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St. Louis Restaurant News

Writer Susan Smith-Harmon

Top 10 Gluten-Free Dining Options in St. Louis

Whisk: a Sustainable Bakeshop - Gluten-Free

St. Louis’ Favorite Restaurants for Gluten-Free Fare

St. Louis, MO/February 25, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) — What’s all the fuss about gluten?  For those of us who aren’t sensitive to these proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and their derivatives, gluten can be a good thing.  Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that binds ingredients together.  It’s what makes kneaded breads and hand-tossed pizza crust chewy.  But for those with celiac disease and those with allergies to these proteins, gluten in food makes eating unpleasant and for some, downright dangerous.  The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness reports that about one percent of the U.S. population, or 3 million Americans, have celiac disease and another 18 million may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).  That’s a lot of people looking for new options when they eat out.

It’s with them in mind that we put together this list of the 10 best restaurants in the St. Louis area for gluten-free dining options.  We’re pleased to report that there are a lot of options available for diners looking to avoid gluten.  Some restaurants are offering a few specialty items like gluten-free bread or rolls for their sandwiches, and even gluten-free pastas and pizza crusts.  At some places you’ll need to ask about the gluten-free options.  Other restaurants list the options on the menu.  And a few actually specialize in offering gluten-free foods.

We checked customer reviews to find St. Louis’ best-loved gluten-free dining options.  This list of local favorites includes everything from sandwich shops to bakeries, and even a pizzeria!  We wanted to be sure the restaurants on this list had something substantial to offer diners looking for gluten-free options, so we limited the list to restaurants with at least 50 reviews.  That way, we could be sure diners could count on finding gluten-free options at these establishments any time they ate there.  Since gluten is found in the grains we bake with most, it’s not too surprising that an establishment offering tantalizingly delicious, gluten-free baked goods is the favorite!

Topping our list is Whisk: a Sustainable Bakeshop at 2201 Cherokee Street in the Benton Park neighborhood.  This is a bakery with a conscience.  They offer a full range of baked goods—both with and without gluten.  In the five years it’s been open, Whisk has become one of the best places in town to get a really great gluten-free cupcake.  Seriously.  Their gluten-free vanilla cupcake is everything a cupcake should be.  Whisk began as Farm Fresh Cupcakes in 2011, when Kaylen Wissinger began making and selling her cupcakes at the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market.  She went on to become resident baker at Local Harvest Cafe, before leasing (and rehabbing) a building in the heart of Cherokee’s Antiques Row, and opening Whisk (with husband Pete) in the spring of 2012.

At Whisk, Kaylen crafts artisan desserts to suit many tastes, including vegan and gluten-free options, and they use as many locally-grown ingredients as possible—even sourcing their gluten-free flour from Meister’s in Loda, Illinois.  They also get their dairy, eggs, meats, coffee, teas, produce, nut butters, cleaning products, and business cards from local providers who share their views on sustainability and deliciousness.  This is a bakery after all.

There are lots of options for gluten-free dining in St. Louis, as this list bears out. Most didn’t make the list.  These are just the favorites according to customer reviews.  Here is the complete top 10 list of St. Louis restaurants serving gluten-free fare:

1. Whisk: a Sustainable Bakeshop (4.67 stars/92 reviews) Benton Park, 2201 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 932-5166.
2. Hendel’s Restaurant (4.62 stars/375 reviews) Old Town Florissant, 599 St. Denis Street, Florissant, MO 63031, (314) 837-2304.
3. Lulu’s Local Eatery (4.59 stars/237 reviews) Tower Grove South, 3201 South Grand, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 300-8215.
4. Pizzeoli – Wood Fired Neapolitan Pizza (4.58 stars/161 reviews) Soulard, 1928 South 12th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 449-1111.
5. The Fountain On Locust (4.52 stars/1031 reviews) Midtown, 3037 Locust Street, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 535-7800.
6. Cleveland-Heath (4.51 stars/600 reviews) Edwardsville, 106 North Main Street, Edwardsville, IL 62025, (618) 307-4830.
7. Piccione Pastry (4.51 stars/270 reviews) The Loop, 6197 Delmar Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63112, (314) 932-1355.
8. Caruso’s Deli (4.48 stars/128 reviews) Downtown, 1312 Washington Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 588-1096.
9. SweetArt (4.44 stars/284 reviews) Shaw, 2203 South 39th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 474-0604.
10. Mango Peruvian (4.34 stars/1111 reviews) Downtown, 1001 Washington Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 621-9993.

