Gallagher’s Restaurant is awash in Waterloo and St. Louis history from its foundation on up. Situated in a building built in 1870 with its original bar intact, the eatery is full of artifacts collected by owners John and Susie Gallagher over two decades. The balcony and bar feature original railings from the 1908 McKinley Bridge, the booths are made out of pocket doors from the Chase Park-Plaza Hotel, and the tables are repurposed bowling lanes from the old Bee Hive Bowl. To construct their masterpiece, the Gallagher family poured their own efforts into the building, doing almost all the physical labor themselves with help from their nephews, five sons, and other family members.
Inside that history-laden interior, servers bustle around with plates of hearty American fare and juicy eight-ounce burgers. Smoke-cured pork chops claim myriad state fair accolades for their glaze of sweet and sour peach sauce, and the chefs carefully stacks burgers with shiitake mushroom sauce and brie or an enchanting combo of cayenne candied bacon with cheddar or blue cheese. Every Sunday, the restaurant serves fried chicken dinners that were judged the best in the area by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which noted the flavorful blend of spices in the batter.