St. Louis Weekend trip--recommendations please
- Rose Hartmann May 17, 2006 02:48 PM
A co-worker just told me about Chowhound---this is a realy cool site! I was hoping someone out there could help me...I will be coming to St. Louis for 4 days (over the weekend) for a wedding, but will have plenty of time to sightsee and of course EAT! If anyone can recommend places to eat, inexpensive/casual ones preferrably, that are near sightseeing areas or actually are sightseeing areas, I would greatly appreciate it. Something very St. Louis or midwest--I'm an east coast DC by way of Philly girl, so midwest eating is new to me. Thanks for your help! Oh, also, someone told me about a special ice cream place???
You say "ice cream", but I wonder if you mean "custard".
For ice cream, the primo spot is the Crown Candy Kitchen. For custard, try Fritz's if you are in the suburbs and Ted Drewes if you are in the city.
For unique St. Louis restaurants, I recommend Tanner B's on Shenandoah for a real neighborhood hangout, Iron Barley for its menu, Yemanja Brazil because no place else has a Brazilian restaurant with a French chef, and drinks at The Venice Cafe if you really want an idiosyncratic spot.
But most of all, do not miss The City Museum. Only St. Louis has a place like it. In the warm months it is open until 1:00 AM, but I am not sure about May...
Try to go to Crown Candy during the day, you can go there from City Museum. Ted Drewes is adefinitely a nocturnal spot, see all the south city types come out for frozen custard.
The St. Louis specialty that everyone raves about is toasted ravioli. Kind of cool at first but pedestrian otherwise. Stay away from St. Louis pizzas.
Iron Barley is excellent but is a small space, so go there at around 5ish to ensure getting a seat. If that falls through, you can try Frazier's Brown bag, right by Venice Cafe.
For down home good eats, try Hodak's for fried Chicken. Or Sweetie Pies or Delmonico's for soul food.
The "ice cream" place you've been told about has to be Ted Drewes. I agree with Phaedrus that this is a nighttime jaunt. I hope you get a nice, hot St. Louis night--then head for the Chippewa Ted Drewes and, no matter how long the lines, you'll be served before you know it by a smiling, super-efficient high schooler. Order a "concrete," which is a super-thick milkshake made with Ted Drewes super-rich frozen custard and your choice of toppings, all mixed together. It's a classic St. Louis experience.
City Museum is also a must.
I hope you have tickets for a ballgame -- the St.Louis crowds are loyal (all dressed in red) and the fans are enthusiastic but knowledgeable and fair, and this is the first year for the new stadium downtown (and all games are sold out). The Children's Museum is elaborate and unique, but mostly indoors -- I much prefer the St. Louis Zoo in Forest Park. One of the top two or three in the country, free admission (but parking, train, and snacks and exhibits can add up). Forest Park is immense and fun, there is a Science Museum (great for kids) just across the highway, a fine art museum, and an amazing botanical garden (the Jewel Box) with a famous exhibition of glass sculpture going on.
I LOVE St. Louis pizza. It is uniquely thin-crust and crispy, covered with a soft melty provolone-type cheese called provel, with the tomato sauce and most toppings under the cheese layer, and cut into squares. The common appetizer is toasted ravioli, plump meat ravioli breaded and deep-fried and then dipped into tomato sauce. Imo's is a local chain, Frank & Helen's is an old spot (on Olive) but I like Manhattan Cafe (on Hanley) or Uptown Cafe (sister) both in Clayton, just west of the city.
Gotta get to Ted Drewes, the frozen custard stand in the south city (on Chippewa, old Route 66). A rich vanilla-egg frozen soft custard, rich and delish, that gets mixed with chocolate or other syrups and mix-ins to make an ultra-thick shake called a Concrete (can be held upside-down without spilling). Amazing, fun, unique -- don't miss it, especially with kids. Lines move very fast. Last time I was there, a wedding party limo stopped and out popped the bride, groom, and attendants in tuxes and gowns. Crazy after Card games.
One of the best thick char-grilled burgers ever at The Fatted Calf, on Bemiston in Clayton, about $5 with soft cheese toppings.
Gotta correct a few misstatements in the previous post so you don't get confused: It's the City Museum (not "Children's Museum"). The Jewel Box is a lovely greenhouse in Forest Park, definitely worth visiting, but not the same as the Missouri Botanical Garden, which is where you'll find the exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass art. The Botanical Garden is a remarkable place, even without the extraordinary glass works.
And please don't waste your time on Imo's thin crust pizza. It's an item that belongs strictly to those who were raised on it. St. Louis is not one of the world's pizza capitals. Stick to our strong suits.
I completely agree about the pizza----I don't know anyone who likes it outside of native St. Louisans. In fact, the IMO's in Springfield IL had to start offering to have Mozzerella in place of Provel in order to stay open.
I'm sure someone mentioned this later in the thread, but make sure to get to the Hill, some find it over-rated, but you can find lots of great Italian at all price points.
But please remember---DON'T EAT THE PIZZA!!!!
re: chris in illinois
I grew up in St. Louis and like micro-thin crust STL pizza--but I can see how this may be something of an acquired taste...
But let me correct one thing--STL pizza does NOT have to have provel cheese. This is an Imo's/fast food thing. My favorite when I am in town is at Talayna's.
And, for a first-timer--I think a plain vanilla cone is in order at Ted Drewes--that way you an appreciate the unadulterated creamy goodness of real frozen custard.
Not fair. I love St Louis style pizza - but it has to be Imo's Deluxe. And I'm not native! And I disagree about the concretes at Ted Drewe's. They may be ok, but the sundaes really rock! My fave is Fox Treat - raspberries, hot fudge and macadamias. Yum! You can get it as a concrete, too, but that kind of mushes up all the berries and nuts. Every Saturday afternoon we've ever visited the one on Chippewa, there have been one, two, even three wedding parties there in their regalia. But don't try visiting in the winter. They convert from custard to Christmas trees then!