o'connell's pub has been open since 1962. photo by david kovaluk

O'Connell's Pub is a St. Louis staple in Southwest Garden

High-quality meat. Fazio’s bun. Pickle. Onion. Countless awards. O’Connell’s recipe for success isn’t complicated, but it’s never needed to be. The short and sweet menu, which almost never changes, features dishes labeled “Hamburger,” “Frank,” and “Roast Beef” with no further descriptions.

“It’s just an American flair,” said general manager Fred Parker. Parker took over management of the restaurant 26 years ago from his uncle, Jack Parker, who opened it in 1962 and still comes in every day. They’ve been going for over five decades, and some things haven’t changed. 

“Quality and consistency is the main thing. We treat everybody like family. We have a lot of regulars, and those regulars keep us going,” Parker said. “We still have regulars from Gaslight Square that made the transition over to the current location. They never left.”

A Southwest Garden staple through and through, the restaurant withstood its move from Gaslight Square in 1972 and – as South City residents know – a seemingly infinite amount of road construction in at 4652 Shaw Ave., a triangle of Kingshighway Boulevard, Vandeventer Avenue and Interstate 44. 

St. Louis has changed, but O’Connell’s has remained a steadfast beacon for people looking for a sandwich, a beer and a dim, rustic dining room in which to enjoy them.

Adam Rothbarth is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine.