If ever there’s a Landmark Registry of Old Saloons, there’s one that’s sure to make the cut: Trainwreck Saloon. The Rock Hill location has been a favorite watering hole since 1982 and a St. Louis County fixture since the 90s—the 1890s that is! That makes it the oldest continually operating tavern in St. Louis County. Trainwreck’s dark wood interior has the patina of an old English pub and the geniality of Cheers. The décor is a mishmash of train paraphernalia and sports memorabilia and the service as prompt as a well-run railroad.
I’ve eaten there a half dozen times, always at lunch. Most often I go for their signature bison burger, the product of grass fed bison raised down the road at Ste. Genevieve. My table server asked if I wanted my bison well done or medium. I said medium and it arrived at the table both medium and juicy. That’s a good test for a burger joint.
My friend ordered the Bison with Gouda, BLT, and Sweet Potato Fries. Before leaving, our server volunteered a bit of information. She said the seasoned fries I’d ordered were great, but a bit salty for some. I might want to go with the regular fries. I hadn’t had a burger and fries for a good long while, so I took her advice.
Then I pushed my luck. “Can I have caramelized onions on that bison?” During the pause that followed, I detected an expression that read, “Lady, this isn’t Ruth’s Chris Steak House; it’s a neighborhood tavern.” Instead, she smiled sweetly and said, “We have grilled onions.” I said, “Perfect!”
Trainwreck is an easy and relaxed place to enjoy what the British call pub grub, time honored favorites that are filling, fast, and flavorful and enjoyed in a friendly atmosphere.
The large, outdoor gazebo in the back looked inviting, but that’ll have to wait another season.