Vittles in the Valley

Next time you’re hungry, stop by Young’s to get your appetite filled.


Ryan Winzen

The front of Young’s Restaurant and Ice Creamery on Meramec Station Road in Valley Park.

With the plethora of ice cream and burger joints across St. Louis County such as Dairy Queen, McDonald’s, Andy’s, and Fritz’s, people tend to lean toward more popular and chain locations. 

One of my personal favorite ice cream spots in the area is hidden off to the side of Highway 141 in Valley Park. Young’s Restaurant and Ice Creamy is a small restaurant located at 206 Meramec Station Road.

The restaurant is on the side of the highway, so it misses the eyes of many drivers. But people who pass it by, miss out on a great experience. The restaurant has a large variety of food from milkshakes, to burgers, to fried catfish, to a large selection of pies that are displayed at the front counter. The giant array of menu items assures something for everyone. 

Junior Patrick Smith is a frequent customer of Young’s. 

“I prefer to get a delicious burger, but if it’s a hot summer day I get a concrete with cookie dough,” he said. 

He also mentions that the prices are very reasonable. 

“It’s relatively cheap. Just $5 can get you a burger,” he said. 

Junior Reese Rich has commented on his appreciation of the feeling of the restaurant.

“[My favorite aspect is] Probably the old-fashioned atmosphere; they have a seat next  to a photo of a man reminiscing George R. R. Martin,” Rich said.

I visited the restaurant with my brother to form my own views. The first thing that I noticed was how crowded it was. We went on Sunday during Labor Day weekend at noon, so it was filled with families eating lunch. Even with the crowd, we got our order taken very quickly and found a table easily. The outside of the restaurant is not the most appealing to the eye. It resides on the edge of the highway and blends in with most other buildings. The inside is the complete opposite, it’s very clean and atmospheric. Old black and white photographs of Valley Park are hung on the walls; these photos make you feel like you were there when they took them. The restaurant has been operating since 1954 and the interior doesn’t seem to have changed much over the decades. I really like the atmosphere of the restaurant, it has an authentic older atmosphere, than an artificial one restaurants like Steak n’ Shake try to emulate. 

The order process involves going up to the front counter, where they have a menu on the wall and a smaller copy on the counter. I decided to order a hamburger and a milkshake. I got the single hamburger which cost $2.69, but you can order a double for $4.89, and a triple for $6.29. I got a medium chocolate milkshake which cost $4.59. My total was $7.28 before tax. The prices are very reasonable. I could have gotten french fries and my order would still be under $10.

I was very impressed with the food. I got a single hamburger with lettuce, onions, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. The actual meat patty is more compact, similar to many fast-food burgers, but the taste of the burger beats any from fast food. I would compare it to burgers from restaurants like Shake Shack and Steak n’ Shake. I felt full after eating it, but not like I gorged myself. Next item I tried was the milkshake. First thing I noticed was how thick it was. I started off using the straw but I switched to using a spoon to eat it. You can also get ice cream cones/cups, sundaes, and concretes. I got chocolate but they offer many other flavors such as banana, pineapple, mint, marshmallow, hot fudge, cherry chip, and hot caramel. You can customize your ice cream with toppings like cookie dough, sprinkles, Snickers, M&Ms, and Oreos just to name a few. This is what separates Young’s from other ice creameries in the area like Andy’s and Dairy Queen. The amount of flavors and toppings stomps out what these other places offer.

I want to talk about the service, it was great. At first, when I walked in and saw how crowded it was, I got nervous. A lot of restaurants struggle to maintain good service as it gets more crowded, but all the employees did their absolute best to help me. The line at the front moved very fast and I didn’t have to wait very long. After I made my initial order it only took about 20 minutes to get my order, which they brought out to your table. I was very impressed with how they handled having all those people in the restaurant.

Next time you want to get a burger or some ice cream for dinner, instead of going to the same old chain places, consider going to Young’s for a quality eating experience that will make you want to come back for more. Young’s is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.