Where to buy "fresh," quality food in STL?
I was born and raised in STL but have been away for the last 12 years, and will be moving back after graduating here in Kirksville, MO. I'm going to miss the fresh peaches'n'cream corn on the side of the road for a quarter/cob, the fresh local milk free of hormones (this stuff is white gold IMO), fresh local meat and other foods from the Amish/Mennonite communities.
We're moving off of Tesson Ferry between Lindberg and Gravois and I'd like to know where to source all my food! Does Fetterhoffers (sp) on Gravois have good fresh bread? Any local meat shops, any dairies? I'm sure I'll try going down to Soulard but I don't see that as a lasting option. Any help would be appreciated. My fiance and I have taken to minimizing eating out and eating processed food and I'd love to find some local gems in STL.
Thanks for any help!
Pixelbender, I'm going to be spending a great deal of time in Kirksville over the next several months for work. Any don't miss places I should visit? I will be traveling by car so I can drive reasonable distances. I'm looking for restaurant ideas as well as farmer's markets and similar.
Funny you say that, I was just thinking about a mid-nothern-missouri post. Where are you driving from? I'm from Cape but will be moving to St. Louis, have relatives in KC and have spent a great deal of time all over the state.
As far as restaurants go, definately try Red Rooster in La Plata (12 miles S of Kirksville, right off the highway). It is a log-cabin looking building about 1-2 years old. However, inside is a nice environment where folks in jeans, t-shirts, up to suits can all sit down with linen clothes and candles. They serve the BEST honey butter & croissants as well as a delicious (fresh, good ingredients, perfect size) dinner salad with most of the meals. They take pride in their pressure-fried chicken, my fiance gets it every time. Their steak prices are a little high, but everything else is very reasonable and I've received great service every time we go there. (Oh, and M-Thurs they have dinner specials. I had one for the first time this last Thurs, all you can eat catfish. It was a frozen fillet, obviously something they didn't make up there, but I will tell you it was the hottest and freshest, in terms of cooking, fried fish I've ever had. Very reasonable considering what they started with!)
Farmers market - starting May 5 they have a farmer's market in the downtown sqaure from like 7-11 or noon I believe. Good food, cheap, Amish and Mennonites aplenty. There is a guy with a yellow school bus who is an eccentric guy I actually had as a bio professor once, but he knows his science and food. They have great fresh basil later in the summer, as well as other herbs.
For BBQ - there is "D&R BBQ" which consists of a guy alongside the road with a BBQ pit (off the main rd, HWY 63, randomly throughout the week, though I know he isn't there on Friday when hes over in Edina). He has a homemade sauce that is pretty sweet - not at all what I was used to from down south but has grown on me much over the past four years (ok, I admit, I love it now! It is NOT a KC style though, no molasses I believe). He is always cooking ribs, usually loin chops, and it differs when he cooks brats and chicken. All his meat comes fresh from a meat plant over in Milan, MO. Randy is the guy's name, nicest guy you'll ever meet. He often spots me a sandwich on the way to or home from work! I've had "rib sandwiches" that was pretty much a half-slab of ribs for $4 or $5. I think the ribs at 12/half or $20/whole, but worth it. The meat is kind of half-grilled half-smoked. You'll also usually find him at the farmer's market on Saturdays. We're considering have him cook at our outdoor wedding in St. Louis as well.
Another thing you can find at the farmer's market and at HyVee is fresh milk from Weilers Dairy Farm. I think this is what I will miss the most. There are usually Amish girls selling the milk at the farmer's market, they have 1/2 gallons of skim (more like 1% that you'd get at a grocery store) as well as 2% (don't remember if they have whole). They also offer strawberry and chocolate whole milks, and some of their milks are available in pints as well. $1.50 deposit on the bottle and $2 for the milk at the market (you can take the bottles back to HyVee for the deposit). The first time I had their 2% I proclaimed it "white gold." Absolutely delicious. There is another type of bottled milk available in Kirksville from Heartland Dairy, but stay away! I've heard many "kult like" things from them, they've been in the papers for child abuse and I've heard they do not give back to their community at all. BTW Weiler's Dairy is in Rutledge, MO.
Speaking of Rutledge, MO, you do NEED to go there during the weekday and hit up Zimmerman's Market. Rutledge is about 15 mins north of Edina which is about 20 mins east of Kirksville. It is a Mennonite run market that serves that type of community. You'll find almost nothing in branded packages but instead in clear bags. I'd say about half the bags are brand names (ie: Shake and Bake becomes "Coat and Bake") and the other stuff ir bulk or fresh stuff. You'll find every type of bean, flour, gelatin, and dried fruit you ever wanted. You get 10x more banana chips than what you'd find in any other store for the price. They also have some great prices on spices. They have a decent selection in an old non-working refrigerated unit w/sliding doors. They have a few that those types of communities would use more such as sassafrass bark and raspberry leaves. They were cheaper on the basics than the Old Towne Spice Shoppe I usually use in St Charles, MO. I recommend getting the hickory smoked salt and the pizza spice. I've seen the largest carrots I've ever seen in my life here. I could go on, but you really just have to try it out for yourself. Oh, and BTW I believe they only take cash. I think I'm going to go spend a paycheck there before I leave town! They have a little restaurant you can eat at there, my in-laws enjoyed the meatloaf.
