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Clayton/St. Louis questions

fress May 22, 2013 08:38 PM

Visiting Wash U with my son in June and staying at the Moonrise Hotel near campus. I would like to eat dinner relatively close to the hotel (no more than 10-15 minute drive/cab ride) - looking for excellent food, relaxed atmosphere - not too precious, and would love to find a place that feels like the real St. Louis (whatever that is...) Niche and Farmhaus seem to get a lot of love here - do they fit the bill? Any other suggestions? For late lunch on the way to the airport before leaving town the next day, sounds like Bogart's is the best bbq - is that the right call? And we will go to Ted Drewe's...thanks in advance for your advice.

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  1. hill food RE: fress May 22, 2013 09:29 PM

    Bogart's, Pappy's or any of the others really aren't on the way to the airport from U City not crazy outta the way, just not on a direct route. (unless someone has a parking lot vendor up their sleeve, but those are a karmic find, now you see 'em, now you don't).

    my new favorite Thai place: Fork and Stix is on a side street across Delmar from Moonrise. and PI is right there for a good crust pizza (and no Provel added for those innocent and born w/o sin).

    that's a great location for getting around town.

    6 Replies
    1. re: hill food
      rich in stl RE: hill food May 23, 2013 01:31 PM

      If you are on Delmar, go west (towards the airport) to Price Rd in Olivette.- Sugarfire is my new fav 'Q joint. Really good meat with interesting sides.

      1. re: rich in stl
        fress RE: rich in stl Jun 16, 2013 08:05 PM

        Many thanks to all the St Louis chowhounds for the excellent advice. Due to weather, we didn't get to the Moonrise until 9pm so decided to just head across the street to Pi, which we really enjoyed: our low calorie meal consisted of good, meaty chicken wings, a small blt salad with buttermilk dressing, and a sausage and wild mushroom thin crust pie. Oh, almost forgot the milkshake we shared for dessert. The pizza toppings were better than the crust, but the table outside in the balmy breeze and the delicious local saison beer made up for any doughiness! And we made it to Sugarfire for lunch on the way to the airport the next day: 1/2 lb of brisket w/ baked beans and macaroni n cheese and 1/2 rack of ribs w/ french fries and cole slaw. Highlights were the delicious ribs and beans, but it was all good. What a friendly place, although I wasn't sure whether to feel good when we were told when we left "I was watching you and you guys know how to eat!" Oh well, back to 2% Greek yoghurt and kale juice in NYC, but it sure was fun while it lasted!

        1. re: fress
          lemons RE: fress Jun 16, 2013 08:33 PM

          Glad you had a good time. Come visit us again. And a compliment like that at a barbecue spot is high praise indeed!

          1. re: fress
            hill food RE: fress Jun 16, 2013 10:00 PM

            "I was watching you and you guys know how to eat!"

            we're everyone's Nonna.

            1. re: fress
              rich in stl RE: fress Jun 17, 2013 09:53 AM

              Of course you know how to eat - you FRESS

              1. re: fress
                ddfry3 RE: fress Jun 17, 2013 05:43 PM

                Thanks for the follow up, glad you enjoyed. I often wonder as so many posters never post after their visit!

          2. b
            bulldogx2 RE: fress May 23, 2013 07:55 AM

            We stayed at the Moonrise hotel a couple of years ago and liked it. Agree with hill food on Pi across the street if you have an extra meal. We ate at Niche (apparently it has moved since then) and were mostly impressed - however, while maybe not "precious", I'm not sure I would call it "relaxed", especially from a high school senior's perspective. But again, I haven't been to the new location. For what it's worth, we are from Memphis and were seriously impressed with Bogart's.

            1. hill food RE: fress May 23, 2013 12:16 PM

              what IS on the way to the airport, on Lindbergh (just south of the airport) at Whitehall Manor road, is La Tejana, a bare-bones taqueria in a non-descript strip mall. really good carnitas and carne asada tacos. it's next door to a bodega of the same name, but they'll cheerfully re-direct you.

              IIRC Niche moved to Clayton (even closer than the old Benton Park location). the 'Loop' on Delmar caters to a college-age demographic so your son will probably like that mix, but there's stuff for adults too. over in the West End (Euclid is a pleasant place for a stroll anyway) there's lots of options, some so-so, some good. South Grand (btw Arsenal and about Utah) is an interesting stretch, VN Thai, Gelato, 'new' American...

              1. f
                fress RE: fress May 24, 2013 10:32 AM

                Thank you all for your responses! Pi sounds like just the ticket - do you recommend the thin or thick crust? (We're NYers so our experience with the latter is limited to Giordano's (meh) and Lou Manati's (yum!) on visits to Chicago...)

                1 Reply
                1. re: fress
                  hill food RE: fress May 24, 2013 05:18 PM

                  well it IS STL, so the default is thin... usually thinner than NYC type (which I like too).

                2. s
                  shannonstl RE: fress May 26, 2013 03:10 PM

                  I don't know about the "real St. Louis" but there is a new place about one block west of the Moonrise, Mission Taco Joint, which is very casual and very good. Also very crowded.

                  1. l
                    lemons RE: fress May 27, 2013 12:11 PM

                    Niche's new sibling, Pastaria, is right next to the new location in the heart of Clayton and is very casual, pizza and pasta, good for the relaxed dining you're talking about. A second for Sugarfire en route to the airport. I'm personally kind of meh about Mission Taco; it seemed underseasoned to me, but I admit I'm a Big Flavor sorta person.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: lemons
                      fress RE: lemons May 28, 2013 08:49 PM

                      Okay, so I think it comes down to Pi vs Pastaria, with the former having an edge due to proximity to the Moonrise (nice not to have get back into a car...)is the food at Pastaria significantly better than at Pi?

                      1. re: fress
                        STLLifer RE: fress May 28, 2013 09:26 PM

                        I think both are very good but very different. Pi is basically appetizers, salads and pizza of which I like their deep dish. Pastaria is a broader menu with a variety of pastas and a few meat entrees. Their pizza is closer to a neopolitan pizza. So it really comes down to which you are in the mood for and if a few minutes of travel is worth a broader selection of menu items.

                        1. re: STLLifer
                          lemons RE: STLLifer May 28, 2013 09:35 PM

                          I believe there are menus for both online. You might try that. The choice depends on who you're feeding. I think Pastaria is a little more sophisticated than Pi, and it's fun to sit at the counter and watch the kitchen and the pizza oven.

                          1. re: lemons
                            shannonstl RE: lemons May 29, 2013 04:05 AM

                            I agree with Lemons's assessment of the two and would like to add that neither takes reservations and both can require a long wait, so be sure to factor that in. I have not been to the Pi on Delmar for a while so maybe the waits are less than they used to be.

                        2. re: fress
                          FriendOfTheDevil RE: fress May 29, 2013 02:28 PM

                          Pi's standout is the deep dish. I don't recall anything else persay that I have ever had there.
                          Pastaria is a more neopolitan wood burning type pizza as already stated, BUT, they have home made pastas and other dishes and pretty much EVERYTHING there is really outstanding.
                          Even their bread service is fantastic. I could drink the olive oil....

                          Do not miss Pastaria...

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