French Onion Soup from Famous & Barr

This French Onion Soup from Famous & Barr in St. Louis, MO is my all time favorite. The restaurant maybe be long gone but I’m so grateful this recipe was saved!

French Onion Soup - Famous & Barr

I grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. While I was in my late 20’s I moved with my then husband to Raleigh, North Carolina where we lived for 10 years and had a family, my children Emily and Lauren. We moved from Raleigh to Denver, Colorado and have called Colorado home ever since. But home has lots of memories, including the one for this French Onion Soup from Famous & Barr in St. Louis, MO.

While I’ve been away from St. Louis for such a long time that I no longer call it home, it will always be my hometown and I’m not sure we ever get beyond some memories that resonate with us forever. Before any mention of food is the love I will always have for the St. Louis Cardinals. My dad and I were fervent fans and as a young teen I knew every player, every stat, every home game. I’ll die a Cards fan.

My most recent trip down memory lane might be due to the fact that a St. Louis icon, Steak & Shake, just opened near me that I’ve been thinking of some of the memories that I have where food measures most predominantly.

One of my favorite memories has always been the French onion soup that was served at the Famous & Barr department store. St. Louis had two well known department stores. One was Famous & Barr and the other Stix, Baer & Fuller.

Both stores had restaurants in them and they always had great food; some of which is still synonymous for me with the city. My fondest memory from the downtown Stix store was a Gold Brick Hot Fudge Sundae but for myself and many other St Louisians…nothing is as reminiscent or as famous as this iconic French onion soup.

French Onion Soup - Famous & Barr

My first job after college was with Western Electric (eventually AT&T) in an office building in Clayton, MO. It was sort of a mini downtown area but more upscale and I loved working there. The buildings weren’t as tall, the streets were immaculate, and I thought the shopping more to my tastes…and the restaurants too.

My friends and I would walk somewhere close most days to grab lunch and not a week went by that one of those trips wasn’t to the Famous & Barr store for this soup. How long ago; hmm, think lunch was about $1.25 – that long ago!

The soup was thick and rich, and came from the kitchen in a McCoy pottery brown drip soup bowl (similar to these) bubbling with melted cheese atop two slices of French baguette.

As the stores closed their restaurants, it was fortunate that many years ago the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published the recipe in their Food Section so fanatics of this soup could recreate their obsession at home!

French Onion Soup - Famous & Barr

Famous Barr may be no more, but I’m grateful this recipe still exists. Although it is certainly edible the day it is made, it is well worth planning and letting it sit overnight so the flavors have time to meld together. I’m certain it’s one of the reasons this particular French onion soup is so stellar and remains coveted by residents near…and far!

Update 2017: I first published this article in 2012 so I thought it time that I send it out again. We had a burst of summer weather recently but it’s been more seasonal the last couple of days and a bowl of this soup really hit the spot. It’s one of the favorites on my blog; I hope if you haven’t seen it before that you will enjoy it this second time around!

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French Onion Soup from Famous Barr in St. Louis, MO Served in a Blue Earthenware Crockv

French Onion Soup from Famous Barr in St. Louis, MO Served in a Blue Earthenware Crock with White Wine

French Onion Soup - Famous & Barr
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4.6 from 66 votes

French Onion Soup from Famous and Barr

A truly iconic soup from St. Louis and the old Famous & Barr retail store.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Soups and Stews
Servings: 8 -10 Servings
Calories: 1247kcal
Author: Creative Culinary

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs. med white onions
  • ½ C butter
  • 1 ½ tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • ¾ C flour
  • 3 - 32 oz containers 8cans of beef broth (I've also used a combination of beef (64 oz) and chicken broth (32 oz) and it has actually been my favorite result.)
  • 1 C white wine
  • Salt to season
  • 16 oz. Gruyère cheese can substitute Swiss which I typically do, shredded
  • 1 French Baquette sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Parmesan

Instructions

To Prepare the Soup:

  • Slice the onions 1/8" thick. Melt butter in a large pot and sauté the onions over low heat for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  • Add seasonings; pepper, paprika and bay leaves. Mix well and saute on low for 2-3 minutes; stirring frequently.
  • Add 2/3 of the broth to the pot and stir well. And the flour to the remaining broth and mix thoroughly and then add to the pot, stirring in. Add wine and simmer 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate overnight.

To Serve:

  • Turn on oven to broil.
  • Brush bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Lightly brown bread using the broiler watching very carefully so not to burn.
  • Heat soup on stove top.
  • Layer soup, then Parmesan toasted bread, then cheese in ovenproof bowls.
  • Broil until cheese melts; 3-5 minutes. Watch carefully!
  • Let cool for a couple of minutes before eating.

Notes

Some readers have asked for smaller portions. These proportions will produce half as much soup; follow same directions for cooking.
2 1/2 lbs yellow onions
4 Tbsp butter
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp sweet Spanish paprika
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1/3 cup flour
6 cups prepared beef bouillon
1/2 cup white wine
8 oz Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1/2 French Baquette
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese

Nutrition

Serving: 1grams | Calories: 1247kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 89g | Fat: 81g | Saturated Fat: 36g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 35g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 314mg | Sodium: 623mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g

From Famous and Barr Restaurant and found in the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper.

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236 Comments

  1. Sautéing onions for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in butter…can this be done either in a crock pot setting low? Or in the oven using a Dutch oven pot? And at what oven degree while onions are being sautéed?

  2. I use to work at the white oaks mall famous barr in the kitchen use to make the onion soup brings back memories from when lived in Springfield Illinois

  3. Thanks for the recipe this is a great soup! I just love the French recipes, this soup is sure to get incredibly tasty. Perhaps you still have in store some interesting French recipes?) if so, I will gladly wait for you to share them 🙂

    1. It has always been a favorite! I have Julia Child’s Coq au Vin on the site too…while I love French food I admit I don’t often make French recipes!

      1. Hi. I have a little sidebar to this recipe. My Aunt was a hostess hostess at the Clayton tearoom from the late 1950’s until the store closed. The head chef of the tearoom claimed he developed the recipe when actually he took credit for this recipe that was another French chef who worked there. This chef is actually still living in the retirement community where my Aunt was. He recommends a red burgundy wine instead of white wine. Julia Child used red in her recipe,

    1. Thanks for the heads up Vickie. There is actually a space between the 1 and the 1/2 but I agree; it’s simply not discernable enough so I’ve changed it to read 1.5 hours. I hope you make it and enjoy it; I’ve loved this soup for more years than I care to admit…oh what the heck…maybe 35 or so? So good! 🙂

        1. Yes…it’s the original recipe and I follow it to the letter. That long simmer allows all of the flavors to meld with the onions and as mentioned, even better if left to chill overnight.

  4. Hmmm yummy soup
    I miss 94 aero squadron at stapleton in denver. Had amazing french onion soup.
    Hello from oz barb. Miss saying hello

    1. I moved to Ca back in the 80s from Denver. I too miss The 94th aero squadron by the old stapleton in denver. They had the most amazing french onion soup I have ever eaten and I have never seen its match. The entire experience is seared into my memory from the perfectly melted cheese on top to the stout lil piece of bread which adorned the bottom of the little crock it was served in not to mention the dreamy onion soup. I was hoping to find a recipe for this amazing bowl of enjoyment. Is there any chance you might have come across the recipe from the 94th Aero squadron or been able to replicate it? I would be forever grateful.
      Dave

      1. I wish I could help but I have never seen that recipe and a quick search simply lamented the passing of the restaurant from the local Denver area. You might try this recipe…it’s iconic in St. Louis and rightly so!

        1. Thank you for taking the time to respond I visited the 94TH Aero Squadron in Denver back in the Early 80s I didn’t even realise it was a chain until searching for the recipe the other day but I can’t seem to find one anywhere on the web yet. … I will definitely give the recipe you recommended a try.
          Thanks again
          Dave

      2. Dave, I realize it’s been a couple of years since you inquired about the French onion soup recipe from the 94th Aero squadron, but I’m curious if you ever tried the iconic Famous and Barr version of the soup. I grew up in St. Louis eating F&B French onion soup, but left St. Louis in 1981. I continued to visit family over the years, and always had to go there every single time I visited until the store was bought out around 2006. I’m telling you now, if you haven’t tried this recipe, it’s an absolute must if you love French onion soup. It’s the best onion soup I’ve ever had, EVER!!!

        1. I have never made this soup that everyone hasn’t raved about it…and I will love it forever BUT take a peek at this recipe too. I’ve used the same ingredients but followed a technique I read about with the onions that I do think makes it even better…takes a bit longer though. I make both of them, depending on how much time I have to invest and then invite neighbors over to help me enjoy it…else I would be eating it for every meal until it’s all gone! 🙂

    1. I knew YOU of all people would get it…it’s simply the best; although I long ago stopped with the Kitchen Bouquet. I add a tiny bit of molasses mixed with veggie broth since it’s described as caramel and seasonings and is really just to deepen the color. It’s about the same and I don’t have to keep one condiment on hand that I only use for this one recipe.

  5. My sisters and I took the bus on Delmar to Famous Barr when we lived in Parkview. We’d do some pretend shopping and have this soup at the little cafe on the top floor. My father got the recipe prior to the store close and has been making it every Christmas since. We lost the recipe so thank you for posting here. I’ve lived in NYC for my adult life and have eaten at some of the “best” restaurants. If I was stuck on a deserted island, this soup along with Ted Drewes would be my last meal. In fact, one of the reasons I chose to retire in St. Louis is the food. So much fresher, cheaper and better!

    1. The food memories from our childhood can make for some wonderful moments; luckily this soup stands the test of time and I’m delighted I could bring the recipe back into your family’s repertoire.

  6. Thanks for posting this savory recipe. I’m in the midst of simmering the soup. Someone from St.Louis walked in my house and said” it smells like Famous Barr in here!

    1. Oh gosh I love that! I hope you loved it too…it’s really a favorite dish of mine in the winter. I haven’t lived in St. Louis for many years but it takes me back in a heartbeat.

    2. For many years, I worked at many of the stores in the Famous-Barr chain. Yes, I also loved the French Onion Soup. The chef that brought the soup to F-B is Erich Dahl who is still living, still active and has always been a first class athlete.

  7. I, too, grew up in the burbs of St. Louis when you had to get gussied up to go downtown to shop. The French onion soup at Famous was one of my favorites. I used to get it with their blueberry muffins and the combination of sweet with the onion soup was delicious. Also loved the alligator rolls at Stix and their macaroon ball sundaes. (Remember, we pronounced it “sun-duh” which I still do to this day.) I lived in Denver and in Steamboat Springs for many years before moving to Sarasota, FL. I think all three places are heaven on earth. Even though it’s hotter than hell down here I’m planning on making onion soup next week when my family visits. Thanks for the memories!

    1. Isn’t it funny how our food experiences can help us relive so many great memories. Glad you stopped by and hope you enjoy the soup!

  8. I haved lived in Raleigh for most of my adult life, but I was reared in Webster until I was 12. I cannot wait to try this soup! You bring back memories!

  9. Thanks for the memories. I have met the chef that worked for Famous Barr who was sent to France to learn the recipe. He told me that the key to this soup is the Gruyere cheese.

    1. I have been trying for years to get the recipe to the french onion soup. Like so many of you, I too love, love, love this soup. While attending graduate school at Wash U. I stumbled up on this soup. I was living in University City at the time. I live in Indiana now. I even tried to reach Famous years ago and learned that the store was closed. It was one of my favorite places to go shopping and to eat the french onion soup with french bread. I would dip my buttered bread into the soup and it was pure heaven.

      Thanks for the memories. I’ll make me some this weekend.
      God bless.

  10. We lived in W County and I worked in Clayton. Ate lunch at FB.

    Have wanted some FB onion soup for a long time.

  11. omg, thank you so much for posting this! It is going to help me when I am thinking about going to AMC Cinema Saver 6 in Fort Wayne! I am from Upstate NY so I am not familiar with Fort Collins. Next time I see my family will be so much better! Super Fabulous!

  12. omg, thanks so much for posting this! It is going to help me when I am thinking about going to Lyric Cinema Cafe in Fort Wayne! I am from Buffalo, NY so I am not familiar with Fort Collins. Next time I see my family will be so much better! Super Magnificent!

  13. I am writing a book which will be published by The History Press and out just in time for Holiday 2014 titled, “Famous-Barr: St. Louis Shopping At Its Finest.” I am including the French Onion Soup in the book, so many people remember the soup!

  14. Does anyone have the recipe for the Cheesecake that Famous-Barr sold in their bakery?
    I lived in Caseyville, IL and worked at Famous for a short time before marrying and moving to California over 50 years ago. My husband would go to St. Louis on business trips and bring a cheesecake home for me to share with my neighbor, another St. Louis native.

    1. Are you referring to the Famous Barr cheesecake that was light and chiffon-like? My mother has talked about that cheesecake, said it was served in the basement restaurant a Famous.

  15. The Clayton Famous restaurant was on the bridge over the road. What a treat was the French onion soup. Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂
    They also used to serve the Emerald Hot fudge sunday, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and a shot of creme deminth on top.

  16. Okay, made this recipe over the weekend. My husband and I have eaten it for the last two days and may I say–IT WAS FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! I used Havarti cheese to melt on top, because my local grocery store didn’t have Gruyere. Instead of store-bought bagettes I used this recipe and made my own bread. http://www.steamykitchen.com/75-baking-the-perfect-loaf-of-french-bread.html

    Thanks for a delicious weekend. Next effort from your site–Quiche Lorraine with Carmelized Onions. I’m hooked.

    Lynn

  17. Ah, French Onion Soup at Famous Barr. What a nice memory for all of us long-time St. Louis residents. I also remember the yummy Patty Melt sandwiches we used to get at the restaurant in Walgreens at Northwest Plaza. Nostalgia certainly is the best seasoning, isn’t it? Shopping used to be an event when I was a girl back in the 60’s. My Mom and I actually used to get dressed up to go shopping–now it’s jeans and a sweatshirt.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    Lynn

    1. That’s a great phrase Lynn about nostalgia, certainly so. I’m feeling super nostalgic right now; my dad spent his entire life in St. Louis and died last week; sure takes you back to a lot of childhood memories. I remember the first time he brought home a huge bag of McDonald’s hamburgers; as in when McDonalds’s first started. We thought them the best thing ever!

      1. OMG!!! McDonald’s! I remember them so well from the old days. Walk-up service only. Our neighbor’s teenaged son worked there and once in a while my Mom and Dad would take me there for burgers, also so I could see the teenaged son (I had a raging school-girl crush on him).

        Sorry to read of your Dad’s passing. But memories are so sweet, aren’t they? And yours were so special to read, it made me think of my father-in-law. He served in WWII in Africa. Boy, did he have stories to tell. Thanks for sharing your memories, you can’t imagine all the reminiscences it triggered her at my house. And some pretty tasty eating, too.

  18. I loved reading your article on Famous & Barr French Onion Soup. I too grew up in a suburb of St. Louis and have many fond memories of people, places and things. I now live in Atlanta and still have the brown crock one handle soup bowls with the lid and the 3×5 card with the recipe printed on it that was available to take home after enjoying the soup at the SoupCon. The memory makes me hungry for this delicious soup. It’s cold outside and time to pull out the recipe and soup bowls and put both to good use. Thank you for the memory boost. Pat

    1. What I’ve loved discovering is just how much that one recipe has been so memorable for so many; sure makes me glad i did it too! We just had snow; now if I just had some onions I would do the same!

  19. Stix had the Dutch Mint Sundae–chocolate ice cream with mint marshmallow sauce. And Famous had the great John White burger with the crispy onion shreds and cheese…Oh, boy! Thanks for the memories!

    1. I never had those; I was so single minded back then! Someone should have put out a cookbook with all of those favorites huh? And you are most welcome!

  20. I did not have the privilege of knowing this place but I did tell my husband about this article, as he is from St. Louis and his father worked for the same company as you did. Small world.

    1. It was a well known store and the soup just as well known. I didn’t work there though…I just worked close by and went there for lunch a lot!

  21. Like other posters here, I also have very fond memories of this wonderful soup, Stix, and Famous-Barr. I was a little girl, living in Mt. Vernon, Illinois and my grandma, lived in Belleville. She was quite the fashionista and I would spend a week with her. Our highlight was the lunch and the Fashion Show at Stix and Famous Barr. I fondly remember the Arch being half-way constructed, as we would drive from Illinois. As a young girl, I told my grandma, “Oh, grandma! When I get big I want to live in a big city, just like St. Louis!” Sadly, my grandma passed away, before I actually did live in St. Louis, twice and for a total of 16 years. Our older children, graduated from Parkway West, and our second set of children, were born in St. Louis. We moved from St. Louis to Omaha, 13 years ago. How I miss this soup! Thank you for the recipe! My old newspaper copy of the recipe is yellow and torn.

    1. Robin – I saw the arch being built from my father’s office in the Pierce building (no longer here of course) I remember the last piece being snapped into place.

  22. I was born in St. Louis and grew up frequenting Famous Barr, and all of the other places that you mentioned. I even worked at Famous when I was in my early twenties. I can still taste that wonderful French onion soup, and I have never had it any other place that was as delicious as it was at Famous Barr! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  23. As a life long St. Louisian I can attest to the fact that this soup is wonderful. I’ve made though not for some time. You’ve inspired me to make it this winter. I make it in the quantity as printed because it does freeze well. I have many fond memories of having it at Famous Barr – I really miss that store. Macy’s is just not the same!

    1. True! So much better when it was Famous. Macys bought Famous Barr and Dillard’s bought Stix. I remember going with my grandma to Famous and getting the french onion soup, even their chef salad was so good – cubed cheese, no bagged shredded cheese back then. It was such a treat and to put the cherry on top, we’d stop at their candy department before heading home. Ahhh, those were the days!

      1. When I was a young teen my mom worked at Stix. She actually started the designer shoe department so she was always there on Saturday. And every couple of weeks I would take the bus from the suburbs down there and have lunch with her.

        I have no idea when I had for lunch because all I really wanted was dessert. I loved vanilla ice cream with Elmer’s gold brick sundae topping. I used to be able to buy it and I think maybe you still can get it online but it was a lot easier to figure out how to make it myself!

        I’ve seen a lot of recipes where people use coconut oil with chocolate to make it harden but there is no way it tastes as good as this one which uses butter!

        https://creative-culinary.com/elmers-gold-brick-sundae/

  24. Sadly the Famous-Barr building in downtown St. Louis is completely closed up as of this Summer. They had been bought out by Macy’s. I’m thinking we might be close together in age,due to the hourly wage you mentioned. I was employed by Famous between the years 1966 and 1971 in the Auditing office, and spent many lunch hours in the little Onion soup restaurant that vaguely resembled a sidewalk cafe on the second floor. I never forgot that, and when I went to Paris 8 years ago, that was the first thing I wanted to eat!

    1. I’m a bit younger but still…for many of us that store and the cafes hold such significant memories. Sad to see its’ demise, that’s for sure.

  25. Hi,

    I am currently making the soup with the suggestions for a smaller yield. I was wondering if you forgo the cooking wine in this option as I did not see it listed?

    Thanks!

    1. Maybe it goes in the cook instead. Like the joke says, “I always cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.”

  26. Thanks for sharing this. I know my mom had the recipe. It was a worn out newspaper clipping. My mom made this all of the time. We even had those brown bowls too.

  27. Barbara:
    I loved this soup as well but what really interested me was your mention of working fro WECo in Clayton. I too worked there at 200 South Yanley for years until Western moved out to 1111Woods Mill Rd. It was a great place to work in those days.

    1. I worked at both; is it bad I even remember the department was 608360? I actually started at Woods Mill Road in the microfilm department that handled diazos and moved to Clayton for a promotion and then back to Ballwin for another promotion. Then I got married to an engineer there and we moved not long after to North Carolina where he went to work for Northern Telecom. Small world huh?

  28. Loved seeing this recipe for Famous Barr’s famous French onion soup!! I think I was about thirteen when my mom took me on a day of shopping and a “grown-up” lunch of the onion soup. Oh, it was sooooooo good! Mom and I made that a ritual a few times a year. Once I turned twenty-one, I met my girlfriends there for shopping and we always hit the restaurant for French onion soup and a nice big glass of Sangria! Wonderful memories.

    By the way, Macy’s bought out all of the Famous Barr stores in the St Louis area, but I still slip and say, “Famous Barr.” Also, a few weeks ago, they closed down the Macy’s (Famous Barr) downtown. Sad, very sad. We used to go down there when I was a kid to see the windows decorated for Christmas.

    1. It’s funny how that soup has so many family memories associated with it. I love hearing them all! I too recall the days of going downtown as a family to see all of the holiday decorations (a lifetime ago). I knew the name had changed and I read about the demise of that last store. Boo hiss huh? Thanks for taking the time to share; makes my efforst so worthwhile.

  29. Hi Barbara:
    I really enjoyed seeing your posts on Famous’s French Onion Soup.
    I worked at the downtown Famous in the 60’s and ate at the original restaurant on the day it opened and had the soup. It was located on the second floor and was a very tiny restaurant.
    If I remember right it was brought in as part of a 7 Continents celebration and it was France and I think it was called LeBistro and I ate there many times.
    I do have the original recipe printed on Famous-Barr paper.

    Now I would love the green goddess recipe they served on their salads if anyone has it.
    Thanks
    Barbara

    1. I’ve heard that request for the salad dressing before but this is the ONLY recipe I ever saw that came from them! Is your recipe the same? I heard from some guy claiming to be the originator of the recipe and that it was different…that was just a couple of weeks ago. I dare say I ignored that claim…sort of late in my book after all these years!

    2. I loved the French Onion soup from Famous and will make it soon. I would also love the recipe for the Green Goddess dressing at Stix. It was yummy!!
      Sharon H

  30. I too grew up in St. Louis and LOVED their onion soup! My husband and I have tried other restaurant’s and attempted our own recipes, but they all fall short. I was so excited to see your Facebook post! I can’t wait to try this. thank you!

  31. I too grew up with Famous Barr French Onion Soup. I’d have it every time I went to St. Clair Square mall. I lived in Collinsville. I got the recipe before they closed and have been making it for years. It’s easy and delicious.

  32. I have loved Famous Barr’s onion soup for 50 plus years. I seem to remember a headless horseman sandwich? or something like that…which was amazing too.
    I have been looking for another recipe from St. Louis for years, it’s called ambrosia, was a cake and came from the cafeteria by the Fox Theater…..any one who can help me with this? As I remember it was brown sugar or date flavored, with maybe pineapple maybe cherries not sure, just know it’s not any of the recipes I’ve seen on a google search or on Pinterest any body else out there have the same food memory from the 50’s and 60’s.

    1. It’s funny but I don’t recall anything else I ever ate there. Truth is I’m not sure I ever had anything else either! Good luck with your search; it’s a shame stores like that don’t make cookbooks from their recipes; once they’re gone, it’s forever.

    2. I think you mean popes cafeteria . They even had a cookbook, or it was in a cookbook collection of restaurants that was for. A charity. I wish I had the recipes from the old Pevely dairy across from Clayton famous Barr. I watch the building go up from my America history window when I went to Clayton high. Those were the best days.

      1. No, I’m certain it was Famous & Barr. This was served in all of their in-store cafes. Popes may have had something similar but this was the one featured in the St. Louis Post Dispatch many, many years ago. I remember the Scruggs name too but don’t recall frequenting it so much. The other department store I went to for lunch a lot was the downtown Stix, Baer & Fuller when my mom worked there on weekends. I would take the bus downtown and have lunch with her. There I just remember dessert. 🙂

  33. I am looking for Famous Barr’s fluffy cheese cake ? It was round and would make a squish sound when bitten into, it was fluffy with air. I would eat the whole cake.

    1. I don’t remember eating that Sandy; in fact I only remember my obsession with their French onion soup! Too bad someone didn’t do a Famous Barr cookbook; it seems a lot of their dishes evoke powerful memories.

  34. Also grew up in St. Louis (Florissant), still live in St. Charles County.Two older siblings graduated from McCluer, classes 1969 and 1971. And yes, Florissant has changed, but not all for the worse. 🙂 I, too, have wonderful memories of eating lunch at Famous and Stix. Stix had those amazing alligator rolls and I especially loved the John White burgers at Famous. My favorite French onion soup was actually from a now-closed restaurant by the airport called 94th Aero Squadron.
    Would love the recipe for gooey butter cake!

    1. Never ate at either the Stix or Famous restaurants, but have heard about them all my life, growing up in St. Louis. I did to go 94th Aero Squadron many times as an adult though – and really miss that restaurant.

      1. My Dad loved that place too; no doubt in part because he flew in WWII and was himself in an Aero Squadron!

    2. GOOEY BUTTER CAKE

      CRUST FILLING

      1 stick melted margarine 1- 8 oz. package Cream Cheese
      1 egg 2 eggs
      1 yellow cake mix 1 teaspoon vanilla
      1- 1 lb. box powdered sugar

      Crust- Mix margarine in with egg & dry cake mix. (Use mixer) Press into bottom of 13 x 9 pan

      Filling- Blend together cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Pour into crust.

      Bake 40 to 50 minutes at 325. Sift a little powdered sugar on top.

    3. I really enjoyed the gooey butter cake that a bakery in Maplewood made.
      Here is the recipe that I use for gooey butter cake:
      Mix together:
      1 box yellow cake mix
      1 egg
      1 stick melted butter
      Press this mixture into a 9X13 cake pan. DO NOT BAKE!
      Mix in another bowl:
      1 lb. powdered sugar
      1 – 8 oz cream cheese
      2 eggs
      Beat this mixture on high speed 3 or 4 minutes. Pour over the unbaked cake mixture. Smooth out. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. The top will look golden brown.
      This is a deliciously rich cake.

      1. I’ve seen this recipe a lot but I know the gooey butter cake of my memories is a yeast bread base with the gooey part coming from milk and sugar. I should try both and compare huh? Thanks for sharing!

        1. The other dept store down town that had great food was Scruggs vanderbert and Barney, also in Clayton on corner of Hanley and Forsyth’

  35. Thanks so much for the trip down memory lane! I grew up across the river in Illinos and also have very fond memories of this soup.

  36. Enjoyed reading your post. I grew up on a dairy farm north of Highland, Il. Maybe once a year I would get to go to Famous, as a young girl. Right now I am recouping from a right shoulder replacement or else I would go on and on. THANK YOU! June Williams

    1. I love hearing from people that this has touched with memories of their own…food is such a great part of our lives, more than just sustenance; it’s memories too.

  37. I worked at a place in the early 80’s named The Slimmery. We produced low calorie foods and desserts. It was located in the Westport area. Manford Tuttle was the Head Chef of the reciepes. One time he made 2 huge vats of soup. One was cheese the other was this french onion. I was told he was the original author of the Famour Barr french onion soup. It was amazing! He was very kind and generous. Very fond memory for me as I was in high school at the time.

    1. Manfred Zettl is the chef you are thinking of. I was a founding member of an explorer post he organized sponsored by The Chefs de Cuisine of St. Louis. We experienced so many wonderful dishes. As to the soup, he claims to originate the recipe, But someone earlier mentioned another chef that was before my time. Whoever created it, it is absolutely wonderful!

      1. I have heard a couple of names mentioned in conjunction with this recipe; sadly for me I never thought about trying to meet him all those years ago when FB was at its heyday! I’m just glad I have the recipe!

  38. Thanks so much for the recipe. I am a native to St Louis and I too have great food memories from Famous Barr and Stix Baer & Fuller. So many people have great food memories from here.

  39. Loved reading this as I am from St. Louis as well. I remember all that you mention – Famous, Stix, Steak and shake. I now live in Wilmington NC and will definitely make the Famous Barr onion soup. I have the steak and shake recipe for chili and make it all the time.

    1. Funny how the things we miss (or at least I miss) are all food related; love that chili too…gosh it’s been a long time. Denver finally got a Steak and Shake and while the food is OK, the experience is not. I miss sitting in the parking lot with my boyfriend and having curb service! 🙂

      1. I don’t have that recipe myself, one of my readers mentioned they did; I’ll see if she’ll share it with me and let you know if I’m successful.

    2. Hi Barbara.
      Would you please send me the Stake & Shake Chili recipe. They have the best chili in the world. I’ve tried to make it myself, with no luck. I live in Illinois, and would greatly appreciate your kindness.

  40. NEXT YOU’LL NEED TO DO GOOEY BUTTERCAKE, TOASTED RAVIOI AND PIZZA WIWTH PROVEL CHEESE–A SQUARE PIZZA CUT INTO SQUARE PIECES. I’D SAY WITH A BUD, BUT I DON’T THINK BUD IS A VERY BIG SECRET OUTSIDE OF ST. LOUIS LIKE THE REST !! LOL

    1. Gooey Butter Cake has been on my mind FOREVER; had hoped to get one of the old bakeries to share their recipes and do a story but they are all suspicious of losing business. OY! Have a favorite place for the pizza…I might try them; would be fun to go home again even if only virtually! Thanks Debbi!

      1. Check with Federhoeffer’s Bakery or Lubley’s for gooey butter cake. I have my grandmother’s recipe and it’s the best I’ve ever eaten. My mom made it until she got sick & eventually passed away. Another family favorite was Jack & Phil’s BBQ – Honey was the waitress and as a kid, she treated me like gold as she did all her customers. She always cut up my pork steak for me once she served our meal. Google her, there were many articles written about the name change to Phil’s when the two had a falling out & Honey when she passed.. The best waitress I’ve ever known.

        1. I’ve asked Jen privately for that recipe so I can make it and post it; I’ve got others but would like a time honored one. It’s time I made this cake; I’ve seen too many horrible renditions all over the web!

      2. Hi, it’s me again. The Gooey Butter Cake issue? We always made ours at home with a cake mix – never bothered to buy one. Below is the recipe I included in the family cookbook I made in 1985 as a Christmas present for my brothers. It’s been updated twice for my children and travelled from St. Louis to Madrid, Spain and Brussels, Belgium and St. German-en-Laye, France (near Paris).

        Gooey Butter Cake (St. Louis, Missouri, USA specialty)

        1 box “Betty Crocker” golden pound cake mix 1 (1 lb. box = 2 cups) confectioner’s sugar,
        2 eggs set aside ¾ c.
        4 oz. margarine, melted 2 eggs
        8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, ¾ c. confectioner’s sugar
        softened ½ c. coarsely chopped pecans

        Preheat oven to 350ºF.

        Mix together first 3 ingredients and spread in ungreased 9x13x2 inch baking pan. Mix together cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and eggs; pour over first mixture in pan. Sprinkle with reserved confectioner’s sugar and chopped pecans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

        1. Susan…your comment is associated with a recipe for French Onion Soup which has no confectioner’s sugar…would love to fix if I’ve erred in posting recipe but need to know which recipe.

  41. My sister asked me what the name of the restaurants were inside Famous=Barr. Was it Le Soup Con? We too loved the French onion soup!

    1. I don’t remember them having a name but it doesn’t mean they didn’t. I did a quick search on Google and the name Papa Fabarre’s is associated with a couple of locations but it’s not ringing any bells for me!

  42. So glad I found this. I grew up in the metro of Saint Louis and this was my favorite! My brother loved their German chocolate/ coconut pie. I can not wait to try this again.

    1. So glad you did too…it is the stuff of legend from many of our childhoods and I’m so glad I have the recipe to share.

  43. I used to eat lunch at Famous Barr twice a week when they were in Clayton. The only thing I would eat would be the French onion soup. Thank you so much for putting the recipe in Pinterest. I will be preparing it this week.

  44. Dear Barb:
    I was thrilled to run across your article and recipe for the french onion soup. As a teenager just out of high school I worked at Famous-Barr in Clayton. My mom had said to try the soup and once I did, I ordered it for lunch every single day.

    In 1977 I married and moved away to Philadelphia…no more soup. My mom saw the recipe in the St. Louis Post Dispatch and sent it to me. I haven’t made it in awhile but, inspired by your article and photos, I plan to soon.

    Thank you for posting it and I think your wine glass is just beautiful!

    Sincerely,
    Chef Locksleigh Gregory

    1. The one thing I love MOST about food blogging is hearing from someone who loves a post for reasons beyond just the recipe and I have heard from a lot of folks who either lived in the St. Louis area or visited there and knew this soup; seems everyone has a memory associated with it! I’ve heard from the rare few who want to correct it but the proof is in the pudding right? I admit I don’t use Kitchen Bouquet but never saw the need and still don’t but I’m thinking it’s still pretty authentic! Thanks so much for writing…have a great day and get some made soon while the chill really makes it worthwhile!

      Barb

  45. Oooh, I love french onion soup. Definitely want to give this a try soon. Do you know, does it freeze well? Before the layering with the bread and cheese. I’m the only one in the house who would eat it, and even the smaller recipe would probably be more than I could eat in a given span.

    1. Sorry I missed this comment earlier Stephanie; I’ve been in moving mode since January and obviously some things have slid through the cracks.

