“A slab of fried bologna with pimento cheese on Texas toast.” Wow! Tell me how many times you’ve seen that on a menu. If the thought of such comfort food makes your heart flutter, I have good news for you. The item is on the menu at MO Bar, the fond name for Missouri Bar & Grille on Tucker opposite the former Globe-Democrat building.
I was with Russ and Debra, when we dropped by the old, downtown watering hole for a late lunch. I had heard glowing reports of their daily specials like the Monday Meatballs, Tuesday Lasagna, Wednesday Meatloaf, and Thursday Chicken Sandwich. Fans seemed to have a special fondness for the meatloaf.
Now That’s a Meatloaf!
“We have one customer, who takes a cab to come here nearly every Wednesday for the meatloaf plate,” explained bartender Gerald Ortiz. With that hearty endorsement, Debra ordered the acclaimed special. Right away I could see why it was held in such high regard. The meat was half the size of a brick! It came with a delightful tomato sauce, well-seasoned green beans, silky mashed potatoes and gravy and two-slices of Texas toast. All for $10! An incredible bargain and as near to mom’s meatloaf as any you’re going to find this side of home.
Those Wings Fly, Too
It was late afternoon and I had already eaten, but I nibbled on Debra’s meatloaf and everything on the plate was superb. True comfort food. Russ ordered the vegetarian vegetable soup, that included sweet potatoes and okra in a tasty broth. He also got an order of their signature chicken wings, that had been deep fried, sauced, and grilled. When grilled crispy on the outside they’re referred to as “Trashed Wings.” Whatever the name, they were some of the best I’ve ever put in my mouth.
The menu also features: Stroganoff Burger, Jim’s Firehouse Burger, pizza, and Homemade Toasted Ravioli with Homemade Marinara Sauce, and a Gyro served with the family’s own tzatziki sauce. Chili is a regular feature, too, as are three popular salads: Greek, House, and Southwest Chicken.
Whew! We Almost Lost MO Bar
Some say it’s a miracle MO Bar is still in business. When its owner of 33 years, Greek immigrant Trifon Panopoulos died in 2013, the future looked bleak. Closing was especially sad for the downtown bar room, that had for decades served journalists, sports figures, civic and political leaders, as well as neighborhood regulars.
After being closed for more than a year, MO Bar reopened under the co-ownership of Trifon’s brothers. Louis and Jim Panopoulos refurbished the place, turning it into an updated sports bar seating 97 with more than a dozen television screens, new lighting, a shuffle board, jukebox and a revised menu. They’re well prepared for what Ortiz said will be an overflow crowd on St. Patrick’s Day weekend following the downtown parade.
Another occasion of note was held at the barroom recently. Patriarch of the clan, Pete Panopoulos, who brought his young family to America in 1966, celebrated his 90th birthday at MO Bar among family, friends, and well wishers. Yes, Missouri Bar & Grille is a family and neighborhood tradition and one that’s definitely worth keeping.
Missouri Bar & Grille, 701 N. Tucker. Open: Sun-Wed 11a-1:30a; Thu-Sat 11a-3:30a. Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 3p-6p. Every Thursday is Trivia Night: 7p.