Many of us grew up with the convenience of a neighborhood market within walking distance from home. It was a simple childhood pleasure that I remember well: walking those six long blocks to the ever-so-small grocery with about 50 cents in my pocket, and returning home with a small brown bag filled with Bubs Daddy foot-long bubble gum, Marathon Bars, Candy Sweetart Lipsticks and so much more!
These days, these little markets seem to be fewer in numbers; however, such a place still exists in Glendale. With its wood floor, deli case, sandwich counter and plentiful selection of candies, Hanneke's Westwood Market and Catering was established in 1914 (originally as Westwood Market named after the Westwood Golf Club, now Westborough Country Club). According to Glendale Historical Society, it is the oldest business in Glendale. In 1934, Lawrence Hanneke purchased the business; and for 100 years now, the market has been a favorite gathering place for neighborhood children to satisfy their sweet cravings. “If there is a day off from school or it's after school between 3 and 4 o'clock on a Friday, every kid within a 1-mile radius of the store is in here,” notes Suzie (nee Hanneke) Westerbeck, who now owns the business with her husband Brett. The couple took it over from Suzie’s father, Don Hanneke, when he retired in 1998. “It's the kids’ Friday celebration, and they are in here buying candy and whatever else they can find.”
Suzie, who began working in the market at age 12, explains that the grocery store offers “practically everything” that a customer could need, along with a deli case and lunch counter filled with fresh, house-made salads, pizzas, soups, and sandwiches like The Vineyard (made with turkey, Swiss cheese, a pesto-mayo, sprouts, and tomato). Local companies featured in the market include products from St. Louis Veg Girl, Breadsmith, Kaldi's Coffee, Two Men and a Garden, Dad’s Cookies, Volpi and Salume Beddu, among others.
While Brett oversees the market’s operations, Suzie manages the catering component of the business. “The catering aspect started because of a demand for such a service about 40 years ago,” Suzie recalls. “Customers would come in and asked my dad if he could throw something together for this event or that event, and it grew from there. Back then, there were maybe five caterers in St. Louis, and my dad was one of them.”
Suzie notes that their catering service is one of the preferred caterers at many popular St. Louis venues, including the World's Fair Pavilion, the Jewel Box, Kuhs Farm and Lafayette Park Boathouse. “We don’t have set menus,” she explains. “Everything is always customized, whether it's a seated dinner, stations or a buffet—it can be mixed and matched to be exactly how the customer wants it to be. And we have clients who ask for local products at their events—so I source exactly what they want.”
Through the years, Suzie says the recipes from the market and the catering service have been developed by her father, various staff members and herself, with client favorites, including the beef tenderloin and the pistachio chicken. For Thanksgiving, the market takes orders for fresh turkeys, as well as prepared turkey dinners. “At Christmas time, our biggest seller is our beef tenderloin, which we grill and cook for reheating. We typically cut off orders at Dec. 15 because Christmas Eve day can be the craziest day of my life,” she laughs.
In January, Suzie explains that they will look at some renovations at Hanneke's Westwood Market. “We want to just change the store up a little and put a bit more into the deli and the to-go offerings,” she says. “You know, when we are on vacation, we always stop in the little markets we come across and check them out. We talk with the owners and ask them what works for them. There just aren't that many stores like ours around anymore.”