Hendel’s Market Cafe’ in Old Town Florissant, Mo started as a grocery and general store way, way back in 1873. The Hendel family bought the store in 1915 and continued to operate the location as a specialty grocery and butcher shop for the next 78 years.
In November, 1994, Ed Bennett bought the building and transformed it into a restaurant. In February, 2009, 700 square feet of space was added to expand the restaurant. Hendel’s has been considered one of the premier dining destinations in North St. Louis County for many years.
My wife and I paid our third overall visit to the restaurant last Friday. We have previously gone for diner and lunch once each. Each visit has been memorable. This time we were celebrating the birthday of a friend and colleague with two additional friends.
On previous visits, we have enjoyed the Salmon BLT, Spinach and Artichoke Dip and Raspberry Pork, among other dishes. This last visit, we tasted the Pulled Pork Pizza and Crab Stuffed Mushrooms as appetizers, and shared the Wedge Salad and BBQ Tacos. We followed up this abundant lunch with two desserts from Pastry Chef Lia; an intense Lemon Tart and Apple Bread Pudding. Both were amazing.
The Pulled Pork Pizza featured a flatbread topped with the pork, mozzarella cheese, chipotle aioli, caramelized onions and red peppers. The Mushrooms included herb cheese and garlic cream. They were very garlicky, but definitely in a pleasant way. Both dishes were great.
The Wedge Salad was actually hearts of Romaine lettuce topped with buttermilk ranch dressing, Bleu cheese, bacon, tomatoes, eggs and chives. The BBQ Tacos included the same pulled pork, which was very tender and favorable, BBQ sauce and slaw, and served on flour tortillas. My only criticism is that I think the tacos would be even better served on corn tortillas. Well-seasoned, crispy wedge potatoes were served on the side.
Service was attentive and crisp. Water, tea and Cokes were replenished before having to be requested. I was tempted to order one of the few wines offered by the glass, but opted for a caffeinated beverage. With all the food I consumed, even a little wine may have sent me back home for a nap, and we had a ballgame to get to.
I mentioned Chef Lia earlier because she has made it to the final round of TLC’s Next Great Baker, which airs on Tuesday evening. I admit I would not be aware of the show or the chef if it were not for that banner hanging over the restaurant’s porch out front. The restaurant is hosting a block party on Tuesday evening to celebrate Lia’s success. She will be present and signing autographs.
Heldel’s Market Cafe in located at 599 St. Denis St. in Florissant, MO. They are open for brunch on Sunday from 9-2, closed on Monday, and open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 11-9.