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Please help! Going to St. Louis Fri - Mon next week.

happy1004 Sep 20, 2011 03:24 PM

I've never been to St. Louis (or the Midwest for that matter), so I'm excited to visit St. Louis. The thing is I won't have a car and I'll be in the downtown area (near the Gateway Arch). I have a general idea on what to do/see figured out (Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour, visit the Arch, Forest Park, etc.), but would greatly appreciate any suggestions on what to do & more importantly, eat, without having to take too many cab rides. I searched the discussion boards, but the lists seemed outdated.
The trip will be just me and my hubby. No kids! :)
Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. hill food RE: happy1004 Sep 20, 2011 07:04 PM

    outdated? really? I thought the board had been pretty active lately, scroll down for a boatload of related topics like:


    besides, it's STL, things don't change all that fast.

    1. t
      tonifi RE: happy1004 Sep 20, 2011 07:37 PM

      Hey happy1004. One of the reasons you aren't getting a lot of replies may be because of the 'no-car' thing...St. Louis is a city of disparate neighborhoods, and our public transport is fairly limited...maybe you could tell us WHERE you're going and give us some idea as to where we should point you? For example...if you are going to the zoo with friends or something, we can direct you to nearby areas like University City or even Clayton...but if you are taking a cab to the zoo and hoping to hoof it to a nearby place for dinner, we're going to be much more limited in our recommendations, you'll pretty much be eating in Dogtown (not as bad as it sounds! Its a nice little neighborhood with some friendly little bar-food places...) I'm sorry I can't help much with downtown recommendations, I'm sure someone else will weigh in with places near your hotel? It might even help us to know which hotel, since 'near the Arch' could mean a lot of things, in terms of walkable destinations. You might want to add the Botanical Gardens (if you like that kind of thing) to your must-see list. And in the interest of locavorism (and, you know..tasty beer)...if you tour AB, try to visit our second-biggest brewery, Schlafly, as well. (AB lovers...don't yell at me. I can drink Bud Light with the best of 'em. I just like the hefeweizen at Schlafly...what can I say?) We do have our Metrolink rail system, which will take you to several likely areas...but it doesn't run super-late, and sometimes it's a bit of a walk to the restaurants...are you guys up for 5-6 block walks or are you thinking of nice places where you can climb out of the cab in sky-high heels and walk 5-6 yards to the door?

      5 Replies
      1. re: tonifi
        happy1004 RE: tonifi Sep 20, 2011 07:50 PM

        Hi! Thanks for the feedback. We will be staying at the Hilton near the convention center. I saw there are Metrolinks on Google Map. Is it pretty reliable or do you think I should cab/rent a car? Honestly, I was thinking about walking to a lot of the places. We'll probably end up doing 1 nice dinners (dress up kinda thing), but all the others, I want to immerse in the local culture/food! :)
        Thanks again.

        1. re: happy1004
          hill food RE: happy1004 Sep 20, 2011 08:01 PM

          Metrolink is reliable, but perhaps doesn't run as often (much less as late) as one would wish. It WILL take you to the West End, U City and Clayton, each with a lot of choices, but you are going to have to do some hoofing once there. IIRC Forest Park has a cheap or even free shuttle from the stations, but you'd have to research that, inside the park there are only a handful of places and they are few and between (that is one honking big park).

          on Washington right where you're staying are a ton of places to casually check out. pop in for a drink, glance at the menu and make a mental note for dinner as you wander down the street (it does get a bit umm boisterous on weekend nights)

          1. re: hill food
            happy1004 RE: hill food Sep 20, 2011 08:19 PM

            That's good to know! Maybe we'll get a car after all... :)

            1. re: happy1004
              hill food RE: happy1004 Sep 20, 2011 08:51 PM

              you always could p/u one downtown just for the first day or two and then decide. I know people who only use mass transit and it chews up a lot of time. dense restaurant cores are few, parking lots we have. sadly some of my favorite areas aren't transit easy.

            2. re: hill food
              hill food RE: hill food Sep 22, 2011 11:10 PM

              and as Metro tickets are time based not trip based you can always dash into some of the suggestions downstream and keep going to someplace better.

        2. l
          lemons RE: happy1004 Sep 20, 2011 08:14 PM

          The classic dress-up dinner is Tony's, which is a mix of old-school Italian (not meatballs and red sauce, but fine veal chops and such) and more modern American (scallop appetizer w/ truffles). It's downtown, near either of the Hiltons, quite fancy, but not as stiff as some people still think. The great secret to it is that if something isn't on the menu but you have a hankering for it, they'll make it for you if they have the ingredients. A particular nod to the fine soups and a chocolate cake with housemade banana ice cream for dessert.

