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Oct 13, 2004 09:30 AM

st. Louis

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I will 2nd Riddels because of the wine list and the use of regional food item, very casual, if you want more upscale a new restaurant just opened at 8th and Washington Ave. called An american restaurant, opening by a famous chief for NYC Larry Forgoine

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  1. s
    Stephanie Parrish

    If you want something "different" you might want to try "Everest" it's Himalayan food and very good (a bit of a dive but located on Washington Ave. downtown which is nice). Great Vietnamese can be had at "Bahn Mi Soh" on South Grand (way down Grand near Meramac). it is also a little hole in the wall but the food is to die for (friends from NYC and LA come for a visit and are floored). Enjoy!

    15 Replies
    1. re: Stephanie Parrish

      Hi, I'll be in town for 5 nights( staying at Crown Plaza downtown). What are the must eats while in town for dinner? I am from Los Angeles, which is becoming the authentic ethnic food capital of the work where you will find the best Korean, Japanese, Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese Oh Chinese food. So I am looking for something local, steak, ribs. I am not into being pampered and atmosphere but focusing on the food, so a hole in wall is OK. Thanks,


      1. re: frugalgourmet

        Try Terrene. Niche is also great. Not necesarily hole in the wall but good food in st. louis. For a unique experience you could try The Crown Candy Kitchen. Hope you like it here.

        1. re: frugalgourmet

          There are a lot of things that St. Louis has become known for...must eats takes on a whole new meaning for each person. I think you've seen other posts recommending Ted Drewes, Crown Candy, and Eat Rite Diner. All good places that are worth a few moments of your time. For a few more good moments, try G&W Sausage off of Kingshighway for a great brat, but you'll have to cook it yourself. I also like Smokie O's bbq snoots, Old St. Louis Chop Suey's St. Pauli sandwich, and Eagle's Nest in Addieville for great fried catfish. Good luck.

          1. re: jpg

            Hi jpg, you've got my number- about the bbq snoots, and fried catfish. You don't get the good earthy food like this in LA, Ca. I love a good brat. I loaded up this stuff whenever I am in Germany. Perhaps I could take it home on my last day in town. Can all these mentions reachable by metro/bus from downtown?


          2. re: frugalgourmet

            I would recommend Iron Barley for something local, or at least unique. They are on Virginia at Bates in south city. Try the soup, peppered pork sandwich, smoked fish (smoked in a skillet), or the pasta with bacon and chicken. Ignore that part of the website that says "Just Opened", they've been open for over three years.


            Another somewhat unique experience would be a Bosnian restaurant. I prefer Grbic on Meramec in south city.

            Not unique, but casual with very good food, would be The Pitted Olive on Hampton in south city. Great soup, sandwiches (chicken and goat cheese), plus whatever's in the deli case or specials.

            1. re: Extreme Glow

              Thanks extreme Glow. Soup and smoked fish is a plus on cold nights. Thanks for the mention. I'll try them and let you know.

            2. re: frugalgourmet

              Terrene and Niche are good, but I don't think they (small plates, limited menus of mostly organic, semi-precious food) fit what you're looking for. I hope you weren't looking to eat only in downtown, because there aren't a whole lot of hometown-y options there.

              jpg has some good suggestions, because they're all (kind of) holes in the wall frequented by locals. My grandfather used to be a butcher at G&W, and my dad still knows the owners. Awesome German forcemeat sandwiches on regular white bread. Instead of Eat Rite, though, I recommend Courtesy if you're looking for a greasy spoon. Make sure to hit the Kingshighway location instead of the newer, cleaner one on Hampton.

              Chocofan mentioned Crown Candy Kitchen, which I agree with.

              I'm a South City person, so I recommend my own neighborhood first: Try O'Connell's on Shaw and Kingshighway at I-44. Best burgers in the city, plus they have a late kitchen and a fantastic draught selection. They have some very decent daily specials, too. Oh, and check out Hodak's at Gravois and McNair. Their specialty is fried chicken, but you can also get fried catfish, liver and onions, brain sandwiches, etc. Just don't go right after a Cardinals game.

