By Mary Ann O’Toole Holley
Fred Waelter and Randy Waldman are old-school in ways you don’t see much anymore: They are relentless about quality, value and customer service—whether it’s given or received.
So, when it came to remodeling their new restaurant, Frederick’s Steakhouse & Pizzeria at 12490 St. Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton (near Hwy. 70 and St. Charles Rock Road), first thing they did was hang a giant sign at their window saying, “100-percent UNION JOB.”
“We believe in quality in our business, and when you build using union craftsmen, you get the same quality, value and customer service that we believe in,” Waldman said. “We wanted it done right and we are proud that we went 100-percent union. We want people to know we believe and support unions. It may cost more, but it’s finished in half the time and you know you’re getting quality.”
As for being under budget, Waelter says as the craftsman worked, it looked so good that they added more features. What started as a simple updating quickly turned into a complete overhaul. They gutted the interior and installed new lighting, walls and ceilings, among other things.
“The renovation process went very well,” Waldman said. “The union craftsmen couldn’t have been more cooperative and the work was done impeccably.”
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WELCOMING LABOR-MINDED GUESTS
Last month, the little restaurant in the unassuming storefront opened with a proverbial giant welcome mat for men and women who hold union cards and those of a like mind. The chic haven with a split personality of sorts, is a sports bar by day with great sandwiches and drinks, but when the lights are dimmed, its appeal accommodates a quiet steak for two illuminated by unique accent lighting.
The two said as St. Louis area businessmen, their relationship with the union community has always been a good one, and with Frederick’s just a few miles within five or six union halls, the comfy establishment came to life on its own as a haven for union-minded folks.
A visit to Frederick's is like stepping back in time to a place where “union” isn’t a dirty word and diners with work-worn hands are commonplace. A few retired union representatives and their wives may mosey in for dinner, another table accommodates some Bridgeton firefighters.
Some are guys worked on the place; others just came for the great food and pleasant environment. All have one thing in common: they came for high quality food at reasonable prices in an atmosphere where the proprietors treat you as a welcomed guest.
They call it “The Frederick's Experience.”
FULL CULINARY FARE;
Prices are fair and variety is good at Frederick’s Steakhouse and Pizzeria. Waelter and Waldman keep prices down by integrating creative beef sourcing and by mixing in lower food cost items like pizza to their menu.
The restaurant boasts a barrage of steaks and pizza options, and there are also soups, salads, sandwiches, fish, fried chicken and more. Lunch items range from about $7 to $12, while dinner options mostly say in the mid-teens. The most expensive thing on the menu is the Steak Sinatra, which Waelter says was created by Sinatra’s favorite restaurant in Palm Springs, at $25.95.
The bar offers nightly specials and everyone is urged to meet, eat and stay a while. At Frederick’s, which opened in late September, the theme is clearly the Rat Pack, as evidenced by the life-sized cardboard cutout of Sinatra greeting guests from the vestibule. Other famous actors from that period — Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn — also make appearances in the decor. A piano player singing the songs of Sinatra and the like is a regular evening feature.
“We want people to enjoy their experience at Frederick’s, and if there’s a problem, we want guests to tell us,” Waelter said. “Our staffers don't know the word ‘no’."
Waelter, the namesake, is responsible for businesses like “Bandag” tire manufacturing/distribution company, “Ark”, well known restaurant and bar in St Charles, “The Boardroom” restaurant/bar in Clayton and more.
Randy Waldman, longtime restaurant owner/operator, is known for “The Coal Hole” in Clayton, "The Daniele Hotel" in Clayton and “Xanadu Restaurant” in Chesterfield.
Frederick's is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., except on Saturday when it stays open until 10. Frederick’s also features a private meeting room. Breakfast will be added to the menu in the near future.
For more information, call Frederick’s at 314-733-5500 or visit the restaurant's website.