As usually happens, a couple of restaurants got impressively high marks for their gluten-free options, but didn’t make the list because they just hadn’t had enough reviews yet.  One of them is dedicated to gluten-free cooking; the other is Tex-Mex, with a menu based largely on corn, rice, beans, and animal protein—all naturally gluten-free.  Neither restaurant had enough reviews to make our top 10 list, but both are worth checking out, and so warrant Honorable Mentions:

New Day gluten-free Bakery (4.72 stars/33 reviews) Clayton, 7807 Clayton Road, Clayton, MO 63117, (314) 833-5180.  This is a dedicated gluten and peanut free café and bakery offering an extensive variety of gluten-free food made from scratch daily.

Chaparritos Mexican Restaurant (4.76 stars/34 reviews) Gravois Park, 2812 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 240-5990.  Chef-owner Rafael Marcelino’s South City joint offers his own blend of authentic, scratch-made Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine with a large selection of gluten-free items.

Monty’s Sandwich Co. closing downtown sandwich shop

Monty’s Sandwich Co., St. Louis, MO

Lease Issues Behind Monty’s Sandwich Co. Closure

St. Louis, MO/February 25, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Downtown St. Louis is losing a lunchtime favorite.  Monty’s Sandwich Company at 200 N. Broadway is closing.  Owners Steve May and Joel Williams made the announcement this week on the restaurant’s Facebook page.  In the post, they said they were “unable to reach an agreement with the building regarding our lease and it is with great sadness that we will be closing the doors next Friday, the 3rd of March.”  The building their shop is in was sold last year for $12.7 million.  The current owner is Mariner Real Estate Management of Kansas City.

We had recently featured the great grilled cheese sandwiches at Monty’s Sandwich Co. in an article called Celebrating National Cheese Lover’s Day.  May and Williams opened Monty’s in November 2011.  It was their goal to elevate the humble sandwich to a meal worth seeking out.  They even named their sandwich shop Monty’s in honor of John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who’s credited with inventing the sandwich so that he could eat dinner while he gambled.  May and Williams have said their goal was to bring St. Louis diners a better, fresher sandwich.  So Monty’s hand-crafted all their meals using meats roasted in house, locally baked artisan breads, and hand-picked produce.  And hungry diners in downtown St. Louis noticed the quality, giving Monty’s high ratings (4 stars/134 reviews on Yelp, 4.5 stars/81 reviews Tripadvisor).  Some days they were so busy, people were lining up outside!

The post on Monty’s Facebook page went on to thank their loyal customers for the success they had, “I am very proud of what we have accomplished over the years and the quality of food we have served.  We have made a lot of friends downtown and throughout the Saint Louis area that we will miss greatly.  It has been a pleasure serving you over the years and we appreciate your loyalty and patronage.”  It is unclear if May and Williams will reopen Monty’s somewhere else, or even remain in the restaurant business together.  But for one more week, they’ll be making some of the best sandwiches in town (and breakfast too), from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every day but Sunday through March 3rd.

Contact Information

Monty’s Sandwich Company
Owner: Steve May and Joel Williams
200 N. Broadway, Ste. 110
Downtown
St. Louis, MO
Phone: (314) 241-7900
http://stlmontys.com/
info@stlmontys.com

J Greene’s Pub Is Irish Tradition + Family Recipes + Local Sports

J Greene’s Pub Is Irish Tradition + Family Recipes + Local Sports

St. Louis County’s Authentic Irish Pub is J Greene’s

Warson Woods, MO/February 22, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – When you think Irish pub, you might think of beer, and Celtic music, darts and St. Patrick’s Day.  And those are certainly fine images of some of the roles Irish pubs play in the St. Louis community.  But do you think of a chef conceived menu of scratch made food and slow-roasted meats?  How about big screen TVs and online ordering for carryout?  You should, if you’re thinking of J Greene’s Irish Pub at 10017 Manchester Road in Warson Woods.  This is a neighborhood pub in the old tradition.  It’s the kind of place where families gather for a meal, where friends meet to share the events of the day over drinks, and the community comes together to cheer on their favorite teams.  Owners Juliet and Jason Greene wouldn’t have it any other way.

In proper Irish-American tradition, you’ll find their menu includes Fish & Chips (hand-dipped, beer-battered cod and fried curry chips), Corned Beef & Cabbage (sliced from the whole brisket they cooked overnight), as well as Bangers & Mash (which includes their house made pork sausage, and Guinness onions).  You’ll also find their signature dish: John R. Greene’s Beef Tenderloin Medallions (with garlic mashed potatoes and an Irish whiskey mushroom and onion cream sauce).  Even more Irish favorites are coming to the J. Greene menu starting March 1st, including braised lamb shank!  Since this is a terrific sports bar too, their menu also includes all the sandwiches, pizza, and apps you’d expect—including J Greene’s awesome take on that St. Louis favorite, toasted ravioli—giant, handmade, golden brown, and delicious!  Want something sweet?  This is an Irish Pub, so try the Chocolate Guinness Cake: it’s moist chocolate cake made with Guinness stout, and topped with Bailey’s whipped cream and Jameson anglaise.  Erin go braugh!

