Husband and wife Paul Jovanovich and Teresa Copnnolly. She is the owner of Pat's Bar & Grill,
which still has the McDermott's sign up from the former owner. Pat's is on Oakland Ave.
Photo by Larry Willlams/Post-Dispatch.
The Cardinals, along with their other major-league rivals, spent six weeks at spring training preparing for the season. Well, aging, overweight softball players need spring training, too -- so off I went.
No, not to Florida, but to Pat's, where our championship softball team goes every Thursday after victory in nearby Forest Park - and as far as I'm concerned, training for post-game activities is just as important as training for the game itself.
Practice is important, and since we're a team with a tradition of winning, we practice being gracious in victory and hungry for whatever follows.
Pat's, which used to be called McDermott's, is a classic St. Louis tavern, non-steam table division. The late, lamented Garavelli's on Olive Street retired the trophy in the steam table division, but there still are other contenders around town. Those who neither play softball nor love softball players sometimes have problems at Pat's; the noise level is sometimes rather high in the postgame period, and while there are no banners to wave, nor alma maters to sing, there are victories to celebrate, defeats to mourn, umpires to excoriate.
Lunch time is not softball time at Pat's, however, when it's a nifty place for a quick meal and a little conversation. Pat's is at 6400 Oakland Avenue at Tamm Avenue.
The nearby hospitals provide some of the clientele, zoo-bound or zoo-weary families make up some and there seems to be a good-sized collection of several-times-a-week regulars.
My favorite dish at Pat's is the fried chicken livers, which are exceptional. They're fresh, and freshly battered, and cooked so that they remain juicy and tender inside, rather than dried out and leathery, which happens to too many fried chicken livers. In addition, they come with a peppery, horse-radishy sauce for dipping (it's the same sauce that comes with the fried shrimp).
Fried catfish and fried chicken also are fresh and tasty. So are the wings, which are simply fried, not Buffalo style, but are good to pass around the table.
Chicken-fried steak is of classic stature, chewy, slightly greasy and in need of gravy. On a recent visit it was brown instead of white (the gravy, that is), and adequate, but not as good as white. Hamburgers are good, and brain sandwiches are available.
If it appears that frying is the favorite cooking technique at Pat's, well, tuna fish is satisfactory, and so is chili, and both a club sandwich and a poor boy appear on the menu.
And on a spring day, the zoo is right across the highway, perfect for walking off the effects of the meal.
Lunch is an inexpensive treat at Pat's. The chicken livers, for example, are $2.95, and the wings are $3.25. Catfish or chicken, with fries and slaw, are $4.75. A hamburger is $1.30, chili a nickel more, brain and onion sandwich is $1.95. Tuna salad also is $1.95. MasterCard and Visa are accepted.
ODDS AND ENDS
There's a small-town, friendly feel at Pat's. Waitresses tend to call the customers, "Hon," and deal dishes from the arm because there isn't room for trays. Sports gets big play on the television set, and right outside is the vast expanse of Forest Park, ready for use.
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