Lester's Restaurant and Sports Bar is suburban St. Louis portrayed as a restaurant. I imagine that back in the mid-2000's, a group of rich St. Louisans were having a dinner party where they were discussing their finances, sweater vests and vacation homes. One of them put down his glass of Johnnie Walker Blue and said, "Gosh-dangit, guys. It sure would be swell if there was a nice, clean place nearby we could go have a drink, watch the game and casually discuss our wealth." "Well, shoot! That's a darn good idea," bellowed his friend. "What if it was just like our houses too? It should be huge! With a bar full of every liquor known to man, most of which no one will ever drink! And the walls will be covered in expensive sports memorabilia and HD TVs! Yes, yes, this is it!"
So that's the setting of Lester's overall (there are three locations; I was at the one in Ladue). The front section of the restaurant is a large bar where you can often find 50-year old men wearing Vineyard Vines vests hanging out together. Why do they all own that vest? They don't seem to notice that they are all matching. Maybe it's a required uniform once you reach a certain age with a certain amount of wealth. It's a mystery to this guy.
The back section is the main restaurant, with booths lining the sides and plenty of tables in the middle. There's also a semi-separated back area where larger group dinners can be held.
After a long and busy day at work, followed by an embarrassing display of weakness at the gym, I was exhausted and disgruntled. I wanted to eat somewhere close to home, relatively fast and have it be above average on the taste meter. Lester's is good for that. Their menu is an upgraded version of a typical sports bar or deli menu, including: corned beef sandwiches, nachos, chicken wings, salads and BBQ meats.
In the years they've been open, I haven't drifted around the menu too much. The deli and BBQ bites are what I go for. If you're in the mood to eat such a huge amount of meat that your sweat makes dogs drool (and your significant other do the opposite), go for the Corned Beef or Pastrami "sandwich". I say "sandwich" because the meat to bread ratio is so crazy that I don't even see the point to the bread. Maybe if you can unhinge your jaw like a snake and eat, then it's a sandwich.
We got the Pulled Chicken sandwich($9.95) which came with coleslaw and baked beans. This is one of my staples, particularly if I'm not feeling too hungry. The chicken, all dark meat, comes out juicy with a hint of smoke. Top that off with some of Lester's tabletop BBQ sauces (sweet or spicy) and you're good to go. Sometimes I go wild and mix them together. The sides are good as well; the beans are smokey and sweet and the slaw is creamy. That pickle is something special though. I love it.
I got the Smoked, BBQ glazed half chicken ($12.50) for my main because my workout left me in dire need of protein. Plus, it doesn't get much manlier than to order half an animal for your dinner.
The chicken was pretty much what you'd expect from a smoked chicken at any BBQ joint, which is to say it was tasty smoked chicken. I really don't have much more about it to say. Almost every grocery in St. Louis has a smoker now, so if you don't feel like eating in public, you could buy a chicken that tastes just as good at your local Dierberg's, then go home and eat it in sweatpants while you watch The Millionaire Matchmaker (but you'll tell everyone at work you watched "the game").
Lester's is good, especially if you're looking for a place that has a lot of options for pretty low prices. It's fun to go to for a game, since chances are you won't be able to get into Sportsman's Park across the street. It's just nothing particularly special. If any local restaurant chain were to become a big national chain (think Chili's), it would be Lester's.
Ladue, MO 63124