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What shouldn't I miss in St. Louis?

My family is meeting up with my wife's family in St. Louis for a quick weekend reunion. I have never been there. I am looking for recommendations for a place that is sort of a can't miss institution in the city. I am thinking along the lines of pizza, bbq or deli but am open to other ideas if they are quintessentially St. Louis.

We will be a fairly large group and there will be lots of kids. We are staying 15 miles south of downtown but I am willing to drive to get a taste of the city.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. Quintessential St Louis = Ted Drewes. They serve frozen custard and are tremendously popular. Do not be dismayed by the long lines - they move quickly.

    Crown Candy Kitchen is another do-not-miss. This is an ice cream parlor that is virtually unchanged since the early 20th Century. The sandwiches are classic.

    1. Depending on when you're coming, Ted Drewes might be out of the question. Seasonal only. I agree with Crown Candy. The neighborhood is s**t, but it's worth it for the chili dog and a chocolate malt.

      If you're with a large group that includes kids, consider Blueberry Hill, but only during the day. At night it's a bar/music crowd and they DO serve the strongest mixed drinks in the city. Their burgers are great.

      Another burger spot is O'Connell's, an Irish pub/restaurant (laid-back, not too boozy). In my opinion, best burgers in the city and not far from where you're staying. They have sandwiches and other foods, too, and a good draught beer selection.

      Thing is, the pizza in St. Louis isn't that great (don't let anyone tell you Imo's, it's a cruel joke), and BBQ is pretty seasonal.

      3 Replies
      1. re: onebrilliantbroad

        Thanks for the suggestions. Both onebrilliantmind and doug seem to completly get from where I am coming. I will look into all of your suggestions. A chili dog and a malt at Crown Candy already sounds great, so I would be interested in hearing more. Same too for Ted Drewes, Blueberry Hill and O'Connell's.

        We will be in town in a week and a half (and looking for a few cheap seats to opening day - hard to come by I have learned) if that makes a difference in terms of the seasonal aspect you mentioned. Neighborhoods aren't a particular concern given good advice.

        Thanks for the help.

        1. re: bananna slug

          You need to take your kids downtown to City Musuem. It is a wonderful place for kids with many interesting children activitites. After I'd suggest going to
          St. Louis Tap room on 20th (just a few blocks away). It is a local brew house with excellent food, great beer, and can accomodate a large group.

          1. re: bananna slug

            Don't worry about Ted Drewes being closed. They have two locations and the Chippewa one is already open for the season. Here's their site: http://www.teddrewes.com/Drewes.asp
            And don't miss the City Museum--nothing like it anywhere. I also concur with the Schlafly Tap Room http://www.schlafly.com/brewpubs.shtml. When you go to their site you'll see that they have another restaurant called Schlafly Bottleworks. I think your family will prefer the Tap Room. Forget about getting cheap tickets to any Cardinals game, but particularly opening day. This is a SERIOUS baseball town.

        2. If you really want pizza, I would say Talayna's. It's greasy, but pretty good and they have gigantic pizza options.
          http://www.talaynas.net/

          1. Definitely Crown Candy and O'Connell's. Both can be crowded right at lunch. And forget about O'Connell's before the game, maybe during the game, which I'm sad to say, you will not get tickets. I'm a BLT and banana malt man myselt at Crown Candy. With kids.....the Zoo(free) and/or City Museum. And the Arch is cool. You can buy tickets in advance on-line. Soulard Market day, Saturday morning, is worthy and it's another freebie. And believe it or not, the AB tour is fun and free.

            1. Fitz' Rootbeer.....a great lunch place and the kids can actually watch them bottle rootbeer behind a glass window...our family loved it! The rootbeer float is huge as are other portions! You should share if you want a float!

              1 Reply
              1. re: msb

                While Fitz' rootbeer is good, Fitz' the establishment is pretty awful even if kids can watch the rootbeer being made. With so many places in town serving Fitz', I think you could easily get some without having to subject yourself to their restaurant.

                Heck, if you found yourself in the loop looking for that type of cheaper bar type food, Blueberry Hill is far more the unique St. Louis experience.