Happy National Egg Cream Day! Why they’re so Jewish and where to find one in St. Louis


Egg Creams at The Fountain on Locust.

Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

In honor of National Egg Cream Day, March 15, we thought it appropriate to retell the story of this iconic Jewish drink and where in St. Louis you can find one.

Why is it an iconic Jewish drink?

When you break it down, an egg cream does not have egg in it. In fact, it doesn’t have cream in it either. Basically, an egg cream consists of milk, chocolate syrup and seltzer. That’s it.

The drink originated in 19th-century New York City, and there are many stories about how its name came to be.

According to Jewish lore, the egg cream was born in the poor and crowded Jewish communities of the Lower East Side and Brooklyn. Barry Joseph, author of “Seltzertopia,” writes that in the 1920s and 1930s Louis Auster — the Jewish immigrant credited with creating the egg cream — would report selling 3,000 egg creams a day. On hot days the number would soar with the temperature — up to 12,000.

Plus, two of the egg cream’s three ingredients have strong Jewish connections.

Jews dominated the seltzer trade in New York City, and Jews loved to drink it. According to Sara Gardner in her article “Why Jews Love Seltzer,” the fizzy water is a pareve beverage “beloved by Jews, observant and assimilated alike.” It was “a welcome digestive aid to the heavy Eastern European fare” people ate in delis.

Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup was produced by a Jewish man, Herman Fox, in his Brooklyn tenement home at the beginning of the 20th century. Fox was a gambler who lost his money in a Texas oil well investment, but turned things around when he struck gold with his syrup. While his money stayed in Texas, the Texan term “you bet it’s good” became part of his syrup’s name.

In the 2018 documentary Egg Cream,” food historian Andrew Coe describes egg creams as a cheap copy of the soda fountain drinks from the fancier neighborhoods of New York. Coe said the drink “gave people a sense that they were having a fancy, uptown kind of drink for a very downtown kind of price.” Even the name sounds rich, he says. But it’s also misleading; the standard egg cream has no egg and no cream.

Some say the name is a bastardization of the Yiddish word “echt,” which means genuine or real. Folk lore states when Auster was making the drinks he would “call to his staff and ask them to bring up more of the [grade] ‘A’ cream which, given New York accents, morphed over time to ‘egg cream.’”

Nostalgia is at least half of the egg cream’s appeal. There was a time when every New York diner and ice cream parlor offered them. As Elliot Willensky wrote in his book “When Brooklyn Was The World: 1920-1957,” “a candy store minus an egg cream, in Brooklyn at least, was as difficult to conceive of as the Earth without gravity.”

Where can you find an egg cream in St. Louis?

I’ve been searching and calling all over town, and so far, I can find just one place that makes an authentic egg cream, The Fountain on Locust.

Danni Eickenhorst, the owner of The Fountain on Locust, says the restaurant’s original vision was to be an authentic 1930s soda fountain shop, and that means egg creams.

“Anybody should be able to come here and enjoy that old fashioned throwback,” said Eickenhorst.

Currently there are 13 flavor options for Egg Creams on the menu.

  • Blueberry
  • Lime
  • Pomegranate
  • Hibiscus
  • Peach Medley
  • Root Beer
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Raspberry
  • Blackberry
  • Sugar-Free Chocolate
  • Sugar-Free Vanilla
  • Sugar-Free Raspberry

The Fountain on Locust is located at 3037 Locust Street, just 3 blocks east of the Fox Theater.