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Aug 27, 2013 06:23 AM

St. Louis visit - Open to additional ideas


We are set to be in St. Louis this Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning. We, four, are staying at the Residence Inn on Jefferson and will have a car.

We are not looking for high-end Chowing, but want to have nice, memorable, St. Louis experiences.

Since we love barbecue, we are targetting Bogart's Smokehouse for one meal. If there are additional ideas, we would love to hear them.

We are also planning on spending Saturday late morning/early afternoon wandering The Hill. Sounds like lunch at Milo's is the prototypical experience in that neighborhood. We want to experience provel and toasted ravioli...any other St. Louis experiences not to be missed?

I have not dredged up any breakfast ideas, yet. Both Friday morning and Saturday morning are unspoken for.

If Bogart's is one dinner (should it be or is it better as a lunch destination?) Where would you recommend for dinner?

After dinner, we would like to take in some music and a cocktail or two. Ideas for that?

Sorry for the late date, for this post.

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  1. Euclid in the West End, the Delmar Loop and South Grand between Arsenal and Utah are all good for a stroll/graze. Washington downtown is lively, maybe too lively and kind of night-life oriented.

    Saturday AM there's always the Tower Grove Farmer's market and nearby Local Harvest cafe - or for the motherhead there's the Soulard Market - another good walking 'hood. Cherokee is a bit scruffier but boasts some excellent Mexican food.

    I've heard earlier is better at both Bogart's and Pappy's as they sometimes sell out later in the day.

    Milo's patio is indeed a pleasant place to kill a few hours and a good opp to discover or reject provel and toasted ravioli. I like their pizza crust.

    while on the Hill check out Vitale's and Missouri Baking Company for cannoli and amaretto cookies.

    1 Reply
    1. What kind of music? I like BB's downtown for blues-y stuff. Hill food's recs are, as usual, good. For a very serious breakfast on Friday, check out Half and Half in Clayton. Sat. is crowded and you'll want to go to Tower Grover and/or Soulard then.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lemons

        Almost any kind of music, Lemons.

        From blues to country...we are, all four, very different but get along famously.

        Friday morning we will be dropping off one person at the Millenium Hotel, so we were hoping for a breakfast close to that....After that, the four of us will probably do The Arch.

        Many thanks and I perceive that getting around St. Louis is not nearly the challenge of other cities....nice!

      2. If you don't mind two q meals, I would try both Pappys and Bogarts just for the experience. Def for lunch not dinner on both. Also real good but farther away in the county is Sugarfire Smokehouse. For music I agree with BB's. Milo's is VERY casual a bar and grill. It is typical, but not typical in the pasta sort of way. If you want that I would maybe try Zia's. If you want a REALLY great spot with some of the best T Ravs in the city,, try Antonino's Traverna on or near the Hill. It was on Triple D I believe it was. GREAT Italian and Greek food. Killer pizza and great T Ravs.

        14 Replies
        1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

          Antonino's has been coming up over, and over, in my research. Consider it DONE!

          Our crew has been known to over-do we are up for the challenge (Lunch at a 'cue joint in New Orleans, and dinner at a 'cue joint in Germantown, Tennessee..same day!)

          Thanks, FOTD!

          1. re: Monch

            a friend lives near Antonino's and since driving by I've been wondering about that place. if you go please report.

            1. re: hill food

              What's to report? It is awesome. Some of the best T Ravs in the city. Great Pizza especially the chickenn based ones. There chicken is delicious.

              Fell free to ask the home towners... ; )

              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                Agree. My single quibble is that the tzatziki sauce on the gyros is strangely sweet. But I would happily kill for the fire pizza, or whatever the really spicy one is called.

                1. re: lemons

                  Yeah I think the Italian side is much better than the Greek IMO.

                  Happy Holiday! I found me some Giesart Spare Ribs and Pork Butt and I am going to do a NICE smoke this weekend...

                  1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                    Excellent. We will, of course, expect a full report.

                    1. re: lemons

                      Lemons...the expected report follows!

                      Many thanks to all who helped with our plans. We had great fun in St. Louis.
                      We started out, on Friday morning, at Rooster. We all had great food and the portions were generous. Rooster has a “hipster” vibe, to our sensibilities, but in the most positive way possible. Downtown St. Louis is lucky to have this establishment!
                      Then a couple of brief walking tours of Soulard and The Hill. NICE!
                      Lunch was at Bogart’s Smokehouse. All of us were blown away. We arrived at 11:15 and that was none too early. For me: Brisket and prime rib, beans and slaw. What a meal! The beef was perfect but the beans were some of the best, to my palate, I’ve ever had. Everyone was thrilled.
                      After lunch, a couple of black and tans at McGurck’s.
                      We collected our fourth (he was at a conference at the Millennium) and started to explore again. Wound up taking the advice of a person in line at Bogart’s (and a Hound, here) and schlepped to Venice Café. What a place!
                      Dinner was at Broadway Oyster House. Chose it, in large part, due to the fact that the hotel’s shuttle would transport us there. We chose inside dining, as it was still blistering hot. We are, all four, devotees of New Orleans cuisine, so I cringed at the menu..NOLA snob that I am. Boy, was I wrong. With the exception of the etouffe, on my wife’s sampler, everything was fantastic and worthy of being served in New Orleans. The red beans were some of the best ever. They even served a dynamite Sazerac, made with Iowa’s Templeton Rye!
                      Saturday breakfast….cannot recall. Must not have been noteworthy!
                      Lunch was at Pappy’s. St. Louis is blessed to have such high quality barbecue. We also enjoyed Pappy’s. I had brisket and pulled pork and both were solid. The deep fried corn was a hit for most of us. I would have to say, though, if I were a resident, I’d be a Bogart’s guy.
                      From lunch we went to the AKC Museum of the Dog.
                      Had to hit Ted Drewe’s, the original location, on the way back into town. That place is a treasure. So old-school and such high quality. But I should have had a “small”….
                      Because sooner than I needed, we were at Anthonino’s for dinner. I truly wish I had had a better appetite. If I had, the toasted ravioli might have hit my palate better. However, the dish failed to resonate with me. I will have to try it again. The provel/mozz pepperoni pizza was a true hit. SUCH a unique flavor and mouth-feel with the provel. The way the cheese skinned over, bubbled up, and browned was reminiscent of open-faced grilled American cheese sandwiches, from my childhood.
                      We chowed well, in St. Louis. The people we met were all wonderfully friendly. We’ll be back.

