Going home for Christmas often provides the unique opportunity of reviewing restaurants outside of my traditional coverage area, and this year was no exception. It’s the first time in three years that I’ve been home. The universe gave me a gift: Schlafly Brewery of Saint Louis opened a location in the family’s ancestral home of Highland, Illinois during Christmas week.
After coming to the USA from Switzerland, the founders of the craft brewery first put down roots in a small town not far from where I would be staying this Christmas. I saw the news of the opening through the old television station I got all my news from as a kid. It struck me as unusual for many reasons. Saint Louis, while not far away, so rarely extends the tendrils of its businesses out into these rural communities. It wouldn’t be until I actually visited that I’d find out the historical significance of the choice. It also promised a dining experience to an area often underserved.
So I planned Christmas Eve lunch with my father and my husband at the new restaurant, and we arrived ahead of the doors opening to make sure we could get a table. The location wasn’t taking reservations– and they may never. That wasn’t particularly clear. What was clear, however, was that we were not the only people in the region with this idea. Even ten minutes early, car after car arrived to park along Highland Square and wait their turn to walk into the doors of the old bank turned brewpub.