Union Loafers

I'd heard the rumors for nearly two years: Ted Wilson is going to open a bakery, they'd say. It's going to be by La Patisserie Chouquette and Olio, they'd whisper. Ted's bread is better than any bread you've had before, they assured me. Years went by and not once did I see this mysterious Ted Wilson, nor did I find his bread anywhere. I'd sit at Chouquette staring longingly at the empty shop across the street while Patrick and Simone consoled me with caneles and frangipane. I gave up hope. I moved on. I filled that calorific deficit with fried chicken.

Then the flood of texts and tweets came: Ted had appeared in our time of need, much like Jesus or Gandalf, and he had bread in tow. Union Loafers was here!

It took me 2 weeks to get over to Loafers—leave off Union, like the cool guys do—which gave my chef and 'foodie' (I hate that word) friends plenty of time to ridicule me for not going there immediately.

To be honest, I didn't rush because I just didn't see how a bakery and sandwich shop could be that good.

 union loafers st.louis interior

union loafers st.louis interior

 union loafers st.louis bar

union loafers st.louis bar

It is that good. I don't know what Ted (and Brian Lagerstrom, formerly of Niche) do to their bread, but they've got me carbo-loading like I've got a race to run.

 union loafers st.louis menu

union loafers st.louis menu

 union loafers st.louis bread

union loafers st.louis bread

 union loafers seasoning pork

union loafers seasoning pork

 union loafers chef ted wilson

union loafers chef ted wilson

 union loafers st.louis bakery

union loafers st.louis bakery

Loafers offers six bread options at the moment—I bought them all. I've never walked out of a bakery with a bag that not only was big enough to fit a toddler in, but weighed as much.  They also have a constantly evolving lunch menu made up of salad, soup, and sandwiches.

I had just watched Brian prepare a batch of pork for the oven in the back, so I had to go with the Roasted Pork Sandwich, served on a small ciabatta roll (ciabattini, son). It may sound like any sandwich you'd get at Panera or Whole Foods—roasted pork with country ham, gruyere cheese, pickles, mustard, and a garlic mayo—but it's not. It'd be like saying a Toyota is the same as an Aston Martin just because they both have wheels, doors, and an engine.

This is a lumberjack sized sandwich with meat piled up high. If you're new to eating sandwiches without processed meat or vegetables that had been vacuum sealed weeks before, you may be shocked at the wonderful flavors and textures, but don't be alarmed. This is what a ham sandwich should taste like.

Other sandwich offerings include turkey & swiss, ham & cheddar, smoked beets, and almond butter and raspberry jam. I got serious order envy seeing one of the nut butter sandwiches get delivered.

Of all my food weaknesses, few can compete with what happens when I'm near sweet, sweet carbs. In my earlier days as a fat youth, I'd come home from school and chowdown on a bagel or whatever bread we had in the house like there was no tomorrow. Coming home with pounds of bread and trying to hide it from myself had the same result.

First off, the Rye bread: organic whole rye, organic sifted wheat, caraway seeds (there's something about caraway that sings to my Jewish soul, much like Neil Diamond), sea salt and water. It's airy and hearty, screaming to be sliced and covered in some kind of meat. I felt myself morphing into a New York Jew as I ate this, looking for chopped liver or smoked tongue to put on.

The Light & Mild is what I'd describe as an everyday bread. It's base is nearly the same as the rye, just omitting the caraway and using whole wheat instead of rye, but that makes all the difference in the world. It's...well, lighter and milder.

Ciabatta is much less exciting than the other two to me, but still—tasty.

While the breads above are wonderful and perfectly suitable for expanding your waistline and thighs, the bakery's 'snacks' are much, much sexier. The comically sized pretzel didn't even make it home. I started eating it as soon as I walked out the door and by the time I walked in the door, I was just flicking the salt flakes off my shirt. It's soft. It's pretzely. It goes fantastically well with their housemade grain mustard. If they add a cheese sauce to the menu, I'll have to bring a change of pants with me every time I go.

The pizzas, formally known as pizza rosa and cheesy bread, give the pretzel a run for its money. I watched Ted make both as I slobbered on the floor of the bakery like a dog. He foolishly set them in front of me to let them cool. I had visions of just taking the whole pie (loaf? sheet?) and running out the door, but Ted seems like he's fit enough to catch me.

Pizza rosa is simple tomato and chili oil slice, while the cheesy bread is a lot like the breadsticks you get from Dominos/Papa Johns if they were fucking unreal. When I got home, I tried every bread. I cut myself a slice of the cheesy bread. I cut myself a slice of the rosa. I triumphantly put the cheesy bread in some tupperware and set it aside.

One hour later I snuck back downstairs and finished both the rosa and cheesy bread.

I've never been hungrier writing a post. Brb. Heading to Loafers.

Union Loafers

1629 Tower Grove Ave

St. Louis, MO 63110

314.833.6111