The sprawling restaurant patio at the southeast corner of Euclid and Maryland—previously one of the city’s most popular—has remained idle throughout much of this year, after the closure of Gamlin Whiskey House this summer. When alfresco season returns next spring, however, the patio will welcome patrons once again.
Early next year, Kingside Diner in the Central West End plans to move into the space at 236 N. Euclid, just a short distance away from its present location at 4651 Maryland. As the St. Louis Business-Journal recently reported, the St. Louis Chess Club plans to expand its footprint to the current Kingside Diner space.
Owner Aaron Teitelbaum says the chess campus began talks about the move more than a year ago. “They wanted more space, and we were running hour waits three days a week, so we needed more space, too,” he says.” He was offered the nearby Culpepper’s and FroYo parcels but said the only cost-effective decision was to move to the former Gamlin Whiskey House space, which was larger and more versatile, with no walls needing to be moved. The patio, bar and dining area, two adjoining rooms (for additional dining or private events), and better visibility are exactly what Kingside needed to expand.
Over the next few months, the 7,000-square-foot corner property will be lightened and brightened to complement the look of Kingside Diner’s Clayton location. One difference: The existing copper ceiling will remain, and the color will be repeated in design elements throughout the space.
Teitelbaum envisions a modern diner feel with liberal use of ceramic tile, interspersed with natural elements such as plants, white-painted wood, and stone. “To stay consistent, there’s a specific black and a creamy white color used at the chess campus that we also use at Kingside,” he says.
One familar sight will be the woven leather chairs (“expensive and they look like it,” says Teitelbaum), which will be walked to the new space when the existing restaurant closes, in mid- to late December. (After that, it will become a “shared facility for catering,” according to Teitelbaum.)
The chess-themed artwork and memorabilia, curated by the chess campus, will rotate on a regular basis, as it does in the existing spaces. “It’s part of how they educate the community and the changes keep it fresh—for all of us,” Teitelbaum says.
Perhaps the most impactful addition will be the conversion of the patio into a three-season space, covered by a roof/awning with removable sides and equipped with permanent heaters and fans.
When Teitelbaum opened Kingside Diner in the former Lester’s space, in 2015, he said the Central West End had been missing a Hershel’s-type diner for many years, and “it was time.” The chess-themed diner is located across the street from the World Chess Hall of Fame, so a chess theme only made sense. (Kingside is a reference to the side of the chess board where the kings are positioned at the start of the game.) Teitelbaum opened a second location in the former Parigi space in the Clayton on the Park building across from Shaw Park in January 2019. He reports that both locations have adapted well to the pandemic.
Teitelbaum says part of the restaurant’s success stems from a menu that’s offered at both breakfast and lunch, items curated by chef Eric Prophete, who runs both locations and has been “a game changer ever since he came aboard.” Guests can order two eggs and bacon, but most opt for omelets, breakfast sandwiches and burritos, scrambled egg flatbreads, or more than 20 specialty items, such as the Damn Delicious (two scrambled eggs and bacon on a croissant, smothered in sausage gravy topped with shredded cheddar and chives and served with hash browns) and the Johnny Cash (pictured below).
A Beyond Breakfast section includes a meatloaf melt, burgers, salads, and such sandwiches as the King of Clubs (natch) and an American Cuban (made with ham and a Nathan’s Famous hot dog). Several family-size take-and-bake items are also available.
Moving into a more visible space will attract new customers, says Teitelbaum, and allow the new Kingside to offer dinner service, something that “didn’t work down the street because we were down the street.” The plan is to offer several appetizers and large plates—steaks, pasta, fresh fish—in the evening in addition to what’s on the breakfast and lunch menu. Teitelbaum is looking forward to the “crazy-looking order combinations that result from having entrées and eggs on the same menu.”