Great Food, Great Ambiance is Team Effort at Drake’s Place
Ferguson, MO/December 17, 2017 (STL.News) – Some restaurants are trendy with chef-driven menus and cutting edge culinary offerings. Others are classics—flavorful, comfortable and familiar. The rarest dining find is the restaurant that somehow combines those elements to create a warm, friendly, and inviting space with a chef-driven menu that is both elegant and crave-worthy. Ferguson is home to such a rare gem, called Drake’s Place. The restaurant at 701 South Florissant Road opened in 2014 as the culmination of a lifelong dream—the end result of a lifetime of culinary achievement.
Chef Sonny Lewis began working in restaurant kitchens as a young teen in St. Louis. Like the fabled Broadway understudy who gets her break when the leading lady falls ill, Lewis got his first chance to cook when one of the head chefs became unexpectedly sick and he was drafted from the dish room to the cooks’ line. He learned everything he could that fateful night, some forty years ago. Since then, Lewis worked his way up the kitchen line, eventually serving as sous chef, executive sous chef, and executive chef in the kitchens of some very fine hotel and country clubs. Over the years, he cooked in Italian kitchens, an Irish pub and worked under four French chefs. He retired as the first black executive chef after more than 20 years at the Heart of St. Charles Banquet Center.
His eclectic culinary background helped to mold Chef Lewis into a master of the sophisticated, contemporary American cooking known as “New American Cuisine.” This cosmopolitan style injects traditional American dishes with global culinary influences and techniques. Lewis’ restaurant, Drake’s Place, is one of the best New American restaurants in the St. Louis area—taking the #6 spot on our recent customer review-based Top 10 “New American” Restaurants in St. Louis (published Oct. 23, 2017).
At Drake’s Place, New American cuisine means a blend of traditional comfort foods and adventurous, bold flavors. Drake’s Buffalo Chicken & Broccoli Pasta is a good example. It’s linguini with broccoli in a heavenly cream sauce topped with fried chicken tenders that have been tossed in Buffalo-style hot sauce. The combination is flavorful and satisfying. Whether it’s a house specialty like the sweet and spicy wings or double cut pork chops with a Cabernet sauce, superb technique is the hallmark of Drake’s menu of elevated classics. From the signature house dressing, to the special compound butter seasoning on Drake’s steaks, everything is made from scratch in house. Lewis’ thoughtful preparation and flawless execution make each dish a beautiful dining experience.
Chef Lewis’ skill in the kitchen is only half the Drake’s Place magic. The Ferguson restaurant is as well-loved for its hospitality and comfortable vibe as for its food. That front of house charm is the result of the loving efforts of Lewis’ wife and business partner, General Manager Bridgett Lewis. The philosophy behind Drake’s exceptional hospitality is elegantly simple: the Lewis’ wanted to create a place where people of all walks of life could come together to enjoy a truly special dining experience. Consequently, Drake’s Place has become a welcoming gathering place that also happens to serve amazing food. Customers say Bri and her staff always make them feel special. A restaurant that serves a chef-led menu of contemporary American cuisine and knows how to treat every guest like someone special is a noteworthy addition to St. Louis’ vibrant culinary scene.
Drake’s Place is open for lunch and dinner Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday – Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and for dinner only Saturday from 4–9:00 p.m.