National Ice Cream Month Highlight – Fountain on Locust

Wednesday July 10, 2013

“Wow! We’ll be back!”

Those exact words ran through our mind as we glanced back at the storefront of Fountain on Locust leaving the restaurant after our first visit.

How many times have you said that about a new restaurant, really? We can’t recall the last time we did.

So why will we be back? In a nutshell–great food, unique atmosphere, outstanding service, good prices. These days it’s hard to find all four of those in one place. It’s no wonder Fountain has garnered a boatload of awards from publications like the Riverfront Times, Yelp and St. Louis Magazine.

But we’ll tell you a secret. Sure, those are good, solid left-brained–that’s the side of the brain that makes decisions based on logic and established facts–reasons to return.

But we’re unabashedly letting our emotions rule when it comes to the real reason we’ll return to Fountain—for the ice cream!

Only one word describes Fountain’s ice cream desserts AND martinis–H-E-A-V-E-N-L-Y!

First off, we have to say Fountain’s menu can be a bit overwhelming, so take your time. There’s a whole page of ice cream martinis alone–and three pages of ice cream treats! So many luscious choices, so small a stomach to fill (relatively speaking, of course).

On our first visit we knew we had to try one of Fountain’s heralded signature ice cream martinis–but which one? There are 29 (!) on the menu. Each holds a special appeal, not the least of which is their unique names. Love Potion No. 9? Who wouldn’t be intrigued, especially with this description: “If you think peanut butter and jelly tastes sexy, you’re right.” But this is no kiddie PBJ. It’s made with “Chambord, Frangelico and Vanilla Deluxe ice cream.”

Since we’re partial to strawberries–and Fountain uses only fresh ingredients and makes everything it serves except the ice cream and marshmallow topping from scratch on site–we leaned toward the Strawberry Blonde (vanilla vodka, crème de cacao and strawberry ice cream).

But at the last minute, we wanted something with a clear regional tie. Voilà! The Great Mississippi Mudslide! Smart move! It’s coffee liqueur, Irish cream and Vanilla Deluxe ice cream garnished with an Oreo cookie, and almost too beautiful to drink.

We immediately took a shot of this beautiful concoction with our phone and sent it to a friend in California with three letters in the subject line: OMG!! Said friend texted right back asking if it was too late to order another one and have it Fed Exed to her.

All we can say is the Mississippi Mudslide was–heavenly indeed! Chocolaty and creamy with just the right amount of liquor, it was beyond delicious–our most memorable alcohol drink ever. As much as we want to try the other luscious ice cream martinis on the menu next time, we have a sneaking suspicion we’ll go with the Mudslide again. It’s hard to argue with great libation memories!

Also on the menu: seasonal and classic retro cocktails, beers, wines and “mocktails” for the young and non-drinkers.

Plus, the Fountain has, well, a fountain–a real soda fountain that is. That means you can experience old-fashioned phosphates (AKA Italian sodas), real shakes and malts, egg creams and other ice cream specialties including our favorite–the old-fashioned ice cream soda.

If you’re a purist, Fountain’s dozen flavors are also served in a cup or cone. Someone cleverly added “the world’s smallest ice cream cone” to the menu so you can try a half dozen flavors if you want.

Owner Joy Grdnic Christensen says the secret to Fountain’s amazing ice cream is that it’s from the only dairy in the country that ages its product. “You can really tell the difference,” she says. “It brings out the flavor in the ice cream. It’s rich, creamy and flavorful. We think it’s the best in the United States.”

While Fountain’s ice cream concoctions are a sensational draw, the food is outstanding too. Just as the drink/dessert menus demand tough choices with many appealing options, the food menu presents the same problem. Items are mainly soups, salads and sandwiches but you couldn’t ask for a better selection. Sides include the St. Louis City Salad, orange onion cup, spicy carrots and hand-cut seasoned potato chips. Also offered are daily specials and scratch-made soups including the restaurant’s signature Polish dill pickle soup.

Fountain is located in a building constructed in 1916 along what was Locust Street’s “Automotive Row.” It was a showroom for the Supreme Car Co., which sold the top-of-the-line Stutz Blackhawk and Stutz Bearcat, high performance sports sedans of the time.

Christensen pays tribute to the building’s past with the names of dishes such as the Stutz salad and the Blackhawk, a beef sandwich.

A syndicated radio comedian, Christensen is a woman of many talents. She not only designed and painted the restaurant’s fabulous art deco murals, she also made the lampshades hanging in the dining room.

For an extra dose of fun, sit in one of the booths and listen to the radio comedy serial “Soap Hospital” chronicling the escapades of Dr. John and Nurse Jennifer. There’s a new episode every two minutes.

A popular special event is Fountain’s Bingo Burlesque on the first Thursday of each month.

For a true only-in-St.-Louis experience, stop by Fountain on Locust. But be prepared for some tough menu decisions. And be prepared for a return visit. That’s the only way to try more of Fountain’s amazing array of delicious offerings.

To view our top spots to celebrate National Ice Cream Month click here.

Guest Blogger Kathie Sutin a freelance writer from St. Louis, Missouri contributed this blog.

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