Mark Cusumano is loving life at Westport Plaza – a life driven by Kemoll’s Chop House, the celebrated St. Louis restaurant his grandmother opened back in 1927.
“I love this space and I love the way it turned out,” Cusumano said. After 30 years of operation in downtown St. Louis, Kemoll’s began planning its move to West County nearly a year ago. Such a move might have worried some restaurateurs but not Cusumano, who credits Kemoll’s ability to change as key to its success and the secret to its longevity.
“We began as a little tavern, then a family restaurant before we expanded and knocked out the walls and became a gourmet restaurant in the 1970s. We then moved downtown to the Top of the Met, now we’re here at Westport. I know my grandmother, Mrs. Kemoll, would approve and would be proud of the place and the menu,” Cusumano said.
Kemoll’s menu also has changed a bit – shifting the spotlight to steaks and chops along with favorites that customers have enjoyed for decades.
Classic dishes such as Mrs. Kemoll’s signature garlic cheese bread, cannelloni and fried artichokes are still on the menu. All are items that Kemoll’s first introduced to the St. Louis restaurant scene back in the 1920s – and which will always remain the core of its menu.
“It’s a little old and a little new all blended together,” Cusumano said, describing Kemoll’s Chop House menu. “We have a large selection of things that have been on the menu since we began – garlic cheese bread and lasagna. With those classics we added new things like the Asian Kababs and Stuffed Peruvian Peppers, which are stuffed with herbed goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Lots of nouveau things and a lot of old school things on one menu for our customers to enjoy.”
The new Kemoll’s Chop House is a success, a fact which Cusumano credits to his loyal customers and his staff. That staff includes 10 employees who collectively have 300 years of experience serving Kemoll’s customers. In fact, some of those long-term staffers can boast of having worked with Mrs. Kemoll.
“It’s amazing,” Cusumano said. “Our employees make it happen by delivering consistency that has made us great. And while we don’t have Mrs. Kemoll here, we still follow her philosophy: ‘Do everything the best you can.’”
Doing your best has inspired Kemoll’s to add a new Happy Hour – unlike others in town – to its menu mix. Running every day from 3:30-8:30 p.m., it features live piano music, drink specials and an appetizer menu that is both excellent and affordable.
“Our happy hour has been tremendous,” Cusumano said. “The music is great, the bar looks great, and the food is good and priced right. You can come in and order four or five different things and have a great meal and still be under $30.”
“We have some of the best food in town and our customers are the nicest people in the world. We have families that have been coming here for three and four generations. I hear stories almost every night from customers who share those memories.
“It’s all about customer happiness. We’ve been making customers happy since 1927!”
|Kemoll’s Chop House|
323 Westport Plaza • St. Louis (314) 421-0555 • www.kemolls.com
Hours: 3:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday