St. Louis’s Perfect Slinger #37: TJ’s Diner

Posted: October 31, 2013 in Affton, slinger
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tj'sdiner

Welcome to the first collaboration post in the slinger category. My good friend Joe decided that after sending me many pictures of slingers he wanted to go get one with me, and I needed work done on my car anyway…so here we are!

T.J.’s Diner

11690 Baptist Church Road

Sappington, MO

Joe: T.J.’s Diner is where I go when I’m too lazy to leave my South County neighborhood and drive (all the way) into the city to a Courtesy Diner.  Tucked away on Baptist Church Road in a building that looks like it may have been a Captain D’s or Long John Silver’s in a past life, you could drive right by T.J.’s Diner in South County and not even know you passed it.  The signage is very high up and hard to spot from the street.  But we locals know it’s there and the place is packed on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

T.J.’s has a slinger on the menu and that’s what I always get when I go there.  I have noticed that the waffles, pancakes, and French toast on other people’s plates looked pretty good.  So, who knows I may stray someday.  But, on my most recent visit with my pal Nik (the proprietor of this here blog), it was all slingers.

It was a Saturday morning and Nik had made plans to let Dobbs cheat him out of his hard-earned pay for some wiper blades he probably didn’t need and an air filter that still had at least twenty thousand miles left on it. (Hey now! I didn’t even buy the wipers they tried to sell me, just the tire and the oil change. Nik)  It was 10am and the used CD store wasn’t due to open until 11, so we popped into T.J.’s and took the back table.  The Cardinals were in the World Series and the Missouri Tigers football team had just been bumped up in the BCS rankings.  Everyone at T.J.’s was decked out in Cardinal red and Tiger black and gold.  The TVs were playing highlights of the previous night’s baseball game and the chatter at the other tables was about 60% baseball, 30% football, 5% about whatever ailments the aging patrons were suffering from, and 5% what to order.  At our table the conversation was 50% black metal (with Venom figuring heavily in the mix) and 50% slingers.

T.J.’s slinger comes with two eggs cooked your way; a selection of ham, bacon, sausage or hamburger for the meat; and a choice of either hash browns or American fried potatoes (I’m guessing those are French fries with a more patriotic name).  I ordered mine with eggs over easy medium, a cheeseburger patty, and hash browns.  Nik had scrambled eggs, a burger patty, and hash browns.  My personal belief is that the slinger, while including eggs and hash browns, should never have breakfast meat in it.  And, the hash browns should not be optional.  But, that’s me.

Slingers2

Here’s a picture of the T.J.’s slinger.  All in all, it’s a suitable rendition.  The cheeseburger was decent, the hash browns were darn good, and the eggs were done perfectly to order.  But, there were a few problems.  For starters, the chili just isn’t that good.  It tastes like the stuff from a can.  Granted, I have a tendency to compare all chili to the legendary O. T. Hodge.  Their chili set an almost impossibly high standard for me.  I don’t expect that everyone will live up to it, but it would be nice to see a better effort.  Another problem is the onion and cheese topping for the T.J.’s slinger.  They use a single slice of American cheese draped over the top and some sliced white onions that are most likely from the same bin used to dress hamburgers at lunch.  Shredded cheddar cheese makes for a better topping on a slinger.  The single American slice melts on top of the chili and that’s ok, but you have to break it up with your fork to mix it in whereas the shredded cheddar stuff blends in as it melts and mixes in more easily.  The American cheese is also a stickier gloppier gunk with less flavor than the cheddar.  Chopped white onions are preferable to the thin slices because they hold firmer and spread out across the dish more easily.  The thin slices at T.J.’s end up bunching together and you tend to get one or two bites that are ‘all onion’ and then the onions are gone.

All that said, the T.J.’s slinger is darned good.  The cheese and onion issues are offset by some of the better hash browns I’ve had.  Though we’d like to see them put a little more effort into the chili, the restaurant’s “breakfast served anytime” policy is great for those of us who like to sleep in on weekends.  And the proximity to home is a major plus.  So, when I’m not in the mood to pull out The Club ™ and tough it out in the city for a Courtesy Diner trip, T.J.’s is the place.

Coming Soon:  Courtesy Diner opens a new location near Watson Rd and Laclede Station Rd.

Nik: All in all I was pretty happy with this slinger. My eggs weren’t great, but the hash browns were! Unlike Joe, I’m fine with squares of cheese as they’re gooier and if there’s two things slingers need it’s hot sauce and goo.

The proffered chili was a bit subpar. I do not believe they used the famed Edmond’s chili that purveyors like Courtesy Diner use, but I could be wrong.

I’m pretty much on the record with lots of onions, and we didn’t get that.

All in all, it’s the best slinger I’ve had yet in South County, but that’ll most likely change we Joe and hit up Courtesy Affton.

Black Metal Note: I didn’t even buy any black metal, but I did pick up Venom’s Welcome To Hell and that ain’t no joke! If you wanna go to hell, buy that record and how knows it might up here soon….

Record store purchase:

Nik:

Napalm Death “Inside the Torn Apart” $4.99

Venom “Welcome to Hell” $8.99

Joe:

Susanna Hoffs solo album “When You’re a Boy” $1.99
Uncle Tupelo “Still Feel Gone” $5.99
Smithereens “Green Thoughts” $5.99
bestkissersintheword “Been There” $1.99
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  1. […] European perception of American Breakfast Breakfast in St. Louis, MO That's how we do. __________________ Diane Cluck's Boneset, as featured on NPR's All […]

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