Also try the Washington St. Java Co. on the square for some great fairtrade coffee. You can get a great cup of soup for a light lunch or dinner. I highly recommend the Greek quiche, my favorite. They have sandwiches served on sourdough that are good as well.
You can try Sugar's also downtown. They are a "specialty foods" store just up the street from Java Co. She has a lot of coffees, chocolates, candies, crackers, thai stuff, indian microwave dishes, etc. A little expensive but a neat place to check out for such a small town.
For breakfast eat at Rosie's Diner north of town (just past walmart on your left as you're going north). It's a cheap place for home-cooked food. I'm not usually big on "home cooked" stuff but they have a good breakfast and I've enjoyed their BLTs, open face roast beef sandwiches, and fried okra other times of the day. I'm quite certain the ninety-ish Rosie is still cooking in the kitchen!
Lastly, try the chicken parmesan (or the tour of italy which includes it) at the Wooden Nickel for lunch or dinner. Il Spazio brews a few beers which I find OK. They are a micro-brew kinda pubish place. Their oven pizzas are good, the other food pretty decent, but there is always something keeping them from being great.
That is pretty much it for Kirksville. I talked about what I liked pretty much from the "must try" from the top on down.
If you're going through Macon, MO stop at Raspberry's BBQ just north of town on HWY 63. The BBQ is a little different (not bad, its really good, but for instance their pork sandwich is almost like a ground pork type of texture) but they've got good sweet tea and fried pickles, and of course great service.
If you're even further south in Columbia, MO (which maybe you're from or coming through), I cannot recommend Buckingham's BBQ more. GREAT all around BBQ place with awesome baked beans and sweet potatoes.
I guess I didn't specify that the farmer's market is only on Saturday mornings. Also, I source my meat from Western's Smokehouse and Meat Market in Greentop, MO about 8 miles north of Kville. You may not be looking for bison, etc, but they're worth it to check out for stuff you could nibble on and other stuff.
Kim - sorry I forgot what I had briefly mentionede in my OP, but you GOTTA buy some corn once it becomes available! McCartney is the farmer to buy it from, they're at the farmer's market on Saturdays as well as various places in parking lots throughout the week. I know it'll be a while before it is corn season, but at 13 ears/$3 you can't beat it! The freshest, sweetest, BEST corn I've had in my life. :)
Pix, thank you so much for all of the info! I live in St. Charles so I'm traveling 70 to 63 all the way there and back. I will keep an eye out for D&R BBQ for lunch. I work for PFH and with KV so small, it's easy to travel the length of town to pick up lunch and still make it back in time for that one o'clock meeting!
I will definitely have dinner at the Red Rooster. I've been eyeballing Rasberry's BBQ and I love fried pickles so I'll have to give them a try on my way home one day. I'm going to be in KV for a couple of two and three day runs over the next several weeks, alternating with being in only one day a week so I should also be able to work in a trip to Zimmerman's market. I love shopping in places like that. Thanks for the tip on the spices. My sister is a big fan of exotic combos and the hickory smoked salt would be right up her alley! Hmm, maybe I'll make that excursion tomorrow...
I don't think I'll be in on a weekend so I may miss the opportunity to visit the Farmer's Market but I will keep my eye out for McCartney sweet corn once it's time. I love fresh milk so I may have to invest in the bottle deposit and pick some up at the Hyvee. I can at least keep it at work while I am there, unless my motel has a tiny frig in it.
I haven't been to any of the other establishments you've mentioned yet, except for Il Spazio, which is okay but not quite great, especially for the prices. It's not expensive but you'd expect more for the price than you get. I did like their portobello mushroom "fries" although I wish they'd cut the mushroom into smaller, more fry-like pieces. They were tasty but the thing that kept that evening's meal from being spectacular was the lingering aroma of burned food. Seems someone left a pot on all night long and when it was found in the morning, the whole placed smelled like scorched food. You'd think they would have either tried to air the place out or at least warned patrons before they were seated but I actually had to ask what the odor was, out of fear that the place was on fire as I sat there!
Thank you again for the information!
I'm going to have to weigh in on my experience yesterday at Star Packing on Cote Brillante in N. St. Louis. It's an experience. Grab a number and wait to get called into the big cooler of hanging meat. Tell the fellas what ya want and it's cut to your specs right on the spot. My buddy left w/ 2 legs of lamb and 2 racks for a total of about 34# at $120. I got about 6 # of veal shanks and made some kickin' osso bucco last night. Reasonable place and you know what your getting before it's cut. I've been a country boy for all my life and the meat looked well marbled and consistent with what I would expect from our own "raised" beef. I didn't ask but since they butcher on site, I would suspect that you could get those specialty items like brains, sweetbreads, etc if you asked. Here's the info:
Star Packing Co Inc
3813 Cote Brilliante Ave
St Louis, MO 63113
The Sappington Farmers' Market is an excellent place for produce, cheeses, etc. This is an actual, family owned grocery store. There are several farmer's markets that have been developed in the last few years in various areas, most are on Saturdays: Tower Grove Park, Clayton. Schlafly's Brewhouse in Maplewood has a Weds. afternoon market on the parking lot starting in, I think May.
Check out the Sauce website as a starting point, perhaps.
There are also some CSA's in town.
Good luck, congratulations, and welcome back to town,