london's wing house in dellwood photo by david kovaluk

London's Wing House is a St. Louis landmark

Dale and Hildred London opened London & Sons Wing House at 2237 Cass Ave. in 1963. Originally, the menu’s focus was hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream, but within a few years, London’s wings and carryout chicken dinners had become the restaurant’s signature. Today, the menu’s core items are still made using recipes developed by Dale and Hildred, something their son, London’s current owner Patrick London, says will never change. The essential London’s order, Patrick said, is wings with a side of fries dressed with cheese, hot sauce and ketchup, and an order of rolls. The hot sauce is so popular that they sell it by the bottle, but Patrick’s not giving away its secrets. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea to share that, but it is something that’s unique and special,” he laughed.

rolls and wings with a side of fries dressed with hot sauce and ketchup at london's wing house // photo by david kovaluk

Patrick was born in 1966 and grew up around the restaurant where his parents both spent most of their day. Patrick said his father took responsibility for trying to grow the business and reach new customers. Dale spotted a glaring gap in the market: late-night dining. “There was a time in St. Louis when late at night, if you wanted something to eat, there were two options. One was White Castle, and the other was us – we stayed open to 5 o’clock in the morning,” Patrick said. Dale frequently worked the night shift himself. “He would be there right when the doors closed at 5 o’clock,” Patrick said.

For decades, London & Sons remained a favorite wing spot, serving several generations of customers in multiple locations by the early 2000s. The clientele was diverse, but Patrick said London & Sons was always supported predominantly by the Black community. “It was a much-loved business, mainly because of the product, but also because of the family – we were always involved in the community,” Patrick said. Hildred in particular was a strong supporter of organizations like the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club, and the restaurant often participated in the Annie Malone May Day Parade.

the original location of london's wing house // photo courtesy of london's wing house

Hildred passed away in late 2006. Around that time, one London & Sons location had been forced to close under an eminent domain order, but the loss of the Londons’ matriarch was a knockout blow. “My father didn’t really have the energy and will to continue with the other location when my mom passed,” Patrick said. Similarly, neither he nor his two brothers, Gerald and Ronald, were in a place to fight for the restaurant’s survival. “Our hearts were broken,” he said.

Over the next few years, Patrick said the idea of reopening London & Sons was “always in the back of my mind,” but the restaurant remained dormant. In 2010, all that changed, and all it took was Patrick’s daughter creating a Facebook account for her father. “I would get friend requests from a lot of people that I knew, and people that I hadn't heard from in a long time,” Patrick said. “The first question that people would ask was, ‘Hey, how you doing? I haven’t talked to you in a while.’ And the second question would be, ‘So what about the restaurant, when are you guys going to open back up?’”

london's wing house // photo by david kovaluk

Within a year, Patrick had an answer for that question. The restaurant, now named London’s Wing House, reopened with a new location in Wellston; the current Dellwood location and another on South Broadway soon followed. However, the challenge of operating multiple locations soon caught up with Patrick. By 2019, only the Dellwood location of London’s Wing House remained, but Patrick said that in hindsight, being forced to downsize the business right before the pandemic was probably a blessing in disguise.

That doesn’t mean Patrick has given up on expansion. Like his 80-year-old father, who still stops by the restaurant regularly to pick up food, he has supreme confidence in his product. “If I could figure out how to get the locations and staff them properly, I could have 20 of them right now,” he said.

For now, Patrick said he’s just concentrating on making sure customers at London’s receive piping hot food and a welcome that’s just as warm, whether at the walk-up counter or the drive-thru window. “When they place their order, we ask their name, and we tell everybody in the back that’s working, ‘Hey everybody, say hi to John,’ or ‘say hi to Jane,’” Patrick said. “It’s a good feeling.”

1412 Chambers Road, Dellwood, 314.521.0877,