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October 24, 2009

Al Baker's Restaurant

Location: Clayton Road and Brentwood. The fine dining restaurant was established in 1966 and closed in 1994. The restaurant building no longer exists. Linen N' Things was built on that location and it closed in 2009.
Source: Private collectorDate unknown

12 comments:

  1. Wow! look at the Dining room in the old days! That was Gerrard's Station up front and Fay's station or Greg Laycock's in the back..

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  2. I worked there as a busboy in 1990. I think I remember some of those names you mention, but I may be kidding myself. Al Baker was a tough guy to work for, and the cook was real mean.

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  3. I was a busboy also in 1967 and Al was a tough guy to work for but that is what made the place, he wanted it his way or the highway. I remember the mob boys and girl friends coming in on occasion there was even a car blown up in the parking lot with the car owner when he started the car. Guess someone was trying to get a message across. I left there for the IHOP across the street which is still there

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  4. My father was maître d' at Al Bakers for many years and greeted and seated patrons. His name was Geary David but everyone called him Dave. It was the culmination of a life in the restaurant business for him. He'd get into his tuxedo every evening and look forward to providing a great restaurant experience to the Al Baker customers.
    I'll never forget the joy in his face the night I came in from out of town and stopped at Al Bakers carrying his new baby granddaughter. He grabbed her out of my arms and disappeared showing her to everyone in the place.
    Al Baker's was dedicated to providing a top quality meal and dining experience and my father took pride in being a part of this. Even when he fought diabetes late in life and had severe foot problems, he continued to work as long as he could and it was a sad day for him when his health finally forced his retirement.

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  5. I remember Dave. Super nice guy. I worked there, as a busboy, in 1975 and 1976, before leaving for college. Bob and Arlene ran stations 1 and 2. Fay was station 3, I believe. Tony was on the Terrace, above the bar. Worked with all the waiters/waitresses. Fay was tough. Superb food. One of the top restaurants in the area at the time. Al wasn't so tough. Mary was tough. Van was the head chef. Art was the steak chef. Mary's sister did salads. The daughters were hot as donut grease. Great time. I had fun.

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  6. I was a busboy there in 72. I do remember Arlene, Bob and Fay. I agree Al wasn't so tough and it's Mary you had to watch out for. Met some great people there, had a great time and made a bit of money.

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  7. I worked as a busboy in the early 70's. Chris Folk was the Head Busboy. He wanted to date my sister and bought her all sorts of flowers but then she wouldn't go out with him. To retaliate, Folk told me to work every night and I couldn't because of school. He then fired me and Al backed him up. That was a shock because Al and I used to play tennis together at Heman Park in U City. I still remember the day, just before they gave me my hotdogs and french fries for dinner; Al gave me the bad news. But the experience was great!

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  8. Brings back memories, I tell ya. Worked at Al's as a busboy way back in 1969 as a high school student. All those names sound familiar. Any one remember the assistant manager, Dickie Gordon? He talked like a mob guy, but underneath he was alright.

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  9. I worked there for about 6 years from age 18 to 24. The stories I could share about that place...... Al was a ruthless business man. We would be charged for anything lost. Cocktail forks, pepper mills, etc. He demanded excellence and usually got it, but was not afraid to tear into anyone, employee or customer. I watched him rip into Chef, (Van Hardy) Mary, and just about everyone that worked there including myself. He busted me scarfing in the back station and gave me an insulting earful while literally digging around in my mouth with his fingers and a flash light. :)

    My brother was working the line as a food expediter one night. He dropped a plate of salmon on the floor. I porcelain chip got stuck in his eye. Marlon pulled it out. I remember Al asking if Brian was okay. Brian said yes. Al said to see him at the end of the night. I was there when Al said, "The salmon is 18.95 and the plate is 12.95. You can pay me for it on Friday."

    Some of the names like Ron George, (later did a lot of Elvis impersonating) Ray Davis, Gerard Whatton, Fay Butler, Greg Laycock, Arlene Carter, Marlin, Mike McVay, Gene Folin, and many more were folks I worked with. Oh, and James Schneider, what a wild man!!! We did some partying back then and that place brought out the best and worst in a lot of us.

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  10. I was a barback/busboy at Al Baker's in 1969 as a high school junior. All the rumors about Al were true. He was one tough customer to work for. So were the waiters, the maitre d' and the cooks. But I'll tellya, I wouldn't trade the memories for anything. Recall the tag line in "Risky Business": "Time of your life, kid."

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  11. Hi there , I live an hour south of St. Louis ,and I recently found some pewter plates with the name Al Baker embossed on them . Would these have come from this restaurant ?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and the Clayton History Society has one pewter plate in their historical collection.

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