With New Owners, The Fountain on Locust Remains a St. Louis Institution

Friday October 14, 2022
Photo by Michael Kilfoy

By Rachel Huffman

Danni and Marcus “Ike” Eickenhorst are celebrating their one-year anniversary as the proud owners of The Fountain on Locust.

The home of the ice cream martini, The Fountain on Locust is a St. Louis staple and the perfect place to dine before a night out in the Grand Center Arts District.

Here, Danni dishes about new menu items that appeal to a wider range of palates – plus, the recipes that she’s promised to never change.

The Fountain on Locust_Danni and Marcus “Ike” Eickenhorst
Marcus “Ike” and Danni Eickenhorst | Photo by Michael Kilfoy

What does The Fountain on Locust bring to the St. Louis dining scene?

It’s a St. Louis institution. If you’re attending a performance at The Fabulous Fox or spending the night with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, The Fountain on Locust takes your experience to the next level. We have from-scratch dishes that are simple yet satisfying, paired with extravagant desserts and ice cream martinis. The space itself, with its Art Deco design, is unforgettable, as well. What might be just a nice meal out becomes a singular experience at The Fountain on Locust. We were voted “Best Place to Bring Out-of-Towners,” and I think it’s because of the experience from start to finish.

How will you uphold traditions while adding your own touches to The Fountain on Locust?

We’re fortunate to have Joy Grdnic Christensen, the founder of The Fountain on Locust, as a friend, and she’s been a sounding board for us whenever we make decisions about the business. Luckily, a lot of customers have also been forthcoming with their opinions, sharing what they love about The Fountain on Locust. We understand that the homestyle dishes mean a lot to people, but we aim to slowly add options for elegance. This month, we’re rolling out a new fall menu with more date-night dishes, such as airline chicken. We’ll continue to expand that area of the menu, in addition to shareables, since patrons usually come here with a date or a group.

So, what kind of feedback did you get from guests? What do they love about The Fountain on Locust?

“Don’t mess with the pickle soup!” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that. They love the elevated comfort food like the Royal Grille [a grilled cheese geared towards adults], and they’ve also shown interest in smaller portions so that they have room for dessert. A growing number of our guests are also vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. We’re going to keep all of that in mind as we experiment in the kitchen.

The Fountain on Locust_Sandwich
Photo by Michael Kilfoy

Walk me through the ultimate dining experience at The Fountain on Locust.

First, I would say, make sure that you have a reservation, especially if there’s a performance that night. Then, if it was up to me, I would start with shareables, such as the Greek sliders [three gourmet sliders with grilled chicken, tzatziki, red onion, spinach and a Kalamata olive-Feta spread]. My go-to entrée is the Birdseed Salad, which is also a huge hit amongst customers. [Featuring mixed greens, mixed nuts, sunflower and pepita seeds, Fuji apples, Parmesan and a brûléed apple slice with poppyseed-white balsamic vinaigrette], it’s filling but still light enough that you’ll have room for dessert. Personally, I cap it off with a dessert that’s literally called Huzzah! Something Danni Can Eat [a vegan and gluten-free ice cream sundae with creamy vanilla bean ice cream, raspberry sauce, toasted almonds and candied orange]. My favorite cocktail – no matter what I’m eating – is the T.S. Eliot [a seasonal trademark with Pinckney Bend gin, Big O ginger liqueur, Chartreuse and lemon juice].

The Stardust Room at The Fountain on Locust is now open. Tell me more about that space.

The Stardust Room is our upstairs speakeasy. It’s a small event space, which can hold approximately 30 people. During theater season, it’s also open on Friday and Saturday evenings for people looking for a different experience. We serve a separate menu of elevated cocktails and ice cream martinis that you can’t get downstairs. I describe the décor as Art Deco at night; it’s meant to feel like you’re stepping into a speakeasy.

The Fountain on Locust_Ice Cream Cones
Photo by Michael Kilfoy

In your opinion, why is St. Louis one of the best food cities in the U.S.?

St. Louis has a unique blend of innovation, which is fueled by the amazing talent that the city attracts, and established multigenerational restaurants, which bring history, tradition and family stories to the local food scene. Most cities can’t offer both.

You also co-own Steve’s Hot Dogs, but when you’re not working, how do you spend your free time?

If it’s a nice day, I like to hop on my bike and hit Grant’s Trail. I live in Webster Groves, so I also spend a lot of time at the restaurants there. I love The Clover & The Bee for breakfast; it has an amazing gluten-free, dairy-free poppyseed cake that my son and I get almost every week. My family and I just love exploring Old Webster on foot.

In addition to serving delectable dishes and drinks, The Fountain on Locust is collaborating with the arts organizations and businesses in the area, and Danni recommends keeping an eye on Midtown. “We’ve got some big things coming down the pipeline,” she says. “There’s just so much energy in this part of St. Louis.”

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