              1. re: onebrilliantbroad

                Holy smoke, brain sandwiches - I could use that. Now you mentioned best burgers, no frozen meat patty for me. It has to be unfrozen and freshly grilled. 5 nights in STL just won't do with all these tips. Thanks onebrilliantbroad

                1. re: onebrilliantbroad

                  While I love o'connell's atmosphere and well prepared, simple food, their draught beer selection is quite limited and mediocre. Bass, guiness, schflay pale ale, ab products........yawn. Also, I've never noticed brain sandwiches on hodaks menu in the 10 years I've been going there.

                  For the righteous midwest experience I'd highly recommend the 2" thick pork chop at Tuckers. Forget the steaks.

                2. re: frugalgourmet

                  frugal, give us an update when you get back from St. Louis.

                  1. re: jackrugby

                    Hi folks,
                    St. Louis offers some vey worthwhile dinning experiences. Kudos to you all and St. Louis Metro website that offers an excellent trip planner(combination of metro and bus)that helps out-of-towners to get to all of the recommended restaurants efficiently. Can't say about this for L.A.

                    Here are some of the must do(in no particular order) I would recommend for folks coming to St. Louis for the first time. The selection is based on food quality and taste, not based on level of service and restaurant ambience.

                    1) Forzen custards @ Ted Drewes- a 10 min walk from Shrewsberry metro stop. Can't get this anywhere - it is an institution expert at making you heavy but it is a must to sample it.

                    2) Gus Pretzels @ Arsenal Street. Hi quality pretzels(equivalent to what you would find in Germany) and good sandwichs for the price. You could skip Eat Right Diner(greasy spoon low quality food- you get what you paid for type) and opt for this place instead - a classic and certainly not found in California, Nevada and Arizona.

                    3. Sweetie Pie on Manchester&Tower Grove. Not recommended after dark because of the neiborhood but the staff at the restaurant was friendly and the restaurant itself is cafetaria style with good clean eating areas. This is your one stop for soul food, may it be fried cat fish or peach cobblers or whatever. I like their fried chicken. The true test of good food is when I was able to chow down their fried chicken when I just ate a full meal at Seamus McDaniel less than 45 minutes ago. This is THE place for fried chicken but beware that they come in chicken wings most of the time. I like it because the batter is light and crispy without loaded with grease.

                    4. Lampert's Plush Pig BBQ in clayton. Excellent quality meats here, and just the way I like it - meats come with sauce on the side so you can discern the quality cuts and the smokiness done right. The only quip I have is they used baked beans from the can(most likely VandeCamp) while the slaw and potato salads are made fresh daily. The meat portion could improve considering I ordered dinner plate. But this place is BBQ done right than 80% of the most BBQ place I've visited so far.

                    5) Seamus McDaniel in Dogtown offers a strong value for its NY strip stead at $15.50. The blue cheese and sweet Italian dressing are excellent, and must try. I would not go there for burger- despite it is the largest in St. Louis(10oz) and being Angus beef. I particularly avoid burgers cooked from frozen meat patty regardless of cut.

                    Passed by Crown Candy Kitchen, but did not eat there after looking at the menu and the fares being served on the table which are normal. I think the restaurant is known for its festive ambience than serving St. Louis classics.

                    1. re: frugalgourmet

                      Good lord, you HAVE been busy!!!

                      I don't know if you'd spoken to the owner of Lamperts but he is a real mensch.

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        yep, he enjoys what he's doing and it shows. For sure I would visit his BBQ the next time I am in town. Oh, I did not order the ribs but the pulled pork and beef briskets are the high lights showcasing the art of BBQ.

                        I would do Citizen Cane in Kirkwood next time.

                      2. re: frugalgourmet

                        2 Points:
                        1. I live in Sweetie Pie's neighborhood. It is not so bad as to avoid evening meals. Just be smart, and don't leave stuff on the backseat of the car. I haven't heard of any serious problems--there are several successful restaurants and bars on this section of Manchester: Atomic Cowboy & Five come to mind.

                        2. You go to Crown Candy for the milkshakes & malteds, not the turkey or ham sandwhiches. The banana milkshake is a meal!!!
                        Enjoy, p.j.

                        1. re: p.j.

                          Ted Dewes is more of a classic and original in its frozen custards, which are difficult to duplicate at home. Man, I am missing the pistachio custard.