At J Greene’s, any day is a good day to celebrate your Irish, but St. Patrick’s Day is their favorite day of the year!  So they’ve planned some special events to celebrate:

Saturday, March 11th, skip the downtown crowds after the parade and head to J Greene’s for authentic Irish food and drinks!
Tuesday, March 14th, the Kräftig team visit J Greene’s for trivia night starting at 8:00 p.m.  There will be free samples and giveaways, including some excellent Blues Hockey tickets in section 124!

Thursday, March 16th, the Jameson team will be along to help you get an early start on your St. Patrick’s Day festivities!  Join them from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for free samples and great giveaways!

Friday, March 17th, celebrate St Patrick’s Day at one of the most authentic Irish Pubs in St. Louis County!  J Greene’s Irish Pub is pulling out the stops for a day filled with grown-up fun!  There will be visits from the Guinness team, the girls from Tullamore Dew, and Bushmills will feature their newest Irish whiskey, Red Bush!  It’s a day of free samples, giveaways, and authentic Irish food and drinks!

J Greene’s opens at 11:00 a.m. each day. Sunday – Tuesday they’re open until 11:00 p.m., Wednesday – Thursday until midnight, and Friday – Saturday, until 1:00 am.  Since J Greene’s Pub is all about celebrating the season, you won’t want to miss their Mardi Gras Crawfish Boil!  This Friday – Sunday, February 24 – 26, they’re offering an authentic Louisiana craw-fish boil and other Cajun specials to celebrate Mardi Gras.  A ligean ar an dea-uair rolla! (Let the good times roll…Irish style!)

Contact Information:

J Greene’s Pub
Owners: Juliet and Jason Greene
10017 Manchester Road
Warson Woods, MO 63122
Phone: (314) 394-2330
jgreenespub@gmail.com

Chipotle Is Latest Loop Restaurant to Close

Chipotle Is Latest Loop Restaurant to Close

Lease, Loop Trolley Construction Factors in Chipotle Closing

University City, MO/February 20, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) — The New Trolley that will link University City to Forest Park is going to be a good thing for both businesses along Delmar and visitors to The Loop.  But there’s no denying that construction of the trolley tracks is causing traffic congestion and mess that is deterring some visitors.  Some businesses claim there’s been a noticeable downtick in sales for many of the restaurants, entertainment venues, and retailers during construction of the $50 Million dollar Loop Trolley.

Chipotle Mexcian Grill at 6316 Delmar Blvd. in University City will shut its doors at the end of February—when the lease is up for that site.  The fast-food chain offers Mexican cuisine, including design-your-own burritos, tacos, salads, and bowls.  Chipotle is the latest in a spate of restaurant closings in the area over the last year.  Independents like 8 Dollar Deli, Moya Grill, Seoul Q, and Zippy Burger are among the closure.  Several chain restaurants have also shut their doors, including Chipotle neighbor, Noodles & Co., along with a Panera location (St. Louis Bread Co.), Smoothie King, and Subway.

Only Subway and Chipotle are likely to return any time soon.  There are plans in the works to reopen the Subway Restaurant in a different location a few blocks away.  It is supposed to open early this year at 6253 Delmar, which faces a landscaped pathway through the neighborhood.  A Chipotle company spokesperson says there are plans to open new locations in the metro area, and another location in the Loop is probable, but no details or timetable have been worked out.

Chipotle opened its Loop location in 2007.  That location will close at the end of the day on February 28, 2017.  Ironically, the corporate website is still advertising for crew members for the Delmar Loop location.  There are currently nine other Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in the St. Louis area.  The closest alternatives for Chipotle fans are the SLU location at 212 South Grand Blvd. in Midtown, and the 1 North Central location in downtown Clayton.

The Best of the Restaurant Top 10s

Restaurant Top 10s - Charlie Gitto's on The Hill

St. Louis’ #1 Restaurants

St. Louis, MO/February 17, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Each week we look at the top of the top 10 restaurant lists and bring you the highlights.  What follows is not a top 10 list, but a compilation of restaurants that are ranked #1 on a top ten list.  Just like the top ten’s we publish every week, these rankings are based on customer reviews. So the restaurants featured here are the favorites among St. Louis diners.

As we look at the top of the restaurant charts this week, we find some longtime St. Louis favorites still leading in their particular culinary niche.  But there are some relatively new restaurants too.  St. Louis is a city of culinary adventurers, movers and shakers.  So it’s not surprising that some of the newest restaurants in town have quickly become some of our favorites.  Some filled a void in St. louis’ dining scene; others just do it better than anyone else.

