Restaurant Review – Crushed Red

Mother’s Day. It is a day to remember your mother. My mom is the woman who brought me to life, who cleaned my scraped knees, who held me when I cried about break ups and mean girls, and who has become one of my closest confidants and dearest friends over the years.

Mother’s Day is also the most widely known holiday to be celebrated with a family brunch… [warning: that is a made-up fact, do not quote me on it]

Unfortunately, I wasn’t luckily enough to spend the day with my Momma; however, I was able to spend the day with a few of my dear friends. Of course, we had the bright idea of going out for lunch to start our day. Such delusion.

Our first lunch destination was at the Boat House. As we followed the never-ending line of cars down the winding roads of Forest Park, we realized that Mother’s Day was about to throw a wrench in our plans.

The Boat House is apparently a very popular brunch location, because the snobby hostess dryly informed me that the wait would be “something like… two hours.”

Uh… no thank you, snobby hostess,

Luckily for us, Sarah had a backup plan. She had seen an ad in Feast Magazine for a new restaurant in Clayton, MO called Crushed Red Urban Bake and Chop Shop.

So, off to Clayton we went–fingers crossed that the Mother’s Day crowd hadn’t devoured Crushed Red yet.

By the name of this blog, I’m sure you can guess that we were victorious in our search for a Mother’s Day eatery. Crushed Red was bustling, but there was no wait. Great success!

I’ll admit, I had never heard of Crushed Red before today, but can I just say… I am so glad that we didn’t get into the Boat House! This new establishment may very well become one of my favorite fresh eateries in St. Louis (and perhaps a new happy hour destination)!

Here’s the scoop.

Crushed Red is what I would describe as a slick combination of Panera, Coldstone Creamery, and Subway. Sounds like an interesting mixture, eh? Well, let me explain.

When you walk into Crushed Red, you get into line to order your food. The eatery offers made to order pizza and salads–all prepared with super fresh ingredients. Ordering is pretty simple, you either select pizza or salad and then choose from the pre-made styles or decide to build-your-own.

When you order a pizza, the pie is popped into the oven in the back room.

The salads on the other hand, are made right in front of you.

So, here’s how it works. You pick a size (mini, regular, or large) and then watch the salad magician go to work. Similar to Subway, all of the toppings are laid out in front of you. So, if you’re picking your own ingredients, it’s easy to see what is available.

After sharing your selection with the chef, you get to watch them go to work! This is where I felt like the experience became similar to Coldstone Creamery. You know how the servers at Coldstone take the ice cream and put it on a slab and then mix in all the ingredients you chose? Well, at Crushed Red, the chef takes the ingredients, mixes them up and then dumps them on a slab to give them a good chopping. Not only was it pretty cool to watch, but it also means that your salad is nice and finely cut up—no huge, unmanageable pieces of lettuce here! Bazinga!

The whole thing takes less than 5 minutes and you get a nice sized salad with lots of toppings for only $7-8! Delicioso.

Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to try the pizza, but Sarah ordered one and it looked pretty great! They come in a nice personal size and each one is made right then and there so you know that it is super fresh, just like the salads.

So, here’s my grade, which I’ll go dig into a little more, soon.

Food: A
Service: A
Cost: A

Honestly, I really debated on whether or not to give the food an A. Here’s why: the food was very good, but I will admit that I’ve had better salads… many times. That said… the ingredients were so fresh, the experience of watching it being made was so fun, and the build-your-own quality was a nice touch. So, I gave it an A on principle–not truly on taste. Don’t judge me.

I also gave service an A because it was just so gol-darn quick and easy. It’s pretty much cafeteria style, but the chefs were serious about moving quickly. In the photos below you can totally see the blur of their chopping devices!

And the cost, well, like I said, a nice big salad for only $8? That’s decent. I know that at Bread Co a salad is somewhere around $10. So, saving two dollars is a win in my rather tight pocket book.

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and I’m especially looking forward to returning to try the pizza out—and maybe the happy hour!

If you get around to visiting Crushed Red, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new, neighborhood spot.

Happy eating!

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  1. AP (Aunt Patti)

    Holy cats! That pizza looks really good. I love lots of bread. :*( …especially since I’m doing the low carb thing. I shall live vicariously through Sarah.

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