You’d be hard pressed to find anyone on the WashU campus who hasn’t experienced the magic of Ted Drewes. Ted Drewes is a WashU tradition, but more than that, it’s a St. Louis tradition. I firmly believe Ted Drewes is one of the first experiences that brings WashU students close to the St. Louis community. It’s a way of joining the local culture, it’s a way of proudly belonging to our wonderful city.
At this point I should explain…Ted Drewes sells the best frozen custard in St. Louis. If you’re like 3-years-ago-me, you maybe haven’t heard of frozen custard. A lot of people describe it as kind of like extra creamy ice cream. I describe it as ice cream with a secret ingredient of extra Midwest love. And I’ve never had frozen custard made with as much love as Ted Drewes frozen custard.
Part of the reason why it’s so hard to be a WashU student and not have Ted Drewes is because on the day of convocation, when they get the brand new class together to officially welcome them home, there’s this tradition of walking to the quad where there is Ted Drewes waiting for every single first-year student plus their families. It basically takes the concept of “ice cream social” to a whole new level.
If you manage to escape the convocation Ted Drewes (you won’t), you’ll probably have a frozen custard encounter (really this is inevitable) within the first week of school when some student group is set up somewhere on campus handing out free Ted Drewes. Pro tip: In college, writing your name down for the email list is like an infinite currency for getting free food…and when it comes to Ted Drewes I cannot overemphasize how 100% worth it this is.
Of course, nothing beats the actual experience of physically going to Ted Drewes. There’s something pretty magical about pulling up to the funny looking building smack dab in the middle of this weird roadside parking lot. The parking lot is invariably full of cars and there are invariably tons of happy people gathered around the front of this building. The vibe has this sort of awesome simplicity that’s hard to describe: you show up, get Ted Drewes, stand around and eat your Ted Drewes (or maybe you sit in your car), and you go home. That’s it. That’s what everyone is there to do and that’s what everyone does. It’s not pretty or scenic, the air isn’t pumped with music, and there’s nothing flashy or exciting to expect. It is a wholly uncomplicated ritual that interrupts the pace of a complicated world. Ted Drewes is important. Ted Drewes is part of living in St. Louis. Ted Drewes is for everyone.
So when you hear about Ted Drewes during your info session or your tour, don’t dismiss it as just another fun anecdote. Ted Drewes is special, and yes, it deserves the hype. You’re not expected to understand it yet, and that’s okay. One August, when you’re a brand new college student in a brand new city, Ted Drewes will be here, waiting to welcome you home.