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St. Louis recommendations?


I am going to be coming in from Columbus Ohio to St. Louis, on business and this will be my first time in the city, and possibly the state (though as a kid I went to worlds of fun constantly, is that in Missouri?!) at any rate, I would welcome any suggestions on restaurants (more interesting mid priced cuisine) and though I realize this isn't a travel web site, I'd REALLY like suggestions about hotels and what parts of town are cool and safe and what isn't. Again, I realize this isn't a travel website BUT, I'm clueless. Thanks, in advance for any input!


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  1. Marta -
    These are my picks for St. Louis in the cheap - moderate price level:

    Carl's Drive Inn
    9033 Manchester Rd
    Saint Louis, MO 63144
    (314) 961-9652‎

    Chris' Pancake & Dining
    5980 Southwest Ave
    St Louis, MO 63139
    (314) 645-2088‎

    Goody Goody Diner
    5900 Natural Bridge Ave
    St Louis, MO 63120
    (314) 383-3333‎

    2100 Gravois Ave
    St Louis, MO 63104
    (314) 776-7292‎

    John D Mc Gurks Irish Pub
    1200 Russell Blvd
    St Louis, MO 63104
    (314) 776-8309‎

    Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
    6726 Chippewa St
    St Louis, MO 63109
    (314) 481-2652‎

    C & K Barbecue Restaurant
    4390 Jennings Station Rd
    St Louis, MO 63121
    (314) 385-8100‎

    Pappy's Smokehouse
    3106 Olive St
    St Louis, MO 63103
    (314) 535-4340‎

    Phil's Bar B Que
    9205 Gravois Rd
    St Louis, MO

    Plush Pig Barbeque
    7814 Forsyth Blvd
    St Louis, MO 63105
    (314) 725-4411‎

    Smoki O's
    1545 N Broadway
    St Louis, MO

    Smokin' Al's
    1216 Hampton Ave
    St Louis, MO

    Hope that helps a little

    3 Replies
    1. re: FrugalDanny

      Smokin' Al's closed down from what I heard.

        1. re: FrugalDanny

          My full belly will attest that they were open as of this this afternoon.

    2. Are you driving in on I-70? Be sure to stop at The Firefly Grill in Effingham IL.

      For hotel advice, I suggest going to www.tripadvisor.com

      1. If you drive and take 70 through Effingham, don't miss the Firefly Grill. If budget is consideration, they usually have a lunch special or two that are reasonable. The regular menu is higher but great bang for the buck.

        1 Reply
        1. Phil's is awful Do not go there. Sorry frugal.

          What part of town are you conducting business in?


          14 Replies
          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

            I couldn't agree more. Phils is AWFUL.

            I think alot of my recommedations will be based on where you stay. You can get a Hampton Inn anywhere but I really like the Drury downtown. Great rooms, reasonable price and close to the Metro. I also like The Chase but that is on the spendier side of things. My all time favorite hotel in St. Louis is now the Four Seasons....GORGEOUS views of the Arch/City...I love the bar and the rooms are first rate. I try and go there whenever I can...the spa service is fab.

            As for food...I'd hit up Niche, Frazers Brown Bag, Pappy's, Ted Drew's, Pi and get a pretzel from Gus'....again...once you nail down your hotel...I'll have more recs for you.

            1. re: CheesemongersWife

              aw shucks! is there no one that will stand up for phil? (:-D)
              how the heck does it stay in business for god sake!

              1. re: FrugalDanny

                Thank you! I'll be conducting business downtown mostly. I asked someone about sushi and they mentioned Miso but I looked online at the menu and I have to say it looked a little Mcsushi. It was also suggested that i stay in Clayton. Any thoughts there?

                1. re: martaburke

                  Clayton is nice. The Ritz Carlton is there...it's about a 15 minute drive to downtown..but you can catch the Metro. I always prefer downtown...and if work is paying...stay at the Four Seasons. LOL!

                  OH WAIT! Hwy 40 is closed from Clayton to Kingshighway I believe. I would suggest staying downtown. Then you could go to Niche, Anthony's Bar, Rooster and Wasabi (best sushi downtown).

                  1. re: CheesemongersWife

                    Do not count on a 15 minute drive to downtown from Clayton on Forest Park Parkway. It is at least 30-45 minutes with Hwy 40 closed. The Metrolink light rail is faster and relaxing.
                    For the budget-minded in Clayton, I recommend House of Wong for freshly-cooked Chinese (with some Cambodian on the menu). They will make just about any dish with tofu for vegetarians. Also, Il Vicino for good pizza and salads. Each is a good value with good food.

                    1. re: CheesemongersWife

                      Roosters is a great place. You can get a great gift certificate for them at penny’s on the dollar at restaurant dot com.

                    2. re: martaburke

                      Clayton is very nice. Listen to Cheesemonger's Wife. She is one of the most experienced in St. Louis "city" life.


                      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                        interesting and mostly safe areas include the old downtown warehouse/garment district along Washington, Euclid in the Central West End, Delmar in the U City Loop, Soulard, South Grand below Arsenal.

                        unless you're really into 19th c. cast-iron facades, skip Laclede's landing - amateur night year-round.

                        I assume CheesemongersWife means the Drury by the riverfront, not the one by Union Station. It's an interesting collage of 19th and 20th c. buildings joined at the hip. Drury stepped in when some numbnuts was trying to tear down the old Fur Exchange and snapped it up before total irreversible destruction occurred. also in that complex is a slick 3 story mid-century building that is one huge Vierendeel truss.

                        Clayton is indeed nice, but a bit antiseptic and boring with a capital B. if you choose to stay there, it's not that much longer to take the Forest Park Parkway instead of 40 (sorry, 64 now). I prefer it if I have a choice - smaller scale, bit more urban and you get a chance to look around along the way before it joins up with 64 in Midtown although SLU has not been kind to the streetscape.

                        1. re: hill food

                          yep...the downtown Drury across the street from the old court house.

                    3. re: FrugalDanny

                      It stays in business the same reason other marginal places stick around-the clientele don't know any better. Including Phils with Pappys is a major insult to Pappys.

                      I don't think the typical visitor will find the recommendation for Goody Good, C and K very useful given they're in out of the way locations in dicey areas-definitely to be avoided at night for all but the street savvy. And for burgers, Carl's really isn't a good value.

                      There are a lot of good restaurants in Clayton, but many tend to be on the expensive side, at least for stl. I would consider the Plush Pig for BBQ, Cafe Napoli for italian is a decent value, Remy for med.influenced tapas, mains, wine bar is moderately priced. Blue elephant for thai will be reasonable, though I've never been there so can't tell you about the food. Avoid Barcelona which went downhill a long time ago.

                      1. re: mister

                        I have to include Pomme in the Clayton mix. Both locations....I have had great meals at both spots. One is more upscale and the other is a nice cafe with a decent wine list...and good breakfast. I still think they have the best croissants in town.

                      2. re: FrugalDanny

                        I've been wondering that myself about Phil. We live less than a mile away ate there once a few years ago. We've never even been tempted to go back.

                        1. re: Pylon

                          My biggest problem with Phil's is their sauce. It's runny like watered down ketchup and has the same flavor.

                    4. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                      I agree 100%. Phil's sucks big time. Just awful.Stay away. If you want ribs try Pappy's as others have said. I also would go with Frazers Brown Bag, Harvest in Richmond Heights is good, and we like the Charcoal House on Manchester for steak.

                    5. I contributed extensively to a long recent thread about St. Louis restaurants here:


                      Note, it veers off into a cosmopolitan debate in the middle, but then gets back on track.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nosh

                        Nosh's post that he is referring to is EXCELLENT! Def check it out.


                      2. Kopperman's in the CWE has fantastic breakfast--Idaho peppered trout and once they had a special of eggs benedict with aged beef that was incredible. There are some cool boutiques right around there too.
                        Arcelia's near Lafayette Square is a great spot for Mexican, reasonably priced and a nice atmosphere.
                        Schlafly Brewery if you are in to beer--go on the tour and enjoy plenty of free samples.

                        1. Definitely stay downtown: lots of nice hotels and it's more interesting than Clayton. I have some associates who come in often and stay at the Crowne Plaza - rates are good. DO NOT stay at the Holiday Inn Convention Center: too far from the parts of downtown you'd want to visit. Try staying along Washington Avenue or 4th Street north of Pine. Even south of Pine the hotels are nice: I just like the north end of downtown better.

                          Food - try Sen, Rooster, Tiggins (surprisingly good for such a lousy building) Mosaic, Kitchen K, Wasabi, Lucas Park Grille, Antony's Bar and Morgan Street and Jakes Steaks on the Landing. All are within walking distance of your hotel if you are in the CBD. Personal favorites Sen, Rooster and Mosaic. Not sure if Rooster is open for dinner.

                          There are many other good places - your concierge can help out. Downtown has some fine restaurants. Also, if you are a kid at heart find some time to go over to City Museum and take in the glorious weirdness!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jberendzen

                            Kitchen K and the City Museum- good calls.

                          2. I am visiting from San Francisco. Just went to Smoki' O's. It was amazing! Great hole-in-the wall bbq joint serving St. Louis style chow. The sauce is fantastic, thick, tangy, and spicy. I would recommend the pulled pork sandwich, cornbread (best I have had, and I was raised in Alabama), and cole slaw. I would also try the snoot.

                            On top of the delicious food - the service is terrific. The guys behind the counter walked us through the menu, and let us sample some of the items we were not familiar with (like the snoot). All in all - two thumbs way up! Give it a try...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pwu_88

                              It's a great place. I wish I could eat there every day.

                            2. St. Louis is not exactly known for sushi, but if you've got a hankerin' there some very good ones around, and a bunch of pretty good. There are five in Clayton (six if you count San Sae, which I don't). Unfortunately the best sushi is out in West County.

                              The aforementioned Wasabi- the downtown location is many people's favorite. IMO they do very good job on the basics but only O.K. on anything beyond.

                              Tani is a fairly new place. Pretty good to very good on the tane, but the texture of the rice was amazing. Someone was either lucky three times or "gets it".

                              Miso had very good stuff, but I haven't been there for years. The sushi bar is downstairs (there's an elevator in the back for handicapped); it's a singles scene at night and dark and smokey.

                              Towards downtown but still in Clayton is Sekisui Pacific Rim, a modern looking place with a varied "Pacific Rim" menu and a sushi bar. Pretty good but not top tier. We had really bad service the last time, but I might go back for the Tuesday AYCE if they still have it.

                              The Ritz had an evening sushi "bar" in the hotel lobby, but I haven't been there in over ten years.

                              The downtown sushi scene is pretty sparse.
                              Wasabi is easily your best bet.
                              Asia is deep in the Lumiere casino; not bad but pricey and has the constant "ding-ding-ding" of the casino.
                              Mizu is fairly new. I have not yet been; other CHers may want to comment.
                              The Drunken Fish in LaClede's Landing. Mediocre sushi and every night is amateur night on the Landing.

                              Let us know if you want more details, other areas, or where the best ones are!

                              1. I should second the funky & wild City Museum; not a restaurant but a neato kid's place.

                                One of the best 'hounder things in Clayton is not a restaurant but a small store: Extra Virgin, An Olive Ovation. Over two dozen oils out for tasting, and some great vinegars and sundries. Not far from Tani. If you go tell them you saw it on Chowhounnd.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Richard 16

                                  I would also suggest a trip to the Wine Merchant in Clayton as well. Amazing cheeses, great wine selection...friendly staff. Fun classess and they do tastings every Sat for free.

                                2. I stay at Napoleon's Retreat Bed and Breakfast in Lafayette Square. It's a better deal than a hotel, it's close to everything and in a cool neighbohood. I skip their breakfast because I'm not an early riser and I like to eat at my faves when in town. The hood has some restaurants, but I would pass on them save Bailey's Chocolate Bar or 33 Wine Shop. I've found this area extremely safe over the years, even in the late 90s when it still had a bad rep. I'm in town usually twice a month if that tells you anything. Really, I should just move there- it's cheaper living than KC! Eat @Niche, Trattoria Marcella, Bobo Noodle House, Rooster and from what I gather on this site, Anthony's Bar and Kemoll's are decent. Have Fun! And yes, Worlds of Fun is in Missouri.