no one ever came to clean it up and for the remainder of the meal I was on high alert waiting for one of the monkeys to run through it and cover themselves in tomato chunks.) By the time our food arrived, the clown had made a flying dragon for Satchel, a monkey for Jiro, and a killing off of me. (We paid $2 for each animal plus $5 for a picture which didn’t turn out.)
The kids' meals came in little paper holders that looked like cars (Studebakers, I think). This was a big hit with the monkeys, as were the smiley face French fries. Warren seemed pleased with his burger and my wrap was good, but spicy. Like too spicy to eat. The buffalo chicken was extremely hot on its own and then was topped with spicy ass salsa. I asked for some ranch dressing to try and cool it off, but it didn’t work. Eventually I convinced Warren to switch dinners with me and even he thought it was too spicy.
The entire time Satchel was eating he kept talking about wanting a sundae. There had been several pictures of desserts on the menu and he wanted one of each. When he made a “happy plate” (in this case a “happy car”), I asked the waiter if he could bring each of the monkeys a scoop of ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Even though this wasn’t technically on the menu, the waiter was very cool about getting it together anyway. (By this time, I was wearing Satchel’s flying dragon on my head to keep it from blowing away and I looked like a total idiot.)
We didn’t really get a chance to check out the actual bottling going on inside and I didn’t even realize that there was an adult area upstairs with a pool table and bar, but we all left Fitz’s in good spirits and full of soda. We walked up and down Delmar and did some window shopping. (It was Sunday night so everything was closed.) I counted five different Thai restaurants that I want to eat at on my next visit, Warren stared at a leather sofa through one window and reminded me again of how much he hates the sofas I bought without his consent (while heavily pregnant with his firstborn), and the monkeys salivated outside a urban/punk baby store that had a window full of cool and unusal toys.
On the drive home, instead of falling asleep so we could carry them up to bed, the monkeys sat in the backseat gleefully popping their balloons and tearing their paper cars into tiny little bits. “There was a fire and it made the cars blow up,” Satchel explained.