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Visiting St. Louis after an 8 year absence

I'll be there from the 5th through the 8th. Staying in U. City and will have a car. I did a search and found two likely places for dinner, one is Pappy's BBQ (not so hot here in NY) and Pho Long on Olive. I'm not looking for anything high end, just good food. Anything new in U. City? There used to be sort of a Thai dynasty on Delmar. Love Indian food too. And I'm not in the least afraid of some spicy heat.

What do you all think of Pappy's and Pho Long? Thanks a million. I hope I can still find my way around!

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  1. Hi Pat. Welcome back.

    Pappy's is good and gets lots of good reviews. My problem with them is they are often out of stuff especially at night or later in the day so that is my only warning there.
    Pho Long I have not been to.
    I would recommend Lu Lu's on Olive street in U City, especially for Dim Sun. In the Loop on Delmar, a place named Pi has opened since you have been in town. They are across from the Pageant. Excellent excellent Pizza.
    I don't know Indian.
    For Thai, we like Thai Kitchen in Maryland Heights, Land of Smile on Olive in Olivette, or the King and I on Grand. I have not had any Thai I cared for that much in the loop. I don't recognize Thai Dynasty. I also googled it and do not see it so not sure if they are around or not. Let me know if they are though as I am interested in new Thai.

    Good Luck!


    3 Replies
    1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

      Sorry! I was being facetious. "Thai dynasty" refers to a bunch of Thai places that were owned by the same family. They may all be gone now.

      I appreciate the info about Pappy's, but some 'cue is better than no 'cue at all, and that's what I'm used to! Maybe I can get by for lunch before they run out of stuff.

      Do you happen to know the location of the Ted Drewes (spelling?) that's open in the winter time?

      I'll be in town for a "thing" at Wash. U. Med. School, so if anything occurs to you around there, let me know. Thanks so much!

      1. re: Pat Hammond

        I go to Pappy's for lunch a lot and they are rarely out of anything by the end of lunch. It's amazing. The best in St. Louis for BBQ. No beer though...

        1. re: Pat Hammond

          Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
          6726 Chippewa
          St. Louis, MO 63109
          From I-40. Exit at Hampton south. Take Hampton south to Chippewa make a right, follow Chippewa west for approximately one half mile, Ted Drewes is located on the left side of Chippewa.

          From I-44 West. Exit at Jamison Ave. Turn south (right) 2 miles. Turn left at Watson Rd., Ted Drewes is 1 block east.

          From I-44 East. Exit at Arsenal Rd. Turn right on Arsenal, 1 block west. Turn left on Jamieson, 2 miles. Turn left at Watson Rd., Ted Drewes is 1 block east.

          From I-55 North. Exit at Carondolet, make a left approximately 5 miles. Go right on Watson Rd. Ted Drewes is two blocks east on the right side of Chippewa.

          From I-55 South. Exit at Germania Rd. Turn right. Follow Germania, Germania becomes Hampton Ave. Follow Hampton Ave. north to Chippewa. Make a left onto N Chippewa Rd. Ted Drewes is located one half mile on the left.

      2. If you have to have DimSum I would go to Won Ton King over LuLu's. A chinese waitress I know won't eat at LuLu's for various reasons but one apparently has to do with their kitchen. But if you're coming from NY, I wouldn't eat Chinese here.

        What pappy's does best is the ribs. It's a dry rub and they really can't be beat. I brought a friend from NY there last week and she looooved the ribs. Not a dinner place, though.

        India's Rasoi and House of India are both good Indian options (although I haven't eaten at either in a while since I just moved back to St. Louis from NY). Rasoi is a little more upscale but should be satisfying. I've heard really good things about The Shaved Duck (gastropub).

        For brunch you should check out Cafe Osage at Bowood Farms in the Central West end; one of the best french toasts I've had.

        Good luck!


        1 Reply
        1. re: tothemaxx

          I really want to go to Pappy's! Is dinner time there really not advised? I'm not fussy about ambiance in the least.

        2. Ambience is okay at Pappy's, tidier than lotsa BBQ places I've been to across the country. The problem with eating in the evening is that they run out of many things. If you have your mouth set for a particular thing, I'd call ahead. I'm not wild about Pho Long, but am not wedded to that opinion. No, you can get better dim sum in NYC, and I hope you do so frequently. Ruchi on Olive in Creve Coeur is probably the best Indian right now, with a wider-ranging menu than most spots.

          1. I was very impressed by the food and the staff when we tried Pappy's -- best BBQ I've had in St. Louis. Really liked the ribs -- they only offered babybacks when I was there. Get the pulled pork too, but be sure to order it with the "bark" -- the crusty bits are the best parts. I liked the brisket more than my mom did. Sides are good -- she really liked the thin sweet potato fries with cinnamon, I liked the steak fries, potato salad, and slaw. Pappy's isn't too far from Wash U. -- but very close to SLU. Do try to go for lunch or call ahead.

            Where are you from and where are you staying? I sometimes get flamed for this, but if you are from most of the civilized cities and states, you may be surprised that many of even the better places in town still permit smoking, at least in the bar areas; if you aren't used to this, it can ruin otherwise good recommendations. Be sure to check.

            The Ted Drewe's that is open is to the south on Chippewa, the old Rte. 66.

            Are you a fan of St. Louis-style pizza with the provel cheese? If so, my favorite place is Cafe Manhattan, on Hanley near Wydown, in Clayton just a bit west of Wash U. Good toasted ravioli there too.

            For a very upscale experience at reasonable prices, I strongly recommend The Crossing in Clayton. They have been offering a four-course menu with choices for each course for $25 -- I strongly recommend the crabcake and the shortrib. The hottest, most cutting edge restaurant in town is sort of near Soulard called Niche. Sidney Street Cafe is nearby and also excellent. Harvest is close to Wash U. and is very good. I wouldn't seek out Chinese in St. Louis, but LuLu's on Olive is ok for dim sum, and Yen Ching has been around forever on Brentwood. There is a place called Everest that has gotten good reviews and a Vietnamese place I can't readily recall.

            Besides searching this board for St. Louis threads, you can reference the St. Louis Post-Dispatch online at StLtoday.com. Check out the "Eat at Joe's" forum for threads about various restaurants and cuisines. There is also the Riverfront Times and Sauce Magazine, both accessible online.

            5 Replies
            1. re: nosh

              Hi Nosh, and thanks! I'll be staying in U. City. I lived there for 30 years. I'm in New York now. I think we're pretty civilized here, but that's just my opinion. :) Thanks for the tip about smoking. It's a big turn off for this ex-smoker. I remember Sydney Street and Harvest too. I guess I'll reserve Pappy's for lunch. We'll see.

              Thanks to everybody!

              1. re: Pat Hammond

                Hi Pat.

                Yes, the "Thai Dynasty" is still there.
                One other Q place you may want to consider that I just mentioned on another thread is

                You will have to drive into Illinois but not too far.

                This guy won the BEST ribs in the country on a Food Network bon Appetit TV special and he has won numerous other awards. I have not been there but by reputation, it should be good.


              2. re: nosh

                Ditto to Nosh's list. to it, I'd add The Monarch in Maplewood and 1111 in Benton Park for interesting upscale modern american, Acerro(coincidentally also in Maplewood) for new Italian, Bahn Mi So #1, on South Grand for the best Vietnamese in St. Louis. Also,contrary to my usual sentiments about Casino restaurants, the Burger Bar at the Lumiere Place has remarkable burgers and sides.

                1. re: chazzerking

                  I must say that is the very first positive thing I have seen about Burger Bar. I wanted to try it but everything I read is negative.


                  1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                    Bison burger was actually cooked med rare,as ordered,crusty with grilled onions, avocado, lettuce and real ripe tomatoes. My wife's burger was excellent as well.

              3. I tried Pho Long for the first time last fri. The menu is extremely limited, about 10 soups, summer rolls and egg rolls, maybe two rice plates. No Bun (salad like noodles) and I don't think they even offer a choice of noodle for the soup. The soup was nothing special either. Friendly owners. I'd suggest Kim Son on Olive for Vietnamese for a wider selection of generally well prepared food. The Cornish Hen app. is very good, and I also like the omlet served with rice papers.

                I hear that Ruchi, an indian place on Olive by 270 is a notch above the typ. rich, northern style food that dominates in stl.


                1. Here's a better one, Pat...I'm planning a return to STL after 32 years in mid-April this year!
                  At the time I lived there for a year on the Near South Side between Soulard and Benton Park in the Jefferson-Gravois area, probably known now as Senate Square, just blocks away from both the Anheuser and Falstaff breweries.
                  Our "hottest" spots back in the day were Talayna's Pizza, O'Connell's for roast beef, the SunShine Inn on Euclid, Steak 'n' Shake, the OTHodge Chili Parlor (chili-mac) and our local neighborhood place - The Other Mother on Sidney Street. In fact, there was a Hodge's Chili factory on Sidney, just east of the bank. We also frequented a great spot near St. Louis U. which had outstanding burgers and french fried mushrooms, the name of which escapes me.
                  Are any of these still around? I know about Ted Drewes and we went to the one on S. Grand, just like we'd go to the White Castle on Chouteau & Vandeventer or the one near Bevo Mill. And nobody ever walked to anyplace.
                  Planning on a "look-see" trip to Wash U. and some nostalgic rambles around downtown, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, Soulard Market and the Central West End.
                  Any eats suggestions in those parts of STL and fond memories especially welcome. Thanks!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Mike R.

                    Mike R, as I mentioned above, two of the most respected and culinarily adventurous restaurants in the area are located in your old stomping grounds, Niche and Sidney Street Cafe. If you have memories of the old Tony's, you may want to sample it in its new digs caddycorner to the new stadium on the ground floor of an office building on Broadway -- you probably departed just before another brother opened Anthony's in the same location. If you don't want to spend the evening and dress for such a dinner, they run a bar adjacent with good burgers and simpler but fine food. Were you a fan of the classic Italian restaurant Kemoll's? By April, they will be open and running in their new location on the 40th floor of a downtown office building.

                    Around Wash U., there is Cafe Manhattan which I mentioned above if you like St. Louis-style pizza, toasted ravioli, and salad, in Clayton to the west. Just north, on Delmar in the loop, you can revisit Blueberry Hill for a burger, beer and rock'n'roll memorabilia. (O'Connell's may have a great burger or roast beef, but I just can't tolerate the smoke there.) For more classic, non-provel pizza, a new place Pi has gotten great reviews. Just east of campus on Skinker is Bobo Noodle House, which made the Post's top ten new restaurant list for Asian-inspired noodle plates at about $10.

                    In the Central West End, the old Balaban's has reopened with many of the same menu items as Herbie's Vintage 72 -- it has gotten a lot of attention but reviews have been mixed, some loving the food and nostalgia and others complaining about execution, prices, and yes, smoke. Liluma in that area shares the same ownership as The Crossing, and also offers a four-course for $25 option. In and around Clayton, some restaurants that will be new to you have become veterans and even spun off duplicates -- Harvest, Cardwell's, and Cafe Napoli. Two notable newcomers are Oceano Bistro and Araka.

                    1. re: nosh

                      Excellent reporting and many thanks, Nosh...I'll relish every bite at either or both of the Sidney Street eateries. Any particular dishes to recommend? My gut feeling is that coming from NYC, price will be reasonable, so I'll be game to try anything exotic. Speaking of game, while I shopped Soulard Market nearly every week back when and had a few hundred of Omar's Neighborhood Bean Pies, I never chanced a live possum or squirrel or anything else in the cages, but would be interested in a spot where such native stuff is prepared expertly.

                      Any idea if the Bernard Pub (near UMSL) is still around?...that was our preferred burger/fried mushrooms place I referred to earlier.

                      1. re: nosh

                        is Kopperman's still running on Euclid? always like Llewellen's as well.

                        1. re: hill food

                          Kopperman's is still there...as well as LLywellens. And it's Bob and Shari that run the Way Out club...it was formerly on Cherokee & Compton but now at the old Palms spot on Gravios and Jefferson. You can hear both Bob and Shari on our local radio station KDHX 88.1 FM. Shari is the DJ for Dangerous Curves and Bar Room Bob makes an appearance every so often. The Way Out is still a great place to hear live, local and independent music! And if my memory serves me correct...you can still get a pizza and beer for a good price.

                          1. re: CheesemongersWife

                            Shari, that's right (been a while) and I'm definitely geographically challenged.

                    2. Hi Pat,
                      Pappy's is great and yes, get the ribs. As long as you get there earlier -- rather than later it is likely that they will not have run out.
                      Pho Long is fine -- and certainly if one is coming to St. Louis a Vietnamese meal is in order. Why not make the drive to South Grand? My favorite is Truc Lam at Gravois and Spring. Fabulous Pho and also BBQ pork spring rolls to die for. One caveat. You may be the only gringo and the locals often smoke.
                      Have a good trip.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: PK STL

                        has Pho Grand been eclipsed? it was my VN gateway.

                        1. re: hill food

                          nope...it has just moved from it's original storefront on S. Grand to the bldg. next door. They jacked up their prices with the move...but it's still relatively inexpensive. I prefer Mai Lee for Vietnamese food in U. City....but Pho is good....still draws a crowd.

                          1. re: CheesemongersWife

                            I stumbled into Pho Grand back when it opened nearly twenty years ago. At the time, there were six tables, all family members, and very little English. With a tip, I think that the cost of the meal was close to $5. When the owner asked me "You like meal?", I told him to double his prices.

                            Some of my Mizzou professors doubted my story. They came from Columbia. The bill for four was a whopping $22 and the reaction was very complimentary.

                            Sure, they have "jacked up" their prices so that entrees are $7-9. I hit twenty cities a year and cannot think of a Vietnamese or Thai place that is any cheaper and the ones in Chicago are substantially more.

                            My only objection to Pho Grand is that the place is always packed at meal times.

                            1. re: jlawrence01

                              my objection is that they've been inexplicably closed just for that day on 5 out of 7 (tightly scheduled) trips back.

                              1. re: hill food

                                I really enjoy Pho Grand and think the food is still an amazing bargain. But about a year ago,I waas turned on to another Vietnames resto a little further south on Grand(actually about a mile or so) named Bahn Mi So No.1. the food there is all scratch made and the Pho is amazing as is the Bahn Mi. a special favorite of mine is the crispy pork spring roll,(the pork is crispy. the roll is the traditional coi guon) it's definitely worth at least the extra 5 minutes to get there.

                                1. re: chazzerking

                                  The OP was planning on being in St. Loius from 12/5-8/08. You may want to start a new thread about good Vietnamese food.

                                  1. re: chazzerking

                                    I've been terribly remiss in giving feedback, but this reminded me that Ban Mi So 1 (Number 1 Sandwich) was one of the places I made a beeline for. I was so afraid it would be gone, but there it was. We had a wonderful pho, and started with the bahn mi. As you say, every thing was so fresh! The owner told me where he got his bread, wonderful bread. But I can't recall the name; it was a French place. I lost all of my notes in transit, but now that I'm reminded of my trip, I'm going to try to reconstruct the rest. The other fun thing about the lunch at Bahn Mi So One, is that the Ted Drewes nearby (it's the one that's closed in the winter, I think) was open selling Xmas trees and selling frozen custard too! So, we were able to have a hot fudge sundae for dessert! For me, Pho Grand lost it's luster a bit after they moved from the original storefront.

                        2. My best laid plans went pretty much astray, after landing in St. Louis. The place I wanted to try the most from the recommendations here, was Pappy's, and somehow it just never worked out. All the more reason to go back. As I said earlier, I lost my notes, but a late breakfast at Booster's on Melville in U. City stands out. I saw a platter of biscuits and gravy go by, and I knew what I wanted. It was perfectly prepared. I guess it was the owner (a woman) who I complimented, and she said she made it every morning, but had never tasted it! Bottomless cups of coffee too.

                          I lived in U. City from 1970-2000, and in all those years I passed by a little corner place called U. City Grill, maybe the street is Kingsland? It wasn't until just before I moved that I learned they made Korean food! At the airport I said we would go there for lunch, if it still existed. We each had a bibimbap, which was called bibimbob, there. I can only remember a whole lot of food, served over a lot of rice, topped with a fried egg. It was delicious, dressed with a spicy red sauce. Try it! I bet the place hasn't changed since the 50s.

                          Took my host to dinner at Saleem's in the Loop, and I had a wonderful lamb stew made with apricots. Same old Saleem's, but the beer I had was new to me, Delerium Tremens! Quite a kick to it.

                          The last place was a new place called Sasha's on Shaw, or maybe Sasha's Wine Bar. Has anyone been? It was a couple of weeks old when we were there. I think it has promise. It's an interesting space, decorated with wine bottles, corks, and a WHOLE LOT of marble. The tables were slabs of marble and the banquettes were marble, with pillows to sit upon. The room we entered through was lovely, with soft places to sit and a roaring fire. Unfortunately, that was the smoking area. The space seems to have made a more lasting impression than the food, I guess. But I did have some nice little lamb chops, cooked medium rare, and an enormous chopped salad. Dessert, I've forgotten.

                          The last night was a catered banquet at the Jewel Box.

                          Let me say an embarrassed and belated thank you to all who posted here. It was so cold itn St. Louis, but the warmth of the people and places made up for it. You can't beat the Midwest for friendliness! It was good to be back.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Pat Hammond

                            I love the passion you all have. Thank you for being here.