          If you get a steak or chop, ask for the Italian potatoes, fried with onions and black olives...yum. (Not on menu, but no one will blink an eye.) The family Bommarito always has at least two members on hand to watch over things.

          Other good places, especially not dress-up, but this is the top of the list.

          410 Market St, Saint Louis, MO 63102

          2 Replies
          1. re: lemons
            hill food RE: lemons Sep 20, 2011 08:18 PM

            ahh Tony's, where the staff won't let your errant napkin ever hit the floor. I need to go back some day.

            1. re: lemons
              happy1004 RE: lemons Sep 20, 2011 08:19 PM

              I'll definitely check it out! I love potatoes of all kinds hehe.

            2. hill food RE: lemons Sep 21, 2011 07:21 PM

              I LOVE love love love CityGarden (is that too effusive?), haven't heard great things about the cafe, but it's a beaut and the menu has looked good, odd as the proprietors get high marks elsewhere in town.

              since you're adults and downtown, hit the late weekend nights at the CityMuseum (no relation) have cocktails and ride the roof-top ferris wheel.

              3 Replies
              1. re: hill food
                lemons RE: hill food Sep 21, 2011 07:33 PM

                BTW, The Terrace View is going to quit serving dinner...I believe at the end of this month...and will close at the end of the year, when the lease is up. Too bad, but of all the Fiala restaurants, it was the least wonderful.

                The Terrace View
                808 Chestnut Street, Saint Louis, MO 63101

                1. re: lemons
                  hill food RE: lemons Sep 21, 2011 10:26 PM

                  I heard there were issues, too bad, such an awesome location (I guess better March-October)

                2. re: hill food
                  happy1004 RE: hill food Sep 21, 2011 08:32 PM

                  Ooh roof top ferris sounds awesome! Thanks!!!

                3. p
                  PixieFrog RE: happy1004 Sep 21, 2011 12:22 PM

                  Hello! Since you are taking the Metrolink, Union Station is a nice place to check out. It use to be an old railway station and now contains shops, restaurants, and a hotel. At the Fudgery the workers will put on a show while they make fresh fudge. It is very enjoyable. Here's a link to the Union Station website: http://www.stlouisunionstation.com/

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: PixieFrog
                    happy1004 RE: PixieFrog Sep 21, 2011 08:33 PM

                    Thanks! I'll definitely check it out. I'm getting really excited!:)

                    1. re: happy1004
                      tonifi RE: happy1004 Sep 21, 2011 09:29 PM

                      Now see, I was going to say that you really ought to check out City Museum...but since you aren't traveling with kids and I seem to have developed a reputation as some sort of crazed City Museum stalker(okay...I AM some sort of crazy City Museum stalker), I abstained. HOWEVER...since hillfood is in my corner I'll go ahead and second his suggestion...you have GOT to see this place. It is a little overrun with teenagers at night, but still absolutely worth a visit. I swear to you, it isn't all slides and tunnels...wander up to he architecture museum on the third floor and look at the gargoyles, have a drink at Cabin in the CIty, check out the view from the roof. And after a few drinks, the slides start to look like fun even to the grown-ups.

                      1. re: tonifi
                        hill food RE: tonifi Sep 21, 2011 10:31 PM

                        oh toni, I've seriously thought about shooting Bob my resume despite the words of a former employee of his: "yeah you'll get paid crap and be expected on any given day to risk your life building his insanity" I dunno sounds like more fun than a desk job.

                        there is food found in the place, but nothing remarkable IIRC. (but a full bar in the Cabin!) and Schlafly's (good pub food, great beer, live music with rarely a cover) is just around the corner.

                        1. re: hill food
                          hill food RE: hill food Sep 27, 2011 06:08 PM

                          "yeah you'll get paid crap and be expected on any given day to risk your life building his insanity"

                          whoa. weird that I posted that last week given Monday's news.


                          1. re: hill food
                            tonifi RE: hill food Sep 27, 2011 07:41 PM

                            Your post was the first thing I thought of when I heard. I just keep wondering what more wonderful things we might have had from that admittedly crazy man if he had only had twenty or thirty more years.

                    2. re: PixieFrog
                      alan RE: PixieFrog Sep 22, 2011 05:45 AM

                      Of all the suggestions so far, Union Station, sadly, is the one I'd skip, at least food-wise. It's a spectacular and beautiful old building but it has not ever lived up to its promise as an attraction. No-one has mentioned it so far, but I'd hop in a car or cab and head down to Iron Barley for food that you won't find elsewhere and the charm of a modern neighborhood institution.

                      Iron Barley
                      5510 Virginia Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63111

                    3. alan RE: happy1004 Sep 23, 2011 05:44 AM

                      In case you couldn't already tell, we Midwesterners want you to love us and we're very anxious to please. Be sure to give us a full report after your visit.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: alan
                        happy1004 RE: alan Sep 23, 2011 08:32 AM

                        Haha. No, this is so awesome! You guys have been great. I will make sure to give a full report when I'm back for sure! :)
                        I'm getting a bit stressed cuz I feel like I have too many choices and not enough days! So sad!
                        Oh, and we decided to rent a car for the first day, so we'll probably do a binge eating fest on Saturday! :D

                        1. re: alan
                          happy1004 RE: alan Sep 23, 2011 08:36 AM

                          One more thing - can I drink on Sundays in MO? I noticed that when I went to Denver, I couldn't get linquor except in certain places... So hard to comprehend the rules when you're from California where there are no such rules! :)

                          1. re: happy1004
                            lemons RE: happy1004 Sep 23, 2011 10:40 AM

                            The short answer is yes, but not first thing in the a.m. I'm thinking Sunday brunch mimosas and bloodies aren't available until after 11 a.m. Further expertise will, I am sure, be forthcoming.

                            1. re: lemons
                              hill food RE: lemons Sep 23, 2011 06:27 PM

                              11 AM - are you sure? but it is legal 7 days a week since the late 80's, the hours depend on the neighborhood and the store/establishment. I've bought package liquor as early as 7 AM at a grocery store (hostess gift before a trip to a dry county - I'm not THAT sloshy, much) and been refused at 1 AM. most popular neighborhoods have a "convention zone" designation and can serve til about 3 AM, but the interesting difference from CA is if you're REALLY feeling frisky there are places over in East St. Louis that go 24-7, bars and stores (is Gino's drive-thru still around?).

                        2. d
                          Doug RE: happy1004 Sep 23, 2011 10:11 AM

                          Since you are renting a car on the Saturday, I am suggesting Crown Candy Kitchen for lunch (an ice cream parlor unchanged since 1917) and Iron Barley for dinner (note that the place has not spent one penny on decor, their total focus is on the food).

                          Your Hitlon has a pleasant restaurant in the lobby called 400 Olive. Walk north on Broadway and you come to a nice place called Tigin's Irish Pub at the corner of Washington. If you turn left on Washington and keep walking, you will be overwhelmed with eating choices. I suggest Mango Peruvian.

                          Iron Barley
                          5510 Virginia Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63111

                          Crown Candy Kitchen
                          1401 Saint Louis Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63106

                          Irish Pub
                          PO Box 176, Montrose, SD 57048

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Doug
                            hill food RE: Doug Sep 23, 2011 05:40 PM

                            oh yeah Crown, and it is just a straight shot up and down 70/55 between your suggestions (with maybe a stop in Soulard/Benton Park along the way)

                            y'know I like Iron Barley, I really do, but is it a destination? I don't know.

                          2. t
                            tonifi RE: hill food Sep 23, 2011 06:01 PM

                            Oh, happy1004...now you're going to think we're trying to kill you..."Go HERE! Go THERE!" but really, I LOVE Crown Candy Kitchen. It's very close to downtown, and fun. Go with good directions, a few of the areas on your way are a little depressed/sketchy (although the urban re-development right up around Crown is wonderful, and wonderful to see) BUT...if your time is limited, you will spend waaaayyy too long in line at Crown during peak hours. I would suggest it as a very late or very early lunch...or drop in at some funky hour like 3:42 and just have a little pick-me-up of a giant BLT and vanilla malt (hey, you'll be touristing...you'll need your energy). It's an entirely cool place and everybody goes there once in a while (I love standing in line with the fire chief, the mayor, and two anchorwomen from my favorite tv channel). Iron Barley is a wonderful suggestion, goooood food, very down-home atmosphere...if your home is a redbrick two-family on the South Side. (I mean this in a very good way)...it was a no-go for public transport, and pretty far south for a cab, but it's a fast 10 minutes on highway 55 South if you have a car. For a weekend night, you might see if they'll take a reservation.
                            And I think it did make it to 70 today, but it has been getting a little chilly at night (quilt weather..hurray!) Last suggestion....before you leave town, stop in at Park Avenue Coffee (there are two locations, one is downtown on 10th street, one is a few miles south in Lafayette Square) and buy a gooey butter cake to take home to the kids. Gooey butter cakes are a true St. Louis specialty, they are incredibly sweet, incredibly gooey, and your kids will forgive you immediately for leaving them. And don't let them have all of it, it's really good with a cup of black coffee.(Can you fly with a gooey butter cake? If you put it into checked luggage will the baggage handlers steal it and eat it themselves?)

                            Iron Barley
                            5510 Virginia Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63111

                            Crown Candy Kitchen
                            1401 Saint Louis Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63106

                            Park Avenue Coffee
                            1919 Park Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63104

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