ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Lion’s Choice is celebrating its 50th year in business Thursday!

To commemorate the milestone, there’s a special celebration at its flagship restaurant in Ballwin, and all 25 Lion’s Choice restaurants will have special offers for their customers.

Lion’s Choice has broken ground on a 26th location. The new restaurant will be at 4520 Highway K in O’Fallon, Missouri, and is slated to open in early 2018.

KMOX’s Michael Calhoun spoke with the CEO of Lion’s Choice on its 50th anniversary; Mike Kupstas says their signature roast beef sandwich is the same it’s always been.

“We’re still roasting that roast beef for about three hours to medium-rare, shaving it thin per customer order, and putting it on that same butter-toasted bun. So, that part hasn’t changed, nor have the fries,” he says.

In trying to bring new customers through the door, Lion’s Choice is offering salads, and what’s called a butcher block sandwich.

All the local Lion’s Choice restaurants will give out free commemorative wooden nickels that are good for a free mini custard cone. At the Ballwin location on Manchester – the original – they’ll have a plaque unveil, some vintage store signage and they’ll even be playing ’60s music.

“It’s an exciting day,” Kupstas says. “Literally 50 years ago, we opened our first store on Manchester; today we’re going to celebrate with coworkers, friends, and customers hopefully.”

James Beard award-winning chef Gerard Craft is having his Clayton eatery calld Sardella “dress up” as Lion’s Choice on Tuesday. It won’t just be staff wearing Lion’s Choice uniforms — they will use the roast beef to whip up some special dishes.

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