                      1. re: Monch

                        Monch liked our pizza! He LIKED it! He REALLY liked it! Monch, you come on back here ANY time. Bless you and your adventurous palate. You rock.

                        1. re: tonifi

                          I KNOW - likes provel and didn't grow up with it. weird huh? maybe there's a hereditary connection.

                        2. re: Monch

                          Monch - glad you found the Venice, such an oddball place in an assuming corner of town with such a fantastic patio. been going there since they opened (when I'm in town) and there was nothing else within blocks except the shell station.

                            1. re: hill food

                              I don't know, I've always thought that corner was a little bit arrogant. Perhaps its the snooty way that it has 4 stops signs or maybe its the smug look on the frog. It might just be me.

                              1. re: STLLifer

                                smug as in a "I know something you don't know" way sure, but it is still Benton Park and to this day I know people who would be harder to get to that area than it was to get my dog into the vet's office.

                                hey in 1987-8 that area was downright nuthin' with just a barely open laundromat around the corner and a bunch of heavy Hoozh gawking through the fence and recognizing us as the freaks we must have been.

                                1. re: hill food

                                  Well, I don't go that far back, but I DO now own a 25th anniversary t-shirt from Venice!

          2. bluesy nightlife? check th Riverfront Times when you hit town, keep Off-Broadway, Broadway Oyster Bar, Venice Cafe, and Soulard area in general on your radar.

            and yes STL is easy to get around (and also easy to get lost - it's a cross between Boston and LA)

            of course for silly rock there's always the Way-Out Club straight down Jefferson near Cherokee - Bob and his wife (whose name I ALWAYS forget even though I met them both like 25 years ago and she is a TOTAL sweetheart - wow I'm a jerk) good people always a fun time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hill food


              REALLY appreciate all the feedback. You can count on me to provide a full trip report, whatever we choose.

              Keep it coming, gang. We'll be connected all the way down, during the drive!

            2. I just got back from a month long stay in the Lou. I can heartily second the recs for Pappy's - it is AWESOME bbq. Definitely go at lunch because they do run out of food. There are also some good taco joints for casual lunches - Gringo in the Central West End and Mission Taco Joint in U City both have tasty offerings (I preferred Gringo, though).

              If you want a very typical St. Louis-style pizza experience (with provel and toasted ravioli), there are plenty of places on the Hill, or you can try the local chain called Imo's. However, if you want GOOD pizza, hit up one of the Pi locations (U City, Central West End and I think one or two others). Their thin crust is some of the best pizza I've ever had (get the Maplewood).

              There is a great creperie in the Central West End called Crepes, Etc. which might be nice for breakfast. Half and Half in Clayton also does a pretty good breakfast (get the eggs benedict with chorizo and avocado - I didn't order it but I was jealous of the person at my table who did!). Pi also has a breakfast pizza and other breakfast options!

              For slightly more upscale dinners, I would recommend Bridge Tap Room downtown (my DH and I celebrated our anniversary there, and everything was excellent. The gorgonzola-bacon bread pudding, OMG) or Taste in the Central West End. I missed out on dinner here, but my entire family (including my hard-to-impress chef brother from Chicago) said the food was incredible, as good as anything they've eaten in Chicago or NYC. I did have drinks here one night - they have an extensive menu of creative and interesting cocktails.

              Being from NYC (and admittedly something of a food snob), I was actually surprised at how well I ate in St. Louis. There are some places that are clearly trying (and failing) to be as good as what you'd find in Chicago or NYC, but there are others that are really serving up some GREAT food. Enjoy!

              5 Replies
              1. re: biondanonima


                We are "wheels up" in a couple of hours and will be cussing and discussing about all the options and advice, gang.

                Keep them coming, if you can see fit.

                We stop in Springfield, for the night and "Chowing in the Lou" starts with breakfast tomorrow!!!

                1. re: Monch

                  I was just in Springfield too (my husband's family lives there) - the only dining advice I can give you there is DO NOT try the cashew chicken. It is truly repulsive. My husband loves it, but I think you have to have been raised on it to appreciate it.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    There will BE no meals purchased in Springfield, Illinois. Just a Motel 6 and an early morning.

                    Deli-fresh, home-made sandwiches are what's on the menu, tonight.

                    Road Trip!!!!!!

                    1. re: Monch

                      That's Springfield MO w/ the cashew chicken. In Spfld IL you will find the horseshoe sandwich!

                      1. re: Monch

                        oh if you're rolling up I-44 consider a quick stop in Rolla at the Maid-Rite on K'sHwy between McDonald's and Pizza Hut for some french fries. just the fries. demand they make them fresh and wait a few minutes (they usually do anyway - they're not that busy) they still use suet in the fry bath. and munch them in the car listening to the college station (89.7? good random weirdness perfect for parking lot junk food)

                        whoops - re-read. there IS a reason why Matt Groening and pals put the Simpsons in Springfield - most every state has one.

                        ehh I say 'stet' on the french fry tip. useless here and now but folks do pass that way.