"What's That? Somethin' to Eat?" (St.Louis Style)

My grandma's famous phrase that my family always jokes about now was, "What's that? Somethin' to eat?!" 

My family kinda likes food a lot, and when we have family gatherings it always revolves around a meal -- usually brunch or lunch. When my sweet, joyful grandma, whom we call(ed) MeeMee, saw something pleasing to the eye on a dish or someone's plate that she wanted to take a bite of, she would say "What's that? Somethin' to eat?!?" It's become one of the many silly memories of her that we remember when we're gathered together as a family for a meal. 

Apparently, the love of food in my family did not just stop with MeeMee. I think the food genes may have gotten stronger when God decided to create me  :D ...if food genes existed of course.

I've been born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri (Go Cards!), and one of my favorite things to do with my family or friends (or even by myself) is to seek out all the yummy foods in the STL area! Now that's my kind of fun!

I've decided to share some of my favorite spots to dine in my hometown, the 'Lou. And I'll probably keep adding to this list here and there because I definitely have not gotten to try out every place yet. If money, time, and stomach space weren't an issue, I totally would've left my footprint in every restaurant, diner, ice cream parlor, cafe, and coffee shop by now. 

Guess I'll keep keep truckin' along, slow and steady, making my way through all the St. Louis eats.

Disclaimer: These places are in NO particular order of my favorites, and I realize a lot of these places are chains.

1. Cafe Napoli -- Located in Downtown Clayton. Actually, I did put this as Number 1 for a reason. It is my very very very favoritest restaurant ever. Every single menu item is phenomenal. Very nice restaurant. High standards for their food. Pricey but worth it for a special evening. It's a little dressier, but no need for fancy clothes. I recommend making a reservation in advance.

What do I recommend?

  • Filet Mignon - I get this 75% of the time
  • Chilean Sea Bass
  • Farfalle Genovese (creamy pesto pasta) + Chicken
  • Chicken Marsala
  • Salad: Bella Napoli
  • Appetizer: Shrimp Cocktail - the presentation is so cool...it's like dry ice.
  • Appetizer: Toasted Beef Ravioli

2. Half n Half - Located in Clayton. Go early to beat the masses, especially on the weekends, or just be prepared to wait. There's waiting for a good reason though. 

What do I recommend?

  • Tess's Toast - Incredible.
  • Veggie Brussel Sprout Hash with Sunny-Side-Up Eggs
  • Oven-Baked Oatmeal
  • Avocado Toast (no feta for me) - top with an egg!
  • S'mores French Toast - For those with a chocolate-y sweet tooth even in the morning! (Me!) 

3. City Coffeehouse and Creperie -- Located in Clayton. My family has a "Birthday Breakfast" tradition where we either make the birthday boy/girl his or her breakfast of choice or we go out to a breakfast place of choice. For years, this would be my go-to celebratory birthday breakfast spot and I always got a strawberry crepe. Now my tastebuds have matured quite a bit, so I now love SO many more of their fun crepe combinations:

What do I recommend?

  • Bacon/Ham, Egg, Cheese (+ spinach for a little health boost)
  • Bananas, Sour Cream, Brown Sugar (+ walnuts)
  • Sante Fe
  • Frittata Crepe
  • The Fiesta
  • Fajita
  • Tuscany
  • Raspberry Beret
  • Monte Carlo
  • Peanut Butter or Nutella + Banana Crepe
  • ***There is a gluten-free buckwheat crepe batter that you can sub instead of the regular gluten-full crepe batter

4. The Shack - Various Locations. An upbeat breakfast/brunch/lunch place where the rules of no writing on the walls finally bends. You are legitimately encouraged to make your mark somewhere on the walls or booths or bathrooms in the restaurant. Hmm... I think I like the way they roll here :) Their menu is hilarious too. Often a wait on the weekends. Be prepared to wait if you don't get there early.

What do I recommend?

  • Waffle & Chicken ("The Mother Clucker of Fried Chicken on a Waffle with Syrup, Candied Pecans, Green Onion & a Hint of Sriracha. Served with 2 Eggs your way and Hash Browns") -- It's awesome trust me. The only thing my older brother ever orders.
  • Breakfast Tacos -- Throw back to the amazing bfast tacos I ate in Austin, TX.
  • "The King Lives" Pancake
  • S'mores or Gooey Butter Cake Pancakes
  • Breakfast Banana Split  (Greek Yogurt, bananas, berries, granola)
  • Sweet Avo-Rito Burrito
  • The Kitchen Sink Skillet
  • Cereal Shakes (Yes, for breakfast...it's acceptable)

5. Bailey's Range - Located Downtown. This place RULES. Great atmosphere. Sometimes a wait - but usually not bad. The burgers are 100% grass-fed, pasture-raised from a local Missouri farmer. Everything is made from scratch. Besides beef patties, they also offer bison, lamb, chicken, and veggie burgers.

What do I recommend?

  • Basic Burger
  • Buffalo
  • The Carolina
  • Dave's Chophouse
  • Create your own
  • French Fries
  • Milkshakes/Vanilla Malt

6. Five Star Burger - These beef burgers are fresh and all natural coming from pasture-raised, grass fed cows with no antibiotics. Definitely a winner burger spot.

What do I recommend?

  • 5 Star Burger (the original)
  • Breakfast of Champions (sunny-up egg, cheese, roasted tomato-bacon jam, and hollandaise sauce)
  • Veggie Burger (no mushrooms for me) -- First veggie burger I ever liked, and the only veggie burger I ever order when I go out to eat. The red pepper mayo is delicious and I hate mayo usually.
  • 5-Star Salad (no gorgonzola for me) with added Chicken Breast

7. Insomnia Cookies - During my freshman/sophomore year in college, I had a friend who I would always go with to get some freshly baked, HOT cookies at midnight or 1 a.m.. Sometimes on a school night. Always worth the 1.5-2 mile walk from our dorm -- great for some quality conversation and bonding time while simultaneously getting really excited about the box of 6 cookies we were each about to buy. (They also deliver, but we were too cheap to pay the extra couple dollars for that. Also, walking burns extra calories which just gives us a greater appetite for more cookies. Now you see how my brain works.)

What do I recommend?

  • White Chocolate Macadamia Nut
  • Peanut Butter Chip
  • Snickerdoodle
  • Chocolate Chunk
  • Double Chocolate Chunk
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup (Delux cookie)
  • Cookiewich (2 cookies of your choice with your choice of ice cream in between...insane)

8. Hot Box Cookies - Located in the Central West End

What do I recommend?

  • Peanut Butter
  • Peanut Butter Reese's
  • Chocolate White Chocolate
  • Snickerdoodle
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Red Velvet
  • Monster

9. Crushed Red - Various locations (Clayton, Kirkwood, Olive Blvd, maybe more). Chopped salad and flatbread place. Perfect for a light lunch or dinner. Their ingredients are very fresh, which is a huge factor for my sometimes choose-y tastebuds.

What do I recommend? 

  • Chipotle BBQ Chicken Salad with lowfat chipotle ranch dressing
  • Create your own salad + AVOCADO (...always avocado)

10. St. Louis Bread Company - No not Panera!! lol. This isn't a top favorite of mine, but I had to put this in the list because #proudstlouisan. I'll still give you some of my favs.

What do I recommend?

  • SCONES - especially the glazed cinnamon, orange, or strawberries and cream scones
  • Pumpkin Muffies (aka muffin tops...the good part)
  • Cinnamon crunch bagels w/ plain cream cheese
  • Asiago bagels toasted w/ butter
  • Summer strawberry poppyseed chicken salad
  • Spicy thai chicken salad

11. Clementine's Naughty and Nice Creamery - Located in Lafayette Square. So.Frickin.Good. A little pricey, but worth every last bite. They've got some really fun unique flavors that you don't want to pass up! Flavors are seasonal and change frequently I believe.

What do I recommend?

  • Gooey Butter Cake
  • Salted Crack Caramel
  • Sweet Corn

12. Ted Drewes Frozen Custard - TOP STL FAV!! Rated the top Frozen Custard in the world. That's saying something. Check out their story! Fun Fact: My extended family in STL shares Muny season tickets, and our seats have been right behind Mr. and Mrs. Ted Drewes for YEARS. Sooo does this make me famous now? I think Mrs. Drewes died a couple of years ago, but my family still jokes about trying to see over her "beehive" hair. 

What do I recommend?

  • My go-to flavors: Oreo concrete with extra oreos (duh), s'mores concrete, hot fudge sundae (they do this simple combo perfectly), the 'Dutchman,' 'Southern Delight,' Mint Oreo concrete, strawberry concrete, or 'Turtle.' Okay... I like it all.
  • My mom always gets a killer combo: Marshmallow and pecan concrete.

13. Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream - Located in the Central West End. Wonderful Ice cream. Beautiful atmosphere. High quality ingredients. They partner with local farms whenever possible.

What do I recommend? 

  • Cookies n Cream (Literally every place I go)
  • Gooey Butter Cake
  • Bangkok Peanut
  • Brambleberry Crisp
  • Churro
  • Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks
  • Sweet Cream
  • Salted Caramel
  • Roxbury Road

14. Andy's Frozen Custard - Located in Kirkwood or on Hanley Road. Don't hate me other St.Louisans reading this, but I think I like Andy's better than Ted Drewes. Here, they just have some seriously amazing, incredibly tasty, fun flavors.

What do I recommend?

  • 'James Brownie Funky Jackhammer,' which is vanilla frozen custard blended with peanut butter and brownies filled with a core of hot fudge
  • 'Triple Chocolate Concrete,' which is chocolate frozen custard blended with chocolate chip cookie dough and melted chocolate chips. Unreal.
  • Anything and everything

15. PW Pizza - Located Downtown. My family does Pizza Surveys of all the pizza places in STL, and this is at the top for me. All natural, fresh ingredients makes their pizza pies 5x better.

What do I recommend?

  • Pulled Piggy - personal fav
  • Big Balls
  • Hawaii Five-O (on honey wheat crust)

16. La Pizza - This hole in the wall place has held a spot in my family's heart for years and years and years. It's where we go (usually carry-out) when we want to go back to the basics -- cheese and pep. 

What do I recommend?

  • Half Cheese / Half Pepperoni

17. Sugo's (Italian) - Located in Ladue just across the street and north of the Frontenac Mall. LOVE THIS PLACE!! A nicer Italian restaurant with not your average "ehhh" lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs. No This place rocks. You can call to make a reservation ahead of time, but often you don't have to wait too long to get seated. My family often carries-out on Sunday nights after church. 

What do I recommend?

  • Toasted Ravioli
  • Homemade Lasagna (my all time fav)
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs (they're huge! but the best meatballs around.)
  • Pizza
  • Bolognese (my dad's go-to)

18. Salt n Smoke (BBQ) - Located in the Loop

What do I recommend?

  • Hush Puppies and Maple Butter
  • Burnt Ends Toasted Ravs
  • Pulled Pork
  • Brisket (Ask for burnt ends!)
  • St. Louis Cut Ribs
  • Bestie Combo (choose 2 or 3 meats if you can't decide!)
  • White Cheddar Cracker Mac
  • Pit Beans w/ Smoked Bacon

19. Juniper - Located in the Central West End.  "A Southern Table and Bar."  Our family knows the owner of it, and we are all big fans of this restaurant! Disclaimer: The menu can change frequently. I also recommend making a reservation, or you may not get in for the night.

What do I recommend?

  • Chicken and Waffle appetizer ("Make that 3 please." It is above and beyond my favorite chicken and waffle dish I've ever had)
  • Bread Plate (comes with a variety of baked bread-y goods)
  • Fried Chicken (it's a winner)
  • Cornmeal Crusted Catfish
  • Shrimp n' Grits
  • Mac n' Cheese
  • Brussel Sprouts

20. Pappy's Smokehouse - Located in Midtown, STL. Overall, this has got to be my top favorite BBQ place in the city.

What do I recommend?

  • Pulled Pork
  • Brisket
  • Turkey
  • Baked Beans
  • ...actually...you can't go wrong with anything on the menu

21. The Vine - Located on South Grand among the many ethnic restaurants and cafes on the block. My mom and I honestly go for one thing and one thing only... (although we've never eaten something here that wasn't delicious)

What do I recommend?

  • Lebanese Nachos with Chicken (...Out of this world)

22. Lulu's Local Eatery - Located on South Grand. Vegan comfort food! I'm no vegan, but you don't need to be one in order to fall in love with all their food! I've gone on too many Lulu's outings to count -- some with my mom, some with my roommates (who also adore this place), and some with just myself. I actually love to take myself on foodie dates alone and not have to make conversation :) #introvertlife #notashamed. They have a seasonal menu that changes from summer to fall and winter to spring, so some of these may only be available for 1/2 the year. Also, don't be alarmed when you see jackfruit on the menu -- you'd be surprised how delicious it actually is!

What do I recommend?

  • Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (It's a must!)
  • Tater Tots
  • The Robo Special Wrap
  • Sweet Potato Falafel
  • Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger
  • Buffalo Cauliflower Wrap
  • Buffalo Caesar Wrap
  • Chipotle Black Bean Bowl
  • Spring Roll Bowl
  • Enchiladas
  • Tacos
  • Burritos
  • Loaded Tater Tot
  • Homemade Cookie (if there's any left...I never knew a vegan cookie could taste as good -- if not better -- than a regular cookie)
  • Okay I think I've named 70% of the menu...can't go wrong with anything

23. The Mudhouse - Located in South City on Cherokee Street. This was a usual morning working spot for my Dad for many years, and I fell in love when I finally got to come with him one morning to this comfy yet hip coffee/breakfast/lunch shop. It's the best hole in the wall place in an area with not much to offer food/shopping/living wise.

What do I recommend?

  • Mud Slinger (+ham)
  • The Breslin
  • Granola (housemade with yogurt, nuts, and fruit)
  • French Toast

24. Blues City Deli - Located in Dogtown. There will be a long line around lunch time, but it goes pretty fast and is SO worth it. There's not much seating inside, so it may be easier to take your sandwich to-go, but if you see a seat, snatch it quick! 

What do I recommend?

  • Italian Beef (AH-MA-ZING ...I sat by a true Chicago native, and he says it's twice as good as any Italian beef sandwich he's eaten in Chicago)
  • Every sandwich is a winner

25. Nora's - Located in Dogtown. My Dad introduced me to this one too, and it is a small 

What do I recommend?

  • The Quban
  • The Big Bad Wolf
  • Tamm Avenue Turkey
  • Reuben

26. Bogart's Smokehouse (BBQ) - come when it opens! you may find a line that goes down the side of the street. They serve until they run out of food for the day, so go early to claim your BBQ! 

What do I recommend?

  • Ribs (best ribs in town in my opinion)
  • Pulled Pork
  • Beef Brisket
  • Applesauce, baked beans

27. Charlie Guitto's - Located On the Hill and in Chesterfield. Italian food holds its own private section of my heart. The famous STL appetizer, Toasted Ravioli, is exceptionally delightful here.

What do I recommend?

  • Homemade Toasted Ravioli
  • Lasagna

28. Nacho Mama's (Tex Mex) - Manchester/Rock Hill - In our house, a week does not go by without buying a large bag of tortilla chips and a pint of their homemade salsa (if not actually going in for a meal)

What do I recommend?

  • Chips and salsa
  • Enchiladas (my mom only gets the cheese, but I love the pork or chicken enchiladas too)
  • Chicken Fajitas
  • Tex Mex Platter or Super Tex Platter (I think it comes with basically one of each -- enchilada, taco, chalupa, etc.)

29. Mission Taco - Various Locations

What do I recommend? 

  • Any Tacos (I loved the baja fish, habanero chicken, chicken al pastor, and carne asada tacos)

30. Zia's - Located "On the Hill." Be prepared to wait if you don't call to make a reservation! Especially if it's prime time to eat dinner. Their food is a little pricier than other Italian restaurants in the area, but they do it so well and they serve some very generous portions! No wonder there's always a line. I recommend casual clothing, but probably not sweats and a t-shirt (they'd probably still serve you of course, but you wouldn't fit in.)

What do I recommend?

  • Toasted Ravioli 
  • Lasagna
  • Fettuccini Alfredo

31. Crown Candy - Throwback to when my grandma used to take my older brothers and I here for a fun diner-lunch and dessert! 

What do I recommend?

  • Milkshake
  • Malt

32. Stacked STL

What do I recommend?

  • Appetizers: pretzels, mac n cheese balls, guacamole bites
  • Burgers! (En fuego, The Wet Nap, or any of the others!)
  • Bourbon Bacon Caramel Brownie

33. Sauce on the Side - Located in The Grove, Clayton, and Downtown. Helloooo Calzoooones!!! Choose a specialty calzone off their menu or create your own -- so many different combinations you can make, and if you like pizza, I'm sure you'll enjoy this place. Fresh ingredients and hand-tossed dough made daily! Also, they have salads and dessert calzones too.

What do I recommend?

  • Roasty Toasty
  • Meet Me in St. Louie
  • Figgy Piggy

34. Guerrilla Street Food

What do I recommend?

  • The Flying Pig
  • Chicken Adobo
  • Wandering Pig
  • Fried Lumpia

35. Gioia's Deli

What do I recommend?

  • Hot Salami & Roast Beef Sandwich
  • Italian Trio

36. Mango - A modern Peruvian restaurant. Nice-casual. Menu changes with what's fresh.

What do I recommend?

  • Lomo Saltado
  • Plantain Chips & cilantro-lime dipping sauce
  • Tortilla Cakes
  • Mango Sorbet

37. Pastaria

What do I recommend?

  • Crispy Risotto Balls
  • Pappardelle (smoked pork, mascarpone, apples)
  • Strozzapreti (Bolognese)
  • Pistachio Ravioli 
  • Pizza

38. Cafe Osage - Seasonal menu with local ingredients. West-Elm-y atmosphere. Absolutely lovely. Fabulous food.

What do I recommend?

  • Brioche French Toast
  • Biscuits & Gravy
  • Osage Scramble
  • Omelets 
  • Greens, Eggs, and Ham
  • Baked goods
  • Bison Burger
  • Blue Corn Biscuit Sandwich
  • CAN'T GO WRONG :)

39. Russell's On Macklind - Cute Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner spot. Smaller menu than a lot of restaurants, but their options are wonderful and well-liked by all (for the most part at least). They have some awesome baked goodies (including some STL famous gooey butter cake), which should be a must when you order. Also, they use local ingredients from Missouri and Illinois farmers whenever possible.

What do I recommend?

  • Baked goods/Dessert! (gooey butter cake, muffins, all of the above)a
  • Breakfast sandwiches (Fried egg sandwