Visiting St. Louis
My wife and I will visit St. Louis for a weekend in mid-October. I'm looking for any suggestions for moderately priced restaurants (breakfast through dinner) with particular interest in neighborhood or institutions that are frequented by locals.
Thanks to all who may be able to help!
Alan you are right, it's been too many years since I've been rolling back from the East side at 3 am and stopped for a slinger so I had forgotten that ritual but there is nothing better at sopping up alcohol than a slinger.
Nomad, building on what Anne mentioned. If you are interested in seeing St. Louis from a food perspective then there are a few places you may went to visit during the day as you hit some of these restaurants.
The Hill- It's all about italian. Probably the most well known neighborhood in St. Louis. Stop in to Viviano's or Di Gregorio's markets to get good italian meats. Both Oldani and Volpi sausage are made here in St. Louis.
Soulard Farmers Market- Well over a hundred year old farmers market. Not the best time of year when you are coming in but they are open on Saturdays even in the off season. you need to go by midmorning in the off season since it starts clearing out by noon.
Cherokee Street-Hispanic neighborhood. This is sort of a new institution in St. Louis of a number of taquerias and stores. La Vallesana has the best tortas IMHO.
South Grand- A mix of recent immigrant restaurants. Heavy on Vietnamese/Asian but also Eastern European. Pho Grand gets the most mention.
Lafayette Square-Turn of the century architecture with a mix of restaurants.
The Loop- An eclectic neighborhood, if you need a tattoo or vintage clothing this is the place. Has the aforementioned Blueberry Hill and a mix of restaurants including PI( A new pizza place that was flown in to the Whitehouse earlier this year. Not St. Louis style pizza but sometimes thats a good thing) as well as Riddle's Penultimate Cafe and Wine Bar which was doing local sourcing before it was the cool thing to do.
I know I'm skipping a few neighborhoods but those are the most well known and concentrated when it comes to food.
When you say institutions here's what comes to my mind:
Crown Candy Kitchen- Lunch -True corner malt and sandwich shop-Chocolate malt and turkey melt or blt
Imo's-Lunch or dinner-True St. Louis style thin crust pizza with provel(an aquired taste) There are better versions elswhere and much debate on this topic
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard-Dessert or snack-The original frozen custard stand in St. Louis
Blueberry Hill-Lunch or Dinner-Rock n Roll themed bar and grill but been around for years
Amighettis-Lunch-Italian sandwich- Again there are better places but this is the original.
Someplace for toasted ravioli-Can be found at almost anyplace that is italian or bar food for that matter. Much debate on whose is best or if they are really that good.
Park Avenue Coffee-Breakfast or snack-The restaurant isn't an institution but the gooey butter cake they have is. Multiple flavors but the original has been around in many bakeries for decades.
As mentioned some of these aren't considered the best restaurants but they are institutions and one or more of the food items they serve is considered quintissential St. Louis food. BTW all of the above mentioned are moderately priced. If you do want to go high end a few of the top restaurants are: Niche, Erato on Main(Edwardsville IL), and Sidney Street Cafe.
Good luck and good eating
STLLifer, don't know how I failed to mention Amighetti's! Be sure to go to the "original" one on The Hill, St, Louis's "Little Italy". http://www.amighettis.com/ Charming, old-world neighborhood. If you go for lunch on Saturday you can listen to the live jazz band. Get the Amighetti's special sandwich. The ingredients are not special---but the combination of them with the freshly-baked bread is! Save some room for a cannoli.
From Union Station it is a very short drive to one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in St Louis: Lafayette Square. It has the primo wine bar called "33" (note there is no sign so bring the address with you: 1913 Park Avenue). Very close is Ricardo's, renowned for its Italian food. Also close is Bailey's Chocolate Bar. All 3 are a few steps apart.
When we viist St. Louis (we used to live there), we often have breakfast at Kopperman's in the Central West End. Huge menu, but we usually get the potato pancakes and homemade applesauce and the eggs benedict with smoked salmon instead of Canadian bacon. Fun neighborhood to wander around, too.
For lunch or dinner, we like Arcelia's, a Mexican restaurant on Lafayette Square. Our favorites there are the sour cream (white) enchiladas, and the Chile Colorado. While Arcelia's isn't much to look at, it's in a neighborhood of beautiful Victorian-era homes. If you're feeling indulgent, walk a block or two to Bailey's Chocolate Bar. My husband is addicted to their chocolate martinis!
Pappy's Smokehouse, in the St. Louis University area, has terrific barbecue--by far the best I've had here. It's an easy drive from where you're staying. You're probably better off at lunch, only because they are known to run out of some items by dinner on occasion. Also, Blues City Deli has received high marks on this site, although I can't vouch for it personally. If you're interested in Vietnamese, you might head down Grand and visit Pho Grand or Banh Mi So #1.
When you say you are looking for an institution visited by locals, Iron Barley pops into my mind immediately. Requires driving I-55 south from downtown, but it is still in the city.
You didn't say which Marriott you are staying at, and you didn't say exactly what days you will be here, but if it is the Marriott at Union Station and if you are here on a weekday morning, try The White Knight on Olive and 18th. A hygenic pre-fab from the 1920's.