      I think it freezes nicely; I freeze it in individual portions then heat it up and add the cheese and bread.

      1. Back in the mid 70’s I worked in downtown St. Louis and on my lunch hour i would walk to Famous Barr and pick up the onion soup which was frozen in quart containers, grab a loaf of bread and the cheese which the store had packaged up. I would go back to the office and put the soup on the heater vent to thaw it out. Those were the days before microwaves. I loved the soup then and still enjoy it today.

        1. As often as I had this soup Beth I never knew that it could be purchased and taken home. I would have most likely bought a separate freezer for it and filled it to the brim!

  46. Sometimes this whole norther/southern hemisphere thing is a bummer. Delicious looking soup there, Barb – just not likely to be on my table real soon.
    The temperature here was 44C on Friday. That’s over 110F in your-speak, and is heading back up into the 40’s again this week. Not looking forward to it at all. 😐

    1. Could I have some please? I’ve been freezing all day long! Maybe we need to house share. Like I’ll share yours now and you come on over/up/whatever when winter hits there?

  47. I’m so excited to find you and your mention of Famous! I’m from So Ill and we used to make the trip to St Louis at least monthly. We were big on the Stix tearoom because as a bratty spoiled kid I only wanted the cubed steak with gravy and french fries.. But I can still remember the taste and how much I loved it. I graduated from college in the early 60s and moved to the Chicago area to teach and still returned home to shop in St. Lois. When I married in ’66 we moved to Denver and have been here since then, but only stayed married for 30+ years.

    I tried to sign up for emails from your site, but pressing “go” got me no where. Thanks for the trip! Sign me up if you can do it from your end….

    1. Small world huh…did you notice I’m in Denver now? I live near the Tech Center off Orchard Road. REALLY small world! I did input your email; it worked for me so must have been a momentary glitch…you get an email having to confirm it though.

  48. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! My Dad was stationed at Scott AFB not far from St. Louis – for fun we would go on trips to St. Loius for shopping trips and we knew before we got there that lunch was going to be Famous Barrr’s Onion soup. I too now live in NC and have found a close second at Yadkin Valley, but not quite the same. I saw this picture and clicked it only because it looked like what I had as a child. I will be making this as soon as possible and sharing it with my mom and sister! So ready to cook, thanks for sharing!

    1. You made my day! I love sharing the foods I make but it’s really worthwhile when someone is excited about it…and I can imagine how it felt finding this. It’s not just a soup, it’s a part of our life…enjoy!

    1. Went to McCluer…about a billion years ago when Florissant was such a nice little town; hearing it’s not so much anymore. Sad if that’s true; I haven’t been back in a very long time.

    2. What is it with “What High School did you go to?”, Imo’s Pizza (ever try Fortel’s?), Toasted Ravioli (yucch), and Pork steak???
      Ted Drewes is the only thing about food in St Louis that is REALLY worth giving a shout out to!

      1. I almost didn’t reply to this comment; it’s filled with such rancor but then I couldn’t resist after all. What is it with some people being so critical of what others find important? High school is a collective shared memory; the last one before most people scatter far and wide; if I had no issue with someone asking me on MY site I find it unusual that you care enough to leave a snide comment.

        You must have an incredibly limited palate if you consider an ice cream joint as the only thing in St. Louis worth a shout out. It’s an incredibly food rich city that doesn’t appear to suit you but I’ve got some great food memories and I hear it’s only improved in all the years I’ve been gone.

    1. Homemade is even better! Finally cool enough in Denver that I’m considering making some today myself. Enjoy!

  49. Does anyone have the Famous Barr – St Louis recipe for the delicious cheese cake they used to make and serve in their restaurant there?

      1. I thought Woolworth’s cheesecake was the BEST in St.Louis, I loved it so much my mother would order a whole one on my birthdays!
        BTW I had this recipe from the Post but it was soon lost (young and dumb back then lol) so I am delighted to have it again..thank you!t

        1. You are most welcome Taylor. I’m not sure I ever had the cheesecake from Woolworth’s but I do have a recipe on this site that is fabulous. Just do a search for lemon cheesecake…not all junked up with candy and such; just a touch of lemon and a lemon glaze on top. I could eat the whole thing!

  50. Thanks for sharing this recipe. It is one of my favorites. I lived in the suburbs of St. Louis for thirty years and then moved to Raleigh, NC and then moved to Superior, CO. I think it is funny we moved in the same way. I moved away from Colorado last November and now live in MA. We miss Colorado a lot. We loved living there. My son is still at Colorado State in Fort Collins so we sill be back there soon. This has always been the thing I make when it get cold. I worked at Stix, Baer and Fuller and I also remember there sundae. Thanks again.

    1. Wow…small world Jane. I don’t think I could leave CO but if I were going to…the northeast might be the only place that could convince me. Give me a shout if you ever land in Denver again…and thanks much for commenting.

  51. Grew up in Ladue and now live in Spain. Famous was my favorite – later Northwest Plaza was my haunt as I worked at Westport Plaza and lived in Florissant. I’ve had this article from the Post included in my family cookbook which I first complied in 1970’s as Christmas present for my two brothers. Through the cookbook this has gone to Belgium, France, Holland and Spain (the French loved it!).

    Was thinking to add this receipe to the Cook, Eat, Share site so thought I’d see what other receipes were out there. Such a delight and surprise to see this there. My family loves this recipe.

    1. I’ve loved hearing from others in the St Louis area after publishing this recipe; that’s been most fun! I grew up in Florissant and then lived in Kirkwood area for a couple of years before moving to NC. Small world huh? Working now on a post for my favorite ice cream from Bergen’s Dairy on Florissant Rd. Long gone but the memories are still clear and doggone it; I want some butter brickle ice cream!

  52. I Lived in St.Louis in the suburb – Brentwood. I worked at the Holiday Inn Westport. I never tried the soup but I did my share of shopping at Famous Barr.
    This soup looks yummy.

    1. I sometimes wonder if my thinking it is so good is strictly nostalgia but then my friends and family go nuts when I make it so I think it’s just a good soup! Really is very yummy. 🙂

  53. I was so happy to find this recipe. My husband likes french onion soup and every time he or I have ordered it, I remember growing up in St. Louis and going to Famous Barr and eating their soup. Nothing even compares to their soup. I have lived in Alaska for fifteen years and I miss that soup. I’m going to make some this weekend! Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Yay…so happy I could help. I love this soup too; sometimes I wonder if it’s as much nostalgia for events of my youth but then I make and know, no, it’s just GOOD! Enjoy.

