Blogs are great for many things but the written record they leave behind has helped me on more than one occasion. A while back, I wrote another post on my quest for the holy grail of BBQ and Mr. Sherman, as he has done a time or two before, left in the comments the name of another place I should try out. Although my memory wasn't good enough to remember that fact, my wife's memory was and so I searched out and found the comment to officially put Phil's BBQ of St. Louis on our itinerary during our recent mini-vacation. I'm glad I did though for reasons other than the food.
The food was excellent though not in the running under my definition of what the holy grail of BBQ would taste like. Despite the picture of my plate above, I won't go into detail about it though I would recommend it to others who happen to be in the area along with Pappy's Smokehouse which is the top runner in my quest so far. Rather I would like to expound upon the dinning experience which was unlike any I have ever had.
By design, we pulled into the parking lot around 1:30 on a weekday so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We found a seat in a corner booth up front and soon an old lady came over to pass out menus and take our drink order. By take, I mean she pointed her pencil at each one of us in turn until we told her what we wanted to drink. She never said one word.
After she left, my wife and I exchanged glances over the encounter and we were both in agreement that the old waitress had seemed incredibly rude. There wasn't a greeting of any sort, nor a smile, just a stabbing gesture with her pencil. She soon came back with our drinks and it was then when I began to suspect that I had made a serious error in judgement. This time she was smiling, especially at my daughter, as she gave us our drinks. She then proceeded to take our orders in a similar manner as our drinks. However, it was soon clear when someone asked her a question that she couldn't speak. So I quickly took over and asked our guests dining with us the questions I knew from experience the old waitress was wanting to ask but couldn't. She smiled with appreciation and walked off to hand our ticket to the cooks.
The meal went smoothly though there were a couple rounds of an abbreviated form of twenty questions with the old waitress at a couple of points. The owner of the restaurant came over to talk with us and he turned out to be Phil's son and was happy to learn that we came clear from Iowa just to eat at his place because it had been recommended to us. After that, I probably could have asked for a 5 gallon bucket of BBQ for the road and he would have given it to me free of charge. The old waitress, I'm assuming was Phil's wife and the mother of the owner, came over once more to give my daughter a sucker our of a big jar which really made my daughter happy though my daughter inquired later why she couldn't speak. I told her that it was because she'd had a bad daughter who had caused her to scream so much she lost her voice. It made an impression because later my daughter said she would always be a good girl so I don't lose my voice too.
This was my first experience around a mute waitress and whenever I talk with the owners telling them that I came from a long way on a recommendation, the stop is always memorable. I'm glad I stopped in and I probably will do so again in the future when I'm in the area. Until then, the quest for the holy grail of barbecue lives on.
My Wife's Plate