How many jokes about Three Monkeys have been based on its name? We promise to spare you any more about this bar/restaurant south of Tower Grove Park, which is becoming a pastureland for the grazing of the young and casual. It’s satisfying to see old urban neighborhoods re-energized. Three Monkeys probably has been a watering spot since the building’s inception, and inside, if you squint a little, it could almost be 1955, were it not for the flat-screen tvs.
The early evening crowds can range from neighborhood types, sometimes with two or three generations, to a softball or soccer team fresh from action in the nearby park. Lots of regulars know the staff; while sometimes this means delays in service while people converse, it doesn’t seem to be the case at Three Monkeys. The menu focuses on pizza and the barbecue that’s been perfuming the nearby air for hours, although there are plenty of other options like sandwiches and pasta. While there are cocktail and wine lists, this is clearly a beer house, with more than a dozen options, plus pulls for Strongbow Cider and Fitz’s Root Beer.
Wings? Yes, but turkey wings, an idea that someone should have thought of sooner. Despite being called Wild Turkey Wings, these aren’t a tribute to the whiskey of the same name nor are they from the smaller, tougher, more highly-flavored wild birds. The wings come with a sweet-spicy or a Jamaican barbecue sauce; we chose the former, pleasant but not seriously incendiary. Using the meatier turkey wings is a great choice by someone.
One of us finds it close to impossible to pass up meatloaf, especially in smaller restaurants. The menu promises that theirs is from Mama Banks’ own recipe. Mama could be right in the kitchen, if the meatloaf is any measure. Tender and moist and served as a couple of generous slices with a well-seasoned brown gravy, it satisfied. (The second slice also was good for a sandwich the next day, another primary meatloaf function.) Mashed potatoes were nothing special.
Barbecued ribs will arouse strong feelings in both directions. They were full of meat and carefully trimmed, so tender they were nearly-fall-off-the-bone, but aroused suspicion of some sort of braise or steaming. They’d been in the smoker long enough to have a serious depth of flavor. The sauce turned out to be the same as the one on the wings. Of the sides, the more remarkable was the fried potato salad, shown below. Potato salad made with chunks of deep-fried potato: Whoever came up with that, and how much were they paid by the American College of Cardiology? It’s a mayonnaise-based salad, with plenty of celery for crunch. The concept is more fun than the reality, unfortunately. Slaw, with a creamy dressing, hits the celery seed fairly heavily.
Cookies and milk for dessert? The idea always makes us smile, and here it’s chocolate chip cookies, and a glass of very cold milk, a perfect serving temperature. We were more than happy with the service, and plans are afoot for a smoke-free area, which is a good thing.
3153 Morganford Rd.
Breakfast Sat.-Sun, Lunch & Dinner daily
Credit cards: All major
Wheelchair access: Poor