  54. When I was a preteen, I am now in my forties, my grandmother was a cook at the Soupcon in Famous & Barr Department Store in St. Louis, Missouri. I remember my mom lunching on the French Onion soup while waiting for her shift to end, since a was young, I really was not a fan of the onion soup, so aways dine on their other favorite, The Chicken Noodle Soup, this soup was totally awesome. What made it so delightful, was the noodles. The noodles were blended to a creamy texture and I am sure that thick cream with butter, played a major role in making this wonderful soup.

    1. I don’t think I ever had their chicken noodle soup Kelly but it sure sounds good. I love my chicken soup with fluffy dumplings and I don’t care if I get dissed by food blogdom; I use Bisquick! It’s what my mom used and what I’ve used forever and I love them! Thanks for stopping by…memories huh?

      1. I think I replied to Harold via email. It is easily cut in half but I like making the whole recipe and freezing portions…it’s even nicer when I’m hungry and tired and dinner is in the freezer! Another reader has give proportions; hope those will help.

  55. Thanks SOOOO much for sharing. I too lived in St. Louis for a few years in the 80’s and loved going to Famous-Barr for the soup. I have told husband many times how much I miss having that soup. It was the best I have ever had! Can’t wait to try it.

  56. Sorry I gave credit to a different chef earlier and I was wrong it was manfred settle and I took lessons from him. Sorry

  57. I watched that famous Barr store being built While I was in a American history class at the old Clayton high school Window. I too ate that onion soup and have the original recipe from the chef, jan vadankashot , bad spelling, It called for a home made beef broth, that not many people do anymore. I still make it at least once every year. Those were the days.

    1. I thought it was Manfred Settle; I’ve actually made the soup with beef stock I’ve made but I know that to make a lot of dishes some folks really need the ease of using some prepared products and I think this soup is fabulous even with packaged stock. Wish I had some now!

    1. Thank you so much Kristi…it is SO good. I only wonder why I take so long between the making; maybe it’s the dedication of having to be in the kitchen for several hours while those onions cooks…but it’s so worth it!

  58. Beautiful photos!

    This post caught my attention as I was blog-hopping just because of the cities you mentioned. We love to vacation in St. Louis (my husband had been a Cardinals fan since he was a child), our oldest boy now lives in Raleigh and I was born in Denver. Who’s following whom?

  59. I had lunch with a client this past week and she ordered the most beautiful photogenic bowl of onion soup and I’ve been craving it ever since …. then I open up your blog to this! Has to be an omen. 🙂 Bookmarked!

  60. The soup is excellent! Thank you for sharing the soup…and the recipe with me. I love French Onion soup. Not sure if it is because of the great flavor, so rich and fulfilling. Or maybe it is the broiled cheese. Whatever it is the soup has got to be my favorite.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Jane; now wondering why I don’t do it more often and for the very reasons you cite. Is it the soup or the cheese or probably both huh?

    1. Thank you and I sure did love it but glad I gave half away…because I could have eaten a bowl a day for another week. 🙂

  61. Ahhh, when I was a child we lived next door to Manfred Zettl, who created this recipe! I live in Indianapolis now but we go back to St. Louis all the time – I still miss Famous.

    1. I love how this brings back so many memories Julie…I haven’t been back to STL for a very long time but doing this post made me a bit melancholy myself.

    2. Julie,

      funny because I lived next door to Manfred Zettl in the mid 70’s to mid 80’s and he gave my mother the recipe back then. I too miss Famous.

    1. Thanks Debbie…you know I’ve always used Swiss and liked it just fine; a soup dish does not have to be pricey to be good!

  62. I too remember going to the mall with my Grandma and Aunt and having lunch at Famous-Barr! My Grandma is now gone, but this recipe brings back good memories we had…it’s the little things that last a lifetime!

    1. That’s so true isn’t it? I love how a food can be so strongly tied to those important memories and seeing it or even better, enjoying it again, brings it all back. You should make some!

  63. I saw your recipe on Pinterest this morning and had to comment. I too grew up in the St. Louis area (on the Illinois side) and it was such a treat to get the French Onion soup from Famous Barr. I received the recipe as part of a shower gift, handwritten, with four lovely soup crocks. That was 30 years ago! and I still have the handwritten recipe (although it is a little worse for wear) and the soup crocks. I make it every winter. Thanks for the wonderful post. It brought back such wonderful memories.

    1. Thanks so much for leaving a comment Cheryl. When I say iconic I don’t think anyone outside of that geographic area can really appreciate how well known and how well loved this soup is..or even how exciting it was to have the recipe published. I’m glad we could share this moment together!

    1. You would appreciate this I’m sure Sylvie. I actually put this recipe on my first website and it’s been published for 15+ years. Like many of those that I’m still moving over to the blog that were either text only or a pathetic photo, I realized last week that it needed a redo. Badly needed one. The difference in how the photo represents the soup is pretty remarkable; I might not have your skills but I know my photos have ‘come a long way baby’ and it was time to re-introduce a favorite and make it look enticing. I don’t think enticing is the word I would use for the other photo I had. I think maybe ewww might fit better. 🙂

  64. I’m gonna make this soup. I’ve had such a hard time finding a French Onion Soup that is up to my liking. I’m guessing, since this is midwest based like me I may have found a winner. Also, are those glasses Godinger? I think I have a matching set.

    1. Ah…now the pressure is on! The truth is the paprika and pepper give it a subtle zin and of course the white wine does some magic too. BUT…being strong enough to refrigerate it overnight before eating it is the MOST important step. Makes all the difference!

      I don’t know about the glasses. My cousin called and asked what I would like from my aunt and uncle’s estate when the both died last year; they had been married for 50 years and died within months of each others. So…they could be 50 years old! I just asked for a couple of items to use for my posts and be able to create a visual memory so I’ve just got one white wine and one red wine glass.

  65. What a lovely post! I’m a suburban St. Louis gal too. We used to get Famous Barr soup from the west county mall store. We’d take it to go and enjoy it at home. My grandmother makes it at home since they closed up the restaurants.

    1. I think the ability to get it ‘to go’ pre-dates my experience! I realize that what has stopped me for so long is the onion slicing. I’m an idiot…I’ve got a Cuisinart!

  66. When I was a kid growing up in the 70s, French Onion soup was my favourite treat when we went to a fancy restaurant! I really need to make this at home fo myself. Thanks for the memories.

    1. I’m so glad it brought back memories for you too…this is really easy but timely. Great for a day at home when it’s cold outside. Perfect even!

    1. Thanks Angela. The seasonings…the wine and yes, even a bit of flour to thicken it all come together perfectly.

  67. What’s not to like about a rich soup covered in cheese? I love French Onion soup, just hate the getting it – peeling all of those onions is more than I can bear. Fortunately I have a husband who is prepared to help out in that direction.
    It’s not been soup weather at all here, but summer is now on the wane, there is a chill in the air in early mornings and late evenings & I am getting the chimneys cleaned next week in preparation for lighting the slow combustion stove in the kitchen. I reckon it will be quietly glowing in it’s corner by Easter – and ready to cook some soup!

    1. I know, right? I can not tell a lie. My Cuisinart does all of the slicing! This is perfect for a winter day; it needs some time but not a lot of attention and is the best thing at the end of the day. Soup with wine Sure!

  68. Ahhh, memories and a rich, savory, cheesy onion soup! I lived in St. Louis for a short time as a child, but I do remember Famous-Barr. Looks sooo satisfying, but difficult to make low sodium enough for my husband 🙁

    1. Memories of a different kind huh? Talk about going ‘way back’ this post sure did for me!

  69. I love onion soup, and have made it from many recipes. I agree on substituting Swiss cheese. Gruyere at $35 a lb is a little over the top. A chef from an upscale restaurant gave his recipe for onion soup, and he listed “process Gruyere” on it. He must have something available that is not in grocery stores. I have never found that. It must be a food service product.
    I have a new recipe for one using a stout beer, and in my mind that sounds like a tasty flavored soup. Soup left overnight in the fridge is always better the second day.
    There was a Famous-Barr in Joplin, MO mall but Macy’s bought it out in the last 5 years. I loved that store, and now Macy’s is not nearly as well stocked.

    1. The swiss tastes fabulous, is readily available and as you mention; less expensive. It’s always been the one I’ve chosen and have never had complaints!

    1. Thanks my friend! I actually had this recipe on my site with a post dated 2008. Back then? Horrible photo, no story; my how things have changed. It deserved to be shared, it’s so good.

    1. Other than needing some time it’s really easy. I even used my food processor to slice the onions. Saved time and tears!

  70. Enjoyed this little trip down memory lane with you. My husband loves French Onion soup and your loving endorsement of this recipe is all we need. Thanks for sharing it.

    P.S. I remember being able to get a good working lunch for under $2.00….glory days 🙂

    1. I know that price sounds SO cheap which we can credit with the years but truth is…it was cheap then even; best deal in town.

  71. I used to love French onion soup, but it’s impossible to find vegetarian versions. This would be worth a bite, though. Looks amazing!

    1. I would make this in a heartbeat with vegetable broth Brian. You should try that; I would love to know how that turns out.

  72. Isn’t it funny that my husband makes it without beef broth and says that is the real traditional authentic Onion Soup. Ask the French Dude, right? But yours is FANTASTIC! Dammit now I have to make this this week! What an amazing bowl of soup! Glad the recipe lasted longer than the restaurant… at least.

    1. I actually read someone else mention that same thing Jamie, that the French actually use chicken broth but Julia used beef broth for hers too. C’est la vie, huh? I actually prefer it with both; I think it develops an even more complex flavor but I hesitate to change that ingredient list; it is after all an iconic St. Louis recipe. It does need to lose the Kitchen Bouquet. All I use that for is to help brown chicken for food photos. 🙂

  73. Funny how certain recipes always bring back fond memories, isn’t it? Enjoyed reading your food memory about this soup and your hometown. French onion soup is always a favorite, but even more so when it evokes a pleasant memory of home.

    1. Next on my agenda is to interview the owner of that new Steak & Shake. I’m dying to have one but not to wait in line for 30-45 minutes…who knew how widespread they are known? Sort of like when we get a TJ’s here; I’ll have to postpone my first visit to avoid the mass crowd thing.

  74. This sounds like perfect onion soup. The problem I have with most, is excessive salt. Some cooks seem to forget by the time you use canned beef broth, butter and cheese, you may have already exceeded a week’s ration of salt, and then more salt is added. “Salt to taste” is the clue — with the other great tastes, why gild the lily!

    1. I agree. We eat fairly low sodium, and it can take the hide off your tongue to get something too salty in a restaurant. Food Network Chefs seem to encourage over salting any and everything. Inexperienced cooks follow recipes to the letter, rather than letting their taste make the final call. Even low sodium products on the groc. store shelves are not necessarily so. It is just lower than their original product.

    2. You are absolutely right Carol. I didn’t salt until after all the cooking was completed. I did use low sodium broth so a bit was required but I’m guessing ‘maybe’ 2 tsp max; I just pinched a bit at a time and added it so that might even be more than I actually did. Some is critical; too much and it’s ruined in my book.

  75. Thank you for this. A warm and comforting memory of a warm and comforting soup. I have that newspaper clipping somewhere and I have made this a time or two. My current and LAST husband (only second husband but I like to make it clear there will not be another) doesn’t like onions – and I have to pulverize them in the food processor to hide them – but I’m thinking I could do the same thing with this recipe. Thanks Barb.

  76. I too am from st Louis, and make the famous Barr onion soup, however my recipe calls for home made beef broth. I lived there all my life and was friends with the chef. Homemade is more work but worth it. Their Wedgwood sandwich was also great.

    1. I’ve made it with homemade broth too Mari and it is wonderful but for this blog I don’t specify that as a required element so more people can enjoy it who might not be inclined to do that. Either way…you know how fabulous it is!

  77. This soup sounds absolutely divine!! And I loved reading about your memories of “home.” I actually did a good majority of my growing up not far from Raleigh in Greensboro, NC. Love North Carolina. It’s vastly different from New Jersey in so many positive ways. Lovely post and I’ll need to make this soup very soon. My husband would love it! And he’s mighty picky.

    1. I loved North Carolina so much and came against my will but in support of my husband. Big mistake. 🙂 But I love Colorado now; I will always miss the lushness of the Carolinas but I don’t miss the humidity! This is really not a hard dish but just one where you need some time. So worth it.

      1. Oh, what memories… I remember being about 11 or 12 and riding the bus from the Illinois side of the river to St. Louis with my grandmother.. going to Famous and riding in the elevator (oh what treats!!) all the women so dressed up (mid 60’s)…having lunch .. I have this recipe somewhere and even though having lived here most of my life (have also traveled around with hubs) and landed back in the STL area the last two decades or so, have never made it!! How’s that for a long sentence!!! Ha!.. Well, Thanks for the nudge. I am gonna make this soon.. just got a new food processor and need to test it out!.. Oh.. were you a fan of Imo’s pizza and White Castles??? and all the great Italian food.. STL and surrounding areas are great places to visit with wonderful restaurants and people!! GO CARDS, BLUES & RAMS!!!

        1. Oh gosh…you’ve reminded me of those elevators and the elevator operators…if not from Famous then certainly from Stix, Baer & Fuller. I was a fan of Steak & Shake and the Cardinals and back then, the Cardinals were both baseball and football.

          You must make it…it will be like sitting at one of those tables again with your grandmother.

        2. Oh I’m making it! Cards are still the big IT in town but I love the Blues. Got into hockey when my youngest Started playing. Have a great weekend!!

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