Here are ten of St. Louis’ favorites.  Whether an old favorite, or a hot new place, each is exemplary in its own right, and that’s why each holds the top spot in their respective Top 10 categories:

Brunch:

Egg (4.62 stars/164) Benton Park, 2200 Gravois Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 202-8244.  This has been a top 10 brunch spot since it first began as a pop up event inside the original Spare No Rib location.  It’s since taken over that spot, and the top of the brunch top 10 with hearty, delicious brunch fare, including Bloody Marys that customers rave about.

Kid friendly:

Fitz’s Restaurant (4.03 stars/1183 reviews) The Loop, 6605 Delmar Blvd, University City (314)726-9555.  With a menu of pizza, burgers, crispy chicken strips, and monster ice cream sodas, this may be kid paradise! Bonus: you can watch the soda being bottled while you eat!

Pet friendly:

Edibles & Essentials (4.72 stars/85 reviews) Saint Louis Hills, 5815 Hampton Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 328-2300.  This artisanal New American cafe specializes in high quality ingredients (think house-cured bacon).  They are known for their charcuterie boards, changing special menus, and a terrific, dog-friendly patio!

Italian:

Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill (4.50 stars/893 reviews) The Hill, 5226 Shaw Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 772-8898.  The birthplace of Toasted Ravioli, this place is a St. Louis classic, with an upscale Italian menu famous for its perfectly prepared pasta, veal, chicken, steaks, and seafood.  Gitto’s wine list is also highly praised and customers love the old world elegance of this distinctive restaurant.

Cajun/Creole:

Broadway Oyster Bar (4.5 stars/870 reviews) Downtown, 736 South Broadway, Saint Louis, MO 63102, (314) 621-8811.  One of St. Louis’ most popular restaurants, Broadway Oyster Bar has been serving up fresh Gulf shrimp, po’boys, and great music in downtown St. Louis for the last 35-years.  Their Alligator Sausage & Shrimp Cheesecake is legendary.

Middle Eastern:

Sameem Afghan Restaurant (4.65 stars/458 reviews) The Grove, 4341 Manchester Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 534-9500.  This is Missouri’s first and only Afghan restaurant. Sameem serves predominantly traditional Afghan cuisine consisting of lamb, chicken, hearty stews, kabobs, chops and rice dishes, including halal meat.  They also have a nice vegetarian selection. It’s so good, you’ll need a reservation on weekends.

Mexican:

Mission Taco (4.22 stars/ 440 reviews) The Loop, 6235 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63130, (314) 932-5430.  This is St. Louis’ original gourmet street-taco specialist, offering great food and creative cocktails in a rustic cafe with a San Francisco vibe.  This location in The Loop was the first for Jason and Adam Tilford.  Now there are three locations in St. Louis, with plans for additional Taco Joints in St. Peters and Kansas City.

Wings:

O! Wing Plus (4.6 stars/66 reviews) Overland, 10094 Page Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63132, (314) 395-0180.  This family owned restaurant fuses this classic bar fare with the exotic flavors of Korea, Southeast Asia and beyond.  They offer nine sauces that run from mild and sweet teriyaki to the super spicy “Beast Mode,” creating wings that will have you smiling as you lick your sticky fingers.

Pizza:

Melo’s Pizzeria (4.92 stars/50 reviews) Benton Park, 2438 Mcnair Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 833-4489.  This is a case of the new kid on the block is coming out on top.  Melo’s sits in the garage behind another St. Louis favorite, Blues City Deli.  After just over a year in business, Melo’s authentic wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza made with simple, high quality ingredients has become St. Louis’ favorite.

Irish Pubs:

Morrison’s Irish Pub (4.61 stars/59 reviews) Alton, 200 State Street, Alton, IL 62002, (618) 433-8900.  This is what an Irish pub is supposed to be—authentic pub ambiance, plenty of Irish spirits, and home-cooked dishes like Irish stew, Bubble & Squeak, Bangers & Mash, and Colcannon.  On the 12 taps you’ll find a nice selection of local and imported beers, ales, and stouts.  Weekends add authentic Irish music to the mix.

Five St. Louis Chefs Among 2017 James Beard Semifinalists

James Beard Semifinalists

James Beard Semifinalists – Four Beard Nominees for Best Chef Midwest, and One Rising Star

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 16, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – St. Louis has a long history of great culinary offerings.  The metro area is rich with restaurant variety when it comes to cuisine, scale, style, and innovation.  The Gateway City is both a launching pad and a landing zone for great chefs.  And let’s face it, St. Louis diners love great food.  So it’s always an honor, but never a surprise when the chefs and restaurants dedicated to feeding us are honored on a grand scale.  And this week, six were named as James Beard Foundation Award semifinalists.

The James Beard Foundation was established to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other culinary professionals who make America’s food culture more diverse, sustainable, and of course, delicious.  And so the JBF Awards were established in 1990 to recognize culinary excellence and achievement.  Many consider it the highest level of recognition in the culinary world.  This year, there were more than 24,000 entries in 21 restaurant and chef award categories.  Five chefs in the St. Louis area are among the JBF Award semifinalists announced this week.