                3. For a fantastic burger, go to The Fatted Calf. The only remaining location, I believe, is in Clayton, which is just to the west of the city and accessible via the MetroLink. They do a classic chargrilled hefty patty, which can be topped with a scoop of soft cheese -- I like the cheddar, my dad likes the bleu. If you need to stay downtown, check out the bar adjacent to Tony's, the upscale restaurant on the ground floor of an office building on Broadway, one block from the riverfront a few blocks south of the Arch near the stadium. Not the bar inside Tony's, but a separate informal place nearby that serves excellent burgers and good bar food. (When they first opened almost forty years ago, The Fatted Calf was cofounded by the Tony's owners.)

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: nosh

                    Thanks Nosh, for the insider's tip. Sounds like you have a winner at Fatted Calf. Do you think it's worthwhile going to Clayton instead of downtown Bar adjacent to Tony for the same burger? Foe a foodie, good tip will travel. It's funny when I normally go to a butcher shop to grind my own patty whenever I have craving for burgers but now and then I like to sit at a burger joint for the atmosphere I normally do not get at home.

                    1. re: frugalgourmet

                      The Fatted Calf in Clayton is easily accessible by car, about a fifteen or twenty minute trip via Highway 40 or the Forest Park Expressway, during nonrush hours. Metrolink has two or three stops in Clayton, but I believe the closest one requires navigating a lot of stairs and then walking several blocks. If in St. Louis on business, or for several days, you might find yourself in Clayton anyway -- many offices and county buildings are there. If not, try the bar next to Tony's -- sorry I don't know the exact name. O'Connell's also makes a fine burger, but note that it is very much a bar atmosphere and can be VERY smoky.

                      On a related subject, as a native St. Louisan I still love the unique St. Louis style pizza. It is an ultra-thin crisp crust and is topped by a melty Provel cheese instead of Mozzarella. Most thin toppings like pepperoni or mushrooms are placed under the cheese rather than over, and the whole thing is cut into smallish squares rather than wedges. Many posters disparage them on these boards, but it is usually my first meal when visiting home from L.A. Be sure to start with an order of toasted ravioli -- meatfilled ravioli that have been breaded and deepfried, served with the tomato sauce on the side for dipping.

                      1. re: nosh

                        Where would you recommend for the STL style pizza and the toasted ravioli. My must visit list is getting long, its hard to get any work done while I am there!

                        1. re: frugalgourmet

                          Sorry, frugal, I don't know where the good St. Louis-style pizza is downtown or near the riverfront. Again in Clayton, try Manhattan Cafe (or is it Cafe Manhattan) or their sister Uptown Cafe. Near Washington University is an old classic, Talayna's. (When I'm in town I'm with family west of the city proper.) Might be worth starting another St. Louis thread for St. Louis-style thin-crust pizza with provel cheese and toasted ravioli downtown.

                          1. re: frugalgourmet

                            Guidos on the Hill-an area with a lot of Stl style Italian places-makes a good example of a stl style pizza. I don't care for this style, but theirs is about as good as it gets. Two friends who are natives and partial to this style also agree. Guidos is on Shaw, just down the street from O'Connels. They also do nice renditions of traditional tapas, but coming from NY you have plenty of that. As for O'connels, I think the roast beef sandwich is even more exceptional than the burger.

                            If you get a chance, try a St. Paul sandwich, which I've never seen anywhere else. Egg foo young with your choice of meat (doesn't include the gloppy brown sauce) on white bread with mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickles. Quite tasty and cheap, a st. paul can be found at any of the small, chinese hole in the walls throughout the city. Ask around at the hotel and someone will stear you in the right direction.

                            1. re: mister

                              To echo what mister said. I am not a fan of the St. Louis style pizza. It is worthwhile to try it once. I find most out of towners don't get it. I didn't.

                            2. re: frugalgourmet

                              I think Ami's on Manchester has the best St.L. style pizza and toasted ravioli.

                                1. re: alan

                                  You folks are so helpful. STL here I come. But first i am going to jog to shed some weight making room for the food.

                                2. re: nosh

                                  Toasted ravioli = tough, gummy, kind of gross item that for some reason people decided had to define St. Louis food. Well, everyone was probably drunk when they decided on it.

                                  St. Louis pizza is pretty dismal, as well.

                                  1. re: onebrilliantbroad

                                    LOL, I don't despise toasted ravs as much as you do, and I have found some that are really good. But the St. Louis pizza deal, not a good one.

                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                      St. Louis is not known for mass transit, so plan accordingly.

                                      As for the pizza. you'll love it or hate it, but not being from here probably the latter. I teach at a local college with students fom all over and if you wanted to separate the locally bred students from the out of towners you'd get about a 99% success rate just by asking if they like St. Louis style pizza. Me? Other than the crust, sauce,and the cheese it's not bad.

                                      Have fun!

                              1. re: nosh

                                The Fatted Calf was the WEAKEST burger i tried in a St Louis burger run. O Connels, Blueberry Hill, Carls drive in and Steak N Shake are all WAY better options.

                              2. If you want a great steak and have a hankering for a classic Irish bar at the same time, try Seamus McDaniel's in Dogtown. I'm positive it is on a bus route and they have the best strip steak in town. An added plus is that they make all their own salad dressings and the bleu cheese is to die for. Another great St. Louis restaurant is LoRusso's Cucina, a wonderful family-owned restaurant on the edge of the Hill. You can't miss with any of the pasta dishes but their stuffed fillet, an 8 oz tenderloin stuffed with proscuitto and cheese and then charbroiled and served with a garlic wine sauce with mushrooms is absolutely delightful. It's fork tender and never fails to make me feel like I've died and gone to restaurant heaven.

                                If you are out and about and decide you need a snack after that Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour (, stop by Gus's Pretzels at 1820 Arsenal St. ( for a salsiccia pretzel sandwich. At $2.50 it's a steal and it's a true St. Louis classic!

                                17 Replies
                                1. re: Socialkim

                                  I would say Dooley's (Dooley's Ltd Pub) has a better burger than O'Connell's IMHO. It is downtown on 8th Street. Burgers are big, juicy and TASTY. Just make sure you don't have a weak heart. I miss working downtown sometimes and catching a Dooley's burger!

                                  1. re: Socialkim

                                    I second Seamus McDaniels, but for their burger--I haven't had their strip steak. It's monstrous and cooked well and has a whole lot of choices for toppings (unlike O'Connell's choice of cheese or no cheese as I can remember). Haven't been to Dooley's though I'll put that on my list.

                                    1. re: KSauce

                                      Seamus McDaniels is a strong value in Dogtown. The blue cheese and the sweet Italian salad dressing is better than most, and must try. The NY strip steak is a better choice than the burger which is charbroiled from a 10 oz frozen Augus meat patty which becomes chalky and not as flavorful as from freshly grounded meats. For the same price at 6oz, Dooley's is a better burger as it is grilled from a never frozen patty. Dooley's more flavorful and juicier.

                                      1. re: frugalgourmet

                                        OK, this is one of the best posts I've ever seen, which is mighty convenient as I am heading to St. Louis with for least 7 meals and ready to eat. This post is mighty helpful and I have the following follow-ups to those who have a few more minutes:

                                        Your one top choice (two if you prefer) for the following food types:

                                        a. Ribs NOT at a "BBQ restaurant"
                                        b. Are there any meat and 3's, cafateria-style fine?
                                        c. Local BBQ other than Lampert's (pulled pork and brisket my most likely order)
                                        d. Local Indian?
                                        e. Local Thai?

                                        And the same for the following specific restaurant types:

                                        a. Casual but good for lunch or early dinner near the Arch
                                        b. Casual but good for lunch or early dinner near the Zoo
                                        c. High end "foodie" restaurant with a local top-notch chef who is likely actually in the kitchen with the caveat that we will take the first seating and bring our toddler

                                        Thanks so much in advance for anything you can do to answer the questions above. I have printed out this entire thing before making my posting already. Hope to print out again!

                                        1. re: gadflier

                                          b. Are there any meat and 3's, cafateria-style fine?
                                          Sweetie Pies and Delmonico's.
                                          d. Local Indian?
                                          Lots of them. I like Priyaa, India Palace, India's Rasoi in CWE.
                                          e. Local Thai?
                                          There is a concentration of two or three Thai places on Delmar, just one block west of McCausland. All owned by the same family. Just avoid the King and I with a vengeance.

                                          a. Casual but good for lunch or early dinner near the Arch
                                          Depends on what you mean by close. The closest places are at Lacledes Landing. None are spectacular, they are all pretty touristy, the least mediocre is Morgan Street or the restaurant just south of it, I forget the name. A little further on is Washington Blvd. Better selection.
                                          b. Casual but good for lunch or early dinner near the Zoo
                                          Just up the hill from the zoo is the art museum, and the restaurant in there is runned by Wolfgang Puck and it is pretty tasty. If you have kids, you might want to consider the Boathouse. It is set on a pond/lake and it is prety neat, the food is so-so.

                                          1. re: gadflier

                                            For the first part, I don't think they do ribs, but one of the more unique dining experiences in town is Iron Barley. They do have pig on the menu in other forms.

                                            a. Casual but good for lunch or early dinner near the Arch

                                            10th Street Italian--Washington and Tenth.
                                            b. Casual but good for lunch or early dinner near the Zoo
                                            Seamus McDaniel's is pretty close there, also you'd be near the Central West End which has several places, I like Liluma's lunch.
                                            c. High end "foodie" restaurant with a local top-notch chef who is likely actually in the kitchen with the caveat that we will take the first seating and bring our toddler
                                            Niche is where you'd want to go, but I don't know how toddler friendly it is.

                                            1. re: sheriffblalock

                                              i was also going to say 10th street...but also Rooster as they serve till 3PM and I don't know your definition of early dinner.

                                              I think you'd be good at Niche. Gerard has a baby of his own, and I think they're be more then happy to accommodate you. I ate their again last night, and the "Bacon & Eggs" aka Pork belly was one of the finest dishes I've eaten in St. Louis. They're really just starting to hit their stride there as they branch out into more exciting ingredients now that they're established and can afford too....and seriously, you'd be hard pressed to find a nicer group then Gerard, Matthew and their staff all working in one restaurant.


                                              1. re: bobzemuda

                                                Ahhh, Bill (not Bob), you are really persuading me to go back to Niche this Sat. night - not that I needed any real arm twisting. It's the W's b/day and we have a res for 6 at Acero and for 4 at Niche (b/c Niche couldn't accomodate 6). We still don't know if persons 5 or 6 are in or not, but now I'm hoping they're not, so that we'll have good reason to cancel Acero and return to Niche. That said, I'm still anxious to try Acero (see previous discussions elsewhere), but, given the hit and miss reports I've had about it, I'm more enthusiastic about going to Niche, where I'm quite positive I'll be a happy camper.

                                                1. re: Wayno

                                                  I'm looking at going to Niche as well real soon. I wonder if we can make it out in time for The Lion King at 8pm.

                                            2. re: gadflier

                                              For B, you might like O'Connell's which has very good hamburgers. It's a pub, very casual and not far from the zoo. The zoo and the Arch are not too terribly far apart.

                                              For "C" I might suggest Vin de Set. You can sit on the rooftop patio, which might be fun for your little guy. The chef is very nice and personable. I would have sent you to Terrene but their chef has just left and I don't know how it will be without him. Maybe Pomme in Clayton? They are also nice, although I haven't personally ever seen small kids there.

                                              1. re: shannoninstlouis

                                                Thank you very much for these quick responses. Trip is next week, so if anyone else would like to weigh in, please do so; I will certainly be checking back over the course of this week.

                                                I was intrigued by the responses that I clearly did not provide quite enough information to get specific answers, so here are two definitions:
                                                "Close" = preferably walking distance, or otherwise within 10 minutes by car.
                                                "Early" = 6.00 pm dinner.

                                                And I definitely shouldn't have labelled both categories abc; thanks to Shannon for capitalizing!

                                              2. re: gadflier

                                                Thai - there is a nice Thai restaurant downtown on Locust called the Sen Thai Bistro

                                                Lunch - The Bellon Wrecking Company on Vandeventer. The wrecking company saved interesting pieces of buildings it demolished, and built a deli.

                                                1. re: Doug

                                                  I was really curious about this place because you see it as you get off the exit from east bound 64. Can you say a little more about the food?

                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                    Everyone I have taken to the Bellon Wrecking Company has liked the food. It is a deli - they have a soup or two each day, a hot specialty, and they make sandwiches. Their focus is on lunch, but they used to be open until 7:00 PM

                                                    1. re: Doug

                                                      Thanks again for the suggestions. First time I've used Chowhound exclusively (though I did "find" and read Sauce when I got to town) for a new town and it was very helpful. Went to Lamperts, Iron Bailey, Niche and Farrato's, all from this thread.

                                                      1. re: gadflier

                                                        Did they, meet or not meet your expectations?

                                                2. re: gadflier

                                                  Not walkable from the Arch, but a St. Louis institution for lunch is Crown Candy Kitchen (2 miles north).

                                                  Local BBQ - 17th Street