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Ribs at Taylor's Place in St. Louis

I was recently in St. Louis. Found some great stuff, like Nasiib (3445 S Grand; 314-664-4143), a great Somali; great Aussie meat pies at The Silver Ballroom (4701 Morganford; 314-832-9223), and magically over-achieving short order work at The Buttery Restaurant (3659 S Grand Blvd; 314-771-4443), I came up short on ribs.

I didn't even look at the big box rib places downtown. I did make a pilgrimage to legendary Roper's Ribs in the north, but found them really really mediocre (good snouts, though).

I did spot one out-of-the-way place that looked like it could be good: Taylor's Place (4064 S Grand Blvd, 314-457-0130), but it was closed when I got there.

Has anyone tried it? If not, is anyone willing to take one for the team?

Also, if you haven't tried the mashed potatoes at Schlafly Tap Room, you've missed something great. Waxy and al dente, with magical faux-brown sauce (it's a long story).

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  1. No offense, but why not go to Pappys or Bogarts? They are the best in the city.

    I cannot find any listing or mention of Taylors on Google other than your post and blog. Are you sure they exist? I have never heard of them.

    3 Replies
    1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

      Not offended, just completely baffled by your logic.

      1. re: Jim Leff

        Lol. Why baffled? Have you been there? You refer to Ropers as "legendary". I have lived here all of my life. They are in no way a legend or if they are, they are the quietest legend I have never heard of. It does not surprise me that you were underwhelmed. I repeat. If you want great ribs in St. Louis, go to Pappys, Bogarts, Sugar Fire Smoke House, Shaved Duck, Picadilly at Manhattan or PM.

        1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

          Ropers?? Newer heard of it but have been enjoying Sugarfire - and its in my nabe ;-)

    2. I was curious and called there. No answering machine and no answer...

      1 Reply
      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

        They obviously keep strange hours. When I went by there, I asked a neighbor, and said that they're doing business. And if you look in the gate, you can see it's definitely a finished place.

      2. What do you mean by "big box". I have only heard that term in reference to big super stores.
        The rib places I mention are hardly big super stores. Are you referring to somewhere in particular?

        1. Jim, I've never heard of it, but I promise to put it on my try-to-find-out-about list and get back with you. Contrary to popular belief, I don't really think that St. Louis has traditionally been a big bbq destination in the past. (Kansas City kicks our butt in that area). There were always a few good places, (often in areas where your mom would rather you didn't go), but the best 'que was to be had on a service station parking lot on Sunday afternoon or at the VFW Hall on Thursday nights. Pappy's and Bogart's have really brought back an interest in barbecue as a real restaurant option, and other places are falling in behind, and a couple of local publications have written up some of the new places in town...we're getting there. Like most St. Louisans, I maintain the best ribs & pork steaks in town are found in MY back yard! I'm going to have to try Nasib and the Silver Ballroom...the Buttery is a neighborhood institution, the bald guy who was likely sitting at the counter is my brother. Do they still allow smoking? I think that is why he loves it there...either that, or one of those servers is pretty. And likes bald guys with Harleys.

          1. I've eaten BBQ in some of the legendary and newer places from Peoria, through KC, Memphis on down to Lockhart and I would put Pappy's and Bogarts ribs up against any of those places. Brisket can be a little more finicky but again both of these places are up there at the top. I'm not as big on pulled pork but again these places are close to the top. PM BBQ is really good but 2nd tier on a national basis. I've not had any other BBQ locally in the last few years since PM is close by and Pappy's and Bogarts can't be beat if I want to drive a bit.

            1. When this visitor from out of town was asking here for recommendations in advance of a trip to STL last July, two names of barbecue places kept coming up: Bogart's and Pappy's. I went to Bogart's and here's the first part of the detailed report I posted immediately afterwards, at www.chow.com/topics/860779 : "I have three words for this place: OH. MY. GOD. This was the best barbecue I’ve ever had, bar none. Amazing."

              Below are a couple of photos I took at Bogart's that day. And the second one, showing a full restaurant with a line waiting to order, was taken at 11:15 a.m.

              'nuff said.

               
               
              9 Replies
              1. re: nsxtasy

                I don't doubt that Bogart's and Pappy's are real good. And I hope to try them one day!

                But I'm announcing discovery of a new, good-looking place people don't know about. And, in my skewed food perspective, that's exciting news. I have a deep conviction that there's unheralded treasure virtually everywhere, and I'm always ready - eager, even! - to cast off my old faves if better can be found. Leads for places I've never heard of make me feel excited, not dismissive. Bring 'em on!

                I'm not saying Taylor's is necessarily better. But it's a lead, and reaction in this thread (questioning its existence, and flatly re-avowing the superiority of old faves without having tried it) is puzzling to me. It's really at odds with how I view food.

                Even if Taylor's does turn out to be so-so, I'm certain there are other unknown genius barbecue places there, completely below radar, deserving discovery and love. There's always "better" to be found, if one scrubs carefully enough (not by going online or reading reviews, but by getting in your car and canvassing back streets - i.e. doing the work to go off the beaten track).

                That's just how I see it, fwiw. In fact, I once built a web site to host kindred spirits who shared this zest for discovery - who maintained an open, zealous attitude toward new finds. To me, the hoary places anointed by conventional wisdom as the "best spots in town" for a given kind of food are never, ever 'nuff said.

                1. re: Jim Leff

                  Jim, there's nothing wrong with the desire to try places that nobody ever heard of, with the hope that maybe they're even better than the best around. The problem - and the likely reason why you've gotten the reaction you have - is that this isn't the thrust of your original post here. You said you "came up short on ribs", implying that there are no decent ribs in St. Louis, when, in fact, there are some terrific rib places that folks are well aware of. You also said you "made a pilgrimage to (a) legendary" place that is not currently preferred by those familiar with the local restaurant scene. Yet you said that their ribs were mediocre, as though proving St. Louis has a desperate need for good ribs, while ignoring the fact that this place is no longer representative of the best ribs in the area. So the gist of your opening post wasn't just asking about Taylor's Place as an unknown, but it also implied that there are no other good rib places in town, with this as the reason for going to a place that nobody ever heard of.

                  >> To me, the hoary places anointed by conventional wisdom as the "best spots in town" for a given kind of food are never, ever 'nuff said.

                  How would you know, if you've never even tried them? It seems that while you advocate "an open, zealous attitude toward new finds", you don't have that kind of open attitude towards places that others have already found and loved. Which is your loss.

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      I certainly didn't dismiss your suggestions! In fact, I specifically said I was excited about trying them! Did you miss that?

                      As for my loss in missing good places: I vehemently agree! Even though many people think I've eaten as widely and deliciously as just about anyone out there, and have ferreted out and brought to light countless previously unknown places that went on to become hoary conventional wisdom favorites, I can't avoid the sinking feeling that there's still so much great stuff I don't know and haven't tried!

                      That's why I never use my knowledge as a battering ram to deflect new suggestions and leads, or to lock into dogmatic defensiveness about my favorite spots. I know I miss so very much, so I'm absolutely jubilant at the prospect of Even Better.

                      I'm so extreme in this, in fact, that I spent a decade building a clubhouse so that kindred spirits could swap discoveries from their intrepid food adventures. Here, FWIW, is how I summed it up a few years ago: http://web.archive.org/web/2000051006...

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        So let me get this straight. You are Chowhounds top alpha dog, a proffesional food critic and you come to Saint Louis and skip two nationally acclaimed BBQ joints in favor of a place that has been around for ages but has slipped into mediocrity years ago. Just because Pappy's and Bogarts are known nationally doesn't mean that they are tourist traps or some gimmick. They are where the locals go.

                        When I go to a city for the first time I utilize online resources including Chowhound (I thought that was the main gist of this board) to find out where and what the locals eat. They have far more knowledge and time to comb the back streets than I do. I do take all of the information with a grain of salt since tastes vary but when there is a strong consensus it usually turns out well. I'm not saying I will skip some obscure place if there is a good reason to try it.

                        I'm also curious what made Taylors Place look like it could be good. I don't have your proffesional background so it intrigues me what stood out about this place that gave you that impression.

                        I'm not trying to be rude but I'm really confounded by your link to your food philosophy and your above posts.

                        1. re: STLLifer

                          easy, easy, there.

                          i know I found a new source of snoots

                        2. re: Jim Leff

                          So I went back and read your posts and I would like to point out a problem I see with your approach.

                          If I am going to NYC for the first time and looking for the best chinese dumplings and just stop at the first six restaurants that look promising over a two day period, I'm going to be dumplinged out and maybe only had mediocre dumplings the whole time. Now if I check Chowhound, Serious Eats, etc. and find recent posts of the best dumpling restaurants I can be pretty confident that I'm getting some of the best that city has to offer. Not to say that there may be some new place that has popped up but in our high tech age and interest in food not much stays under the radar for long.

                          It's cool to be the first to discover a hidden gem but unless you are a local it's doubtful you will be that guy. If there is a place that pops up that is really good it will quickly gain attention from Yelp, Chowhound, etc.

                          1. re: STLLifer

                            oh let's not gang up on him, STL is small enough we think we know everything, (although if it isn't passed around word of mouth it probably isn't worthy)

                            I will keep Taylor's on the radar. but I will also try Smokie-O's for snoots first (some places are BBQ, some aren't).

                            anyway everybody knows you go to S. Grand for Asian, Middle Eastern, African and Slavic.

                            the BBQ you save for weird old guys in parking lots in sketchy areas, that's where you want it. nothing better.

                            1. re: STLLifer

                              Folks, the debate about whether and how to find new stuff in a new city is interesting, but it's getting a little far from talking about food itself for a regional discussion, and also a little personal and unfriendly. We'd ask that people let this sub-thread go, and focus on the discussion of BBQ in St. Louis, at Taylor's Place or anywhere else.

                    2. Not a neighborhood conducive to 'que - folks down there complain about smoke odors. And true to form, when I've driven by, it's looked closed and there's been no odor. Not promising. Think about C&K on Jennings Station Road for snouts and rib tips. (You know about those, right?)

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: lemons

                        mmm rib tips. a HS friend turned me on to those (thanks Melony!).

                        about where on Jennings Station?

                        1. re: hill food

                          Between 70 and the old defense plant north of Natural Bridge. (Defense plant! Does that date me! It's what my folks - who worked at one in KC during WW II called it.) East side of the street, gas-station-y looking, chairs but no tables. I could eat the sauce, which is classic STL style, sweet-spicy, with a spoon. Or Wonder Bread.

                          1. re: lemons

                            so sort of Pine Lawn-ish IIRC (and the Wonder Bread plant is nearby too!)

                            1. re: hill food

                              Pine Lawn/Jenningsish.

                      2. We are always looking for THAT place too. It is hard to find with bbq because it has to be fresh. We have been disappointed many times by a place that bbqs one day a week and microwaves it to reheat the other days.
                        Here are a couple of places. We just tried Hobo's in the American Legion in old town St. Peter's. I had a pork steak that was huge and almost boneless. It was smoked and pink all the way through. I could smell the smoke when we pulled up. It had a Maulls type sauce. It was almost too smokey for me. I would go back and try the ribs. The potato salad and slaw were home made and delicious. Someone in our party tried the fried chicken and it was very good . Prices were very reasonable and they are open for lunch and dinner everyday. On the downside it is smokey as in the cigarette kind. They do carry out and big size carry out.

                        On my list to try a little outside stl, Tom Boys bbq Barn on 72 east of Fredericktown. We passed it on the weekend and it looked crowded. They also have breakfast.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: wekick

                          I have been curious about Hobo's forever. Will have to try it.

                          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                            I'm not sure if you can order without sauce. I want to try it a few more times before I form my opinion. I am just getting over a cold so maybe my taste was skewed on the smoke. They have pulled pork and chicken as well.