St. Louis’ 2017 JBF Award semifinalists:

Rising Star Chef of the Year: This annual honor is awarded to a chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.  This year, Chef Ashley Shelton of Pastaria in Clayton is among the semifinalists.

Best Chef Midwest: This honor is awarded regionally to chefs who’ve set new or consistent standards of excellence.  St. Louis is in the Midwest region, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.  To be eligible for the Best Chef Award, candidates can work in any kind of dining establishment, but they must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region.  This year, five St. Louis area chefs are semifinalists.  They include: Executive Chef Jesse Mendica of Oak + Olive (Wesbster Groves), Executive Chef/Owner Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe (Benton Park), Executive Chef/Owner Mike Randolph of Público (University City Loop) and Executive Chef/Owner Kevin Willmann of Farmhaus (Lindenwood Park).

Chef award winners will be announced in Chicago on May 1st.  In January Gioia’s Deli (the Hill) won the James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classics Award, which recognizes regional restaurants distinguished by their timeless appeal, and quality food that reflects the character of their communities.

21st Street Brewers Bar Honors St. Louis Beer Heritage

21st Street Brewers Bar, St. Louis, MO

Craft Beer Underground at 21st Street Brewers Bar

St. Louis, MO/February 15, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) 21st Street Brewers Bar – St. Louis has a rich beer making history.  It dates back to the the city’s earliest days, with the first production brewery operating as early as 1810.  The first craft brewers were making beer and selling it to their neighbors at least as long ago.  John Coons was known to have a small batch brewery operating as early as 1809, and neighborhood breweries were commonplace throughout the 19th century.  After Prohibition ended, the beer making began anew.  There was the Griesedieck Brothers and Falstaff, and or course, the King of beers was born here.  That’s a lot of beer making history!  The 21st Street Brewers Bar at 2017 Chouteau Ave. just south of downtown St. Louis celebrates the city’s brewers, old and new.  The Centennial Malt House, home to 21st Street Brewers Bar, is also home to St. Louis’ first beer festival each year, this week’s Centennial Beer Festival (Feb. 13 – 18, 2017).  These folks are serious about beer.

The bar is a classic rathskeller—it really is a bar in the basement of a prominent building, in this case the old Schnaider Brewery (c.1876), at 21st and Chouteau in Lafayette Square.  The decor is just what you’d expect in a rathskeller too: stone walls, natural wood, and cozy leather, lounge furniture.  It’s upscale, but with a casual, comfortable vibe that make this bar a perfect place for celebrating with friends or just hanging out.  Even the history of the space is all about beer.  The bar occupies a basement that once served as catacombs for the Schnaider Brewery, one of St. Louis’ first and largest beer makers.  In fact, when Paul and Wendy Hamilton first opened the bar in the basement beneath two of their restaurants, PW Pizza and Vin de Set, they called it 21st Amendment Brewers Bar, to pay homage to the city’s historic beer makers and the Constitutional Amendment that officially repealed Prohibition.

So what’s a brewer’s bar?  In the case of 21st Street, it’s a bar with more than 50 draft beers available and more than 80 bottled varieties of mostly craft and artisan brews.  In fact, they claim every local brewery is represented on tap or by bottle, along with having the best domestic and international craft selection available.  And they just might.  At the time of this writing, the draft list included products from Excel, Schlafly, Urban Chestnut, Cathedral Square, 4204 Main, Perennial Artisan Ales, Four Hands, Modern Brewery, Griesdieck Brothers, Public House (Rolla), Civil Live, Six Mile Bridge, Charleville (Ste. Genevieve), Log Boat (Columbia), Bur Oak (Columbia), Mark Twain (Hannibal), Boulevard (Kansas City), and Crane (Raytown), plus several others from brewers in Chicago and northern Illinois, Colorado, Washington, Kansas, Maryland, California, Michigan, and Ireland.  There are literally dozens more available in cans and bottles: mass market domestics and imports; pilsners and pale lagers; amber and dark lagers; ciders and meads; wheat beers; blonde and pale ales; IPAs; amber, red, and brown ales; porters and stouts; strong ales; sour and fruit beers; and even NABs.  Beers can be purchased in full pour or 6 oz. pours.

Chase that sampling by nibbling one of their brew snacks.  They’ve got bar favorites like hard pretzels and spicy nuts, or you could get adventurous and try the Big White Fried Corn Nuts.  This salty, crunchy treat was first served in South American bars back in the mid-1930s.  Or go for a throwback option like the Cheddar Cheese Ball.  Theirs is rolled in IPA poached walnuts and served with hard pretzels.  If you want something more substantial, step up to the bar and order a pie from the upstairs neighbor, PW Pizza.  The full PW menu is available in the basement bar.  On the off chance that someone in your party prefers a cocktail or wine to beer, 21st Street’s bar is fully stocked to accommodate everyone.

In the three years it’s been open, this subterranean bar has earned accolades from critics and customers alike.  Customers give them 4.5 stars in 57 reviews.  They like the deep list of brews that really showcase the scope and skill of the craft brewers in this region and beyond.  Others find it to be the perfect place to chill with friends.  One reviewer called it the “ideal man cave (or woman cave)”  It’s coziness is especially welcome in the depths of winter, and it’s basement cool makes it inviting during the heat of a St. Louis summer.  But when the weather is nice, there’s also a patio. So 21st Street offers the best of both worlds—and on draft, the best of about 50 worlds.

Contact Information:

21st Street Brewers Bar
Owners: Paul and Wendy Hamilton
2017 Chouteau Ave
St. Louis, MO 63103
Phone: (314) 241-6969

The Top of the Restaurant Top 10s – Best Restaurants in St. Louis

Best Restaurants in St. Louis

Best Restaurants in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 11, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Best Restaurants in St. Louis – As a major outlet for restaurant, brewery, winery, and craft food maker news in the St. Louis region, we’ve certainly kept up with which restaurants are on top.  We’ve analyzed thousands of customer reviews to find which restaurants St. Louis diners like best.  We’ve used that data to bring you lists of the Top 10 restaurants in every category from seafood to burgers, and Cajun to Italian.  Most recently, we wrote about the top 10 pizzerias in town just in time for National Pizza Day.

We thought it would be fun to take a moment to shine the spotlight on the top slots on all those lists.  So in this new feature, we’ll be writing about the restaurants that are St. Louis diners’ absolute favorites in each category.  And since there are so many ways to categorize restaurants, we’ll bring you 10 seasonably relevant #1s each week.

Without further ado, here are 10 St. Louis favorites that hold the top spot in their respective Top 10 categories:

Coffee Shops:

The Mud House (4.5 stars/764 reviews) Benton Park, 2101 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 776-6599.  This is a special spot along Cherokee Street’s Antique Row.  It’s cozy, with a friendly staff and relaxed coffee house vibe.  So whether you stop in for an espresso, a macchiato, a mocha, a rosemary & honey latte, or a simple cup of coffee, the Mud House brews a divine cup.  They do specialty teas, brunch, breakfast, and lunch too.

Bakeries:

Missouri Baking Company (4.9 stars/521 reviews) The Hill, 2027 Edwards Street, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 773-6566.  This family owned business has been offering Italian sweets and other pastries, breads, and desserts—everything from cannoli to Napoleons, and biscotti to gooey butter cake since 1924.

Fine Dining:

Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill (4.5 stars/893 reviews) The Hill, 5226 Shaw Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 772-8898.  This storied St. Louis institution has been one of the very best restaurants in town for decades.  This elegant restaurant in the Hill neighborhood offers an upscale menu of Italian favorites including pasta, veal, chicken, steaks, and seafood.  Customers praise the food, the wine, and the impeccable service of this distinctive restaurant.

Fusion:

Kounter Kulture (5.0 stars/40 reviews) Lindenwood Park, 3825 Watson Road, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 781-4344.  This is a relatively new brick-and-mortar take-out restaurant from the same team that gave Saint Louis locally-sourced, freshly-prepared foods at the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market.  It’s the same rotating, locally sourced menu of inventive, Asian fusion fare, but you can get it every Monday – Saturday 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Sushi:

Sushi Tatsu (4.5 stars/129 reviews) Metro East, 5725 North Illinois Street, Fairview Heights, IL 62208, (618) 277-5554.  This unassuming, family owned restaurant makes specialty sushi rolls as well as Japanese & Korean dishes.  There’s a warm, friendly vibe here, even at the bar—a place that intimidates some.  If you’ve never done so, this place is the perfect opportunity to sit at the sushi bar and watch the chefs prepare your food using classic Japanese techniques.

Seafood:

Broadway Oyster Bar (4.5 stars/1895 reviews) Downtown, 736 South Broadway, Saint Louis, MO 63102, (314) 621-8811.  This decidedly Cajun/Creole joint has been serving up some of the best seafood in St. Louis for about 35 years.  With fresh oysters, live music nightly, and a killer patio, it’s easy to see why BOB is St. Louis’ favorite.

Burgers:

Stacked Burger Bar (4.6 stars/397 reviews) Patch, 7637 Ivory Street, Saint Louis, MO 63111, (314) 544-4900.  This quirky restaurant has been the best burger joint in South St. Louis since opening three years ago.  With more than seven different patties available, including bean and locally-sourced, grass fed beef, plus six buns, seven different cheeses, ten sauces, and dozens of other toppings available, there are literally hundreds of possible combinations.  You could make a dozen trips to this Ivory Triangle gem and only begin to try everything Stacked Burger Bar has to offer.

Barbecue:

Pappy’s Smokehouse (4.5 stars/5299 reviews) Midtown, 3106 Olive Street, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 535-4340.  This Midtown barbecue joint offers slow smoked Memphis style BBQ in a rustic, down-home setting.  Since opening in 2008, the accolades just keep rolling in, including being named the #1 ribs in the country by Food Network.  Pappy’s Smokehouse is #1 on the list of top rated barbecue restaurants, and one of St. Louis’ very favorite places to eat.

Craft Brewery:

Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. (4.4 stars/436 reviews) Midtown, 3229 Washington Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 222-0143.  This German inspired brewpub has quickly become a St. Louis favorite and the company is growing almost as fast in size as popularity.  This is UCB’s original microbrewery and biergarten.  It serves up a rotating selection of beers that run from the old-school Bavarian lagers like Zwickel to bitter, hoppy ales like the STLIPA.  Brewmaster Florian Kuplent brings nearly two decades of beer-making experience to UBC.  There’s also a small food menu with German biergarten staples like sausages, pretzel bread, and cheese, as well as soup, salad, and sandwiches.

Desserts:

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (4.5 stars/3036 reviews) St. Louis Hills, 6726 Chippewa Street, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 481-2652.  This is St. Louis’ original frozen custard.  We’ve been lining up for their delicious, hand-dipped cones, concretes, shakes, malts, sundaes, and floats since 1929.  It’s a popular stop after visiting the Arch, the Muny, the Zoo, or a Cardinal’s baseball game—a truly multigenerational treat!  And lucky for us, the St. Louis Hills location just reopened Feb. 9 for the 2017 season.

Celebrate National Pizza Day with STL’s Best Pizza

Pizza

The Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 8, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Dining trends come and go.  One day we’re eating fat free potato chips and wine from a box, the next we’re grabbing gluten free muffins and chai tea.  One thing that never seems to go out of style: pizza.  It’s America’s favorite food.  According to reference.com, we eat an average of 23 pounds of pizza a year, or about 46 slices.  That’s about 132 squares of St. Louis style pizza!  More than 3 billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. each year, amounting to around $37 billion in revenue.  That’s a lot of pizza!  We celebrate our beloved slice each February 9th, National Pizza Day!  So where can you go to get the best pizza in the St. Louis area?  We turned to customer reviews to find your favorites.

Topping our list is Melo’s Pizzeria in St. Louis’ historic Benton Park neighborhood.  You could call Melo’s the little pizzeria that could.  After just over a year in business, Melo’s authentic wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza has become St. Louis’ favorite.  But then, Melo’s is another project by Blues City Deli owner Vince Valenza, whose sandwich shop was just named to Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat List for 2017.  (Second year in a row!) Melo’s came about after Valenza bought the building and lot he’d been leasing for the deli (in 2013).  The brick garage behind the sandwich shop was fully restored, including installation of a blue-tiled, wood-fired oven from Naples.  Vince’s son Joey Valencia applied his baking skills, and in December 2015, Melo’s Pizzeria was born.  Melo’s offers classic Neapolitan style pizza made with simple, high-quality ingredients.  What’s not to love?

Like the rest of America, St. Louis loves pizza. Our customer review-based top 10 shows we love it in all its various forms: hand tossed, deep dish, Neapolitan, and of course, St. Louis style.

Here are the top 10 pizza restaurants in St. Louis:

1. Melo’s Pizzeria (4.92 stars/50 reviews) Benton Park, 2438 Mcnair Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 833-4489.
2. Corner Bistro (4.5 stars/200 reviews) Princeton Heights, 4993 Loughborough Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 353-1811.
3. Pizzeoli – Wood Fired Neapolitan Pizza (4.5 stars/161 reviews) Soulard, 1928 South 12th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 449-1111.
4. Pizza-A-Go-Go (4.4 stars/100 reviews) Lindenwood Park, 6703 Scanlan Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63139, (314) 781-1234.
5. Mama Toscano’s Ravioli (4.4 stars/60 reviews) The Hill, 2201 Macklind Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 776-2926.
6. Anthonino’s Taverna (4.3 stars/873 reviews) The Hill, 2225 Macklind Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 773-4455.
7. Pastaria (4.2 stars/850 reviews) Clayton, 7734 Forsyth Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63105, (314) 862-6603.
8. PW Pizza (4.2 stars/296 reviews) Downtown, 2017 Chouteau Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 241-7799.
9. Tavolo V (4.2 stars/215 reviews) The Loop, 6118 Delmar Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63112, (314) 721-4333.
10. Twin Oak Wood Fired Pizza & BBQ (4.1 stars/290 reviews) Brentwood, 1201 Strassner Drive, Brentwood, MO 63144, (314) 644-2772.

In order to make the top 10, restaurants had to have at least 50 reviews.  Since we were looking for the really special establishments, they also had to be locally owned, independent operations.  Each of these pizzerias offers a unique product in a distinctive setting that makes eating a pizza a special experience.

Since there are always a few great restaurants that don’t quite make our strict Top 10 criteria, but still offer an uncommonly good dining experience, we have a few Honorable Mentions to add.

So shout outs go to:

Flamentco’s the Place in O’Fallon, Illinois has 4.5 stars with just 48 reviews.  They’re located at 711 West US Hwy 50, O’Fallon, IL 62269. (618) 726-2275.  With just a few more reviews, they could have landed high on the Top 10 list.  This one is worth watching.

Both Peel Wood Fired Pizza locations. The Edwardsville pizzeria has 4.5 stars with 236 reviews. It’s at 921 South Arbor Vitae, Edwardsville, IL 62025, (618) 659-8561. The O’Fallon, Illinois location at 104 South Cherry Street has a respectable 4.0 stars with 155 reviews, (618) 726-2244.

All six St. Louis area Dewey’s Pizza locations, which each have 4.5 stars, showing a consistency in product and service that is rarely seen.  There are Dewey’s Pizzas in Webster Groves, University City, Ellisville, St. Charles, and Edwardsville, but it’s the Kirkwood store (124 N Kirkwood Road, 314-821-7474) that’s most popular.

Check out any of these fine restaurants to celebrate #NationalPizzaDay February 9, 2017, or any time you want a great pizza.

2017 St. Louis Mardi Gras Gourmet Weekend

2017 St. Louis Mardi Gras

Beer, Wine, Whiskey, and Cajun Cooking – 2017 St. Louis Mardi Gras

St. Louis, MO/February 8, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) 2017 St. Louis Mardi Gras – The first of the 2017 Mardi Gras parties gets underway with Gourmet Weekend, Friday – Saturday, Feb. 10 – 11, 2017.  It’s a weekend of excellent whiskey, wine, beer, and food.  There will even be a celebrity or two.

It starts Friday evening with the 2017 St. Louis Mardi Gras Beer, Wine, and Whiskey Taste at Soulard Market Park, 1845 South 9th Street.  The tasting party will be inside the Budweiser Party Pavilion.  Guests will be able to sample the products of more than 50 wineries, breweries, and distilleries from around the world.  There will be a large number of Beam Suntory whiskey, as well as a variety of Anheuser-Busch beers at the beer wall.

There will also be plenty to eat!  Party goers can sample the award winning barbecue from some of St. Louis’ premiere pitmasters.  Sugarfire Smoke House, Salt and Smoke, and Pappy’s Smoke House will all be there.  Beside food and booze, revelers can dance the night away to the tunes provided by DJ Quain of Rockstar DJs.

Tickets for the St. Louis Mardi Gras Beer, Wine, and Whiskey Taste are $40 in advance, and $50 at the door.  Advanced tickets can be purchased online at the official St. Louis Mardi Gras website through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9.

Then Saturday, Feb. 11 it’s the Cajun Cook-Off. Some of St. Louis’ best chefs will share their secrets of Cajun cooking inside the Bud Light Party Centre in Soulard Market Park.  There will be demos through the day, as well as the US Foods Demo Kitchen, where you can pick up tips and enjoy samples of scrumptious Cajun foods.  Enjoy a complimentary cajun dish, grab a Cruzan Rum Hurricane or Bud Light and enjoy the live music on the sidelines or on the dance floor.

The amature Cajun Cook Off will take place again this year.  Ten amateur chefs display their culinary skills and compete for the 2017 Cajun Cook Off championship.  Entry is by application only.  Food Network and Travel Channel personality Jay Ducote knows Cajun Food.  The Baton Rouge chef, food and beverage writer, food blogger will host the amateur cooking competition.  He’ll also demonstrate his cooking skills. It’s a chance to see one of the premier authorities in Cajun cooking in action.

There are two ways to enjoy the day. Tickets to the Cajun Cook-Off Saturday from Noon – 4:00 p.m. are $35 in advance and $45 at the door.  Or spend $75 for and InsideSTL Kitchen Pass, and get access to the event from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  It’s your chance to hang out in the kitchen with some of the best chefs in St. Louis: Tom Schmidt from Salt+Smoke, Mike Johnson from Sugarfire Smokehouse/Hi Pointe Drive In, Mike Emerson from Pappy’s Smokehouse, and more.  Watch as they whip up their creations for the Cajun Sampler, and enjoy special treats made only for the folks in the kitchen.  And enjoy the premium open bar.  A limit of 40 Kitchen Passes will be sold.

No matter which events you attend, it’ll be your chance to eat, drink, and dance New Orleans style as Mardi Gras St. Louis’ 2017 Gourmet Weekend gets underway!

More information and tickets at STL Mardi Gras.