We just had lunch at Cardwell’s for Blake’s birthday and then not 5 days later this was announced! I guess it may have been our last time visiting Cardwell’s in Clayton. We hope that something wonderful will replace Herbie’s old spot in the Central West End. Though, I look forward to enjoying Herbie’s yummy creations at their new Clayton location!
“Herbie’s Vintage ’72 is moving from one storied spot to another. This fall, it will leave the former Café Balaban space in the Central West End to reopen in Cardwell’s in Clayton’s longtime location, at the southwest corner of Brentwood and Maryland.
Herbie’s will keep its vintage name and vibe, one reason the space in Clayton, with its mahogany-lined walls and French doors, appealed to Herbie’s chef-owner Aaron Teitelbaum. “I happened to go into Cardwell’s in Clayton one day for lunch,” he says, “and I was like, ‘Wow, this place just screams Herbie’s.’”
Like Herbie’s, the idea had history: In 2008, after making a name for himself at Monarch in Maplewood, Teitelbaum had looked at the Cardwell’s in Clayton space. At the time, however, Cardwell’s owners Rich and Debbie Gorczyca weren’t ready to make a change. So Teitelbaum instead opened Herbie’s Vintage ’72 in the Central West End, paying homage to Herb Balaban Carp, the late, legendary owner of the former Café Balaban space at 405 N. Euclid.
With Herbie’s lease in the CWE running up this fall, Teitelbaum recently inquired at Cardwell’s in Clayton again. “He waited eight years and came back,” laughs Gorczyca. “We’ve contemplated it for a little bit, but we had to wait until the right thing came along.
“It’s really a nice arrangement,” adds Gorczyca, who will continue to oversee Cardwell’s in Clayton through early October and has private events booked through fall. “The one thing that helped in my decision is that Aaron, God bless him, is going to offer my staff positions.” (SLM wrote about that dedicated staff years ago, in a feature highlighting St. Louis workplaces.)
“The restaurant business is a young man’s game, and he’s a young man,” says Gorczyca, who turns 67 in October. “He reminds me… I was about his age when I opened Cardwell’s.” That was in 1987, when Gorczyca and renowned chef Bill Cardwell opened the Clayton staple, after working together at the Fedora Café in Union Station. (Cardwell, of course, opened another eponymous location at Plaza Frontenac in 1994 and sold the Clayton restaurant in 1997.)”
From the Cardwell’s website… “Opened in 1987, Cardwell’s in Clayton was the first to excite the local restaurant scene. Its creative cuisine prepared by nationally recognized chefs continues to make it a St. Louis classic.” As of now I haven’t heard of the restaurant moving, so sadly this may be the end!