                          2. re: wekick

                            72 East? As you head for Cape? How far? Before or after the bridge over Castor River? Details, details!!!

                            1. re: lemons

                              It is east of Fredericktown just a few miles or so as you go toward Cape on 72. Sorry I didn't pay attention but it seemed easy to find. We wanted to stop but it was the wrong time of day.

                              1. re: wekick

                                Ancestors in Cornwall/Snowdenville, if we're talking about obscure locations.

                            2. re: wekick

                              "a place that bbqs one day a week and microwaves it ... the other days"

                              that's just cheating. and I think there is a law (OK not on the books, but one defining all that is found good and sacred) I'm OK with all the variations on BBQ that exist, but that crosses a line.

                            3. since we're swerving waaaay out of town (RIB ROAD TRIP later this Spring?!), has anybody tried the place in Beaufort right on Hwy 50 (it's a small town West of Union) in an old service station, near the Voss Market? it's only open seasonally and I've either been in a hurry or it's been closed. It looks very popular with bikers (of the gas-combustion engine type) on a sunny day. and their smoker looks serious.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: hill food

                                Never been, but if you go, be sure to be aware that this town is pronounced "Byoo-fert" and definitely not in the French manner.

                                1. re: alan

                                  believe me, I know, out here the wrong pronunciation is the right one. our county seat is 'VY-anna' not Vienna. there's an old Grandpa Pigeon's sign near the flea market/pawn shop/auction house in (no, not Cānaan) 'Cannon'. nearest airport is in a town with an old French name renowned for water and once infamous for Nazi collaboration but over here it rhymes with 'fishy'.

                                  and don't even get me started on what's been done to Versailles, Bourbeuse, etc.

                              2. Jim, I'm sorry this won't be the most informative of posts...but I asked my brother (who actually lives on the block) about Taylor's. It seems they were, for a long time, a bar, that somewhere along the line acquired one of those massive smokers and would occasionally park it on the curb in nice weather. He doesn't recall any times recently when they were operating, but swears he will call me if he notices the smoker out front. I'll consider it my duty to try their 'que...(SUCH a chore....) and get back with you.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: tonifi

                                  yeah toni, you just give and give for the cause...

                                  1. re: tonifi

                                    I spoke with the next door neighbor, who says they keep irregular hours, but they're definitely in business. And, peering under the gate, it's definitely set up as a BBQ counter inside.

                                    They may be waiting for warmer weather to open consistently. I'd bet on a nice Saturday afternoon in April you may get lucky....and make me more jealous than grateful!

                                  2. Omg! You should thank your lucky stars Taylor's was closed! 8$ for some too sweet mashed potatoe salad with nothing but sweet mayo and mashed potatoes, soggy greens mixed with cabbage and the blandest toughest turkey leg with thee most watered down sauce I've ever seen!! I too had never seen the place open and I have a rule of thumb if it doesn't open when the hours are posted its unprofessional and it doesn't care enough about its own business I usually will not patronize the place. But yesterday I was feeling a little more generous then usual and gave the place the benefit of the doubt. Why oh why? I really wanted to go get my money back cause that was just not right nothing was edible!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Cdebora

                                      Thanks for takin' one for the team!

                                      I went to Southtown Pub for the first time a week or so. Went back again. Good Q...

                                      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                        Lol! I'll try south town pub next!

                                      2. re: Cdebora

                                        Thanks for giving it a try and reporting back, but a few things:

                                        1. I'm not sure turkey leg is an apt litmus test of a bbq place. Ribs or brisket is more the thing.

                                        2. I don't expect great potato salad at a bbq place. In fact, quite the contrary. Really awful potato salad bodes well.

                                        3. re: your rule of thumb "if it doesn't open when the hours are posted its unprofessional", that's strange, I have the exact converse rule of thumb! I don't fully trust any BBQ restaurant with super regular hours. The sort of BBQ I like is ready when it's ready, runs out when it runs out, and the owners sometimes go fishing for a while...maybe a long while. BBQ places run like Walmart are not attractive for me.

                                        Can anyone take a ride down and try some ribs so we can know if this place is any good?

                                        1. re: Jim Leff

                                          Lol! Touché! But I bet you a dollar the ribs are no better!:)