It really was one of those serendipitous moments. We were driving back towards downtown St Louis we made an unexpected course change. Instead of turning where we had turned before, we continued straight.
My “hole in the wall, great food over there” radar went off all alarms blaring when we saw this place. It looked like a castoff from the 50’s diner scene, parked on a dingy street in downtown St Louis. Its unique facade beckoned our empty stomachs with its promise of greasy goodness.
The White Knight Diner looked like it had been unchanged since its installation, red vinyl covered stools lining the chrome plated countertop. The employees danced around each other in the tiny space, barely able to seat 10 people comfortably for lunch.
The heart of the diner was visible directly behind the counter, the grill top. The grill in a proper “greasy spoon” is never actually fully cleaned. This is purportedly where the deep, rich flavors come from in burgers served in these fine establishments.
I bit into my burger and I did not even pass a second thought onto the possible cleanliness issues as my tastebuds sang. Greasy hamburger meat covered in barbecue sauce, cheese, bacon and crisp iceberg lettuce was held by pleasantly squishy white bread. The grease melded all of the simple ingredients of the burger together in a way that made them more than the sum of their parts.
The burger was accented by crisp, crinkle cut fries that brought back nostalgic memories of a simpler time.
As a bonus for movie history buffs, Susan Sarandon stood behind the very counter at this diner when she was playing a server who falls in love with one of her customers, played by James Spader in the 1990 movie “White Palace”.
Thought the diner was tiny, they were very accommodating of our one year old, but parents please note – when we visited they did not have any highchairs (and I couldn’t really blame them…the place was TINY and there really wasn’t a place to store one).
Lunch and a piece of movie magic, right in the middle of downtown St Louis!
The White Knight Diner is located at 1801 Olive St, St Louis, MO 63103 and is one of the more unique restaurants in St Louis. Their phone number is (314) 621-5949. They don’t have a website, but you can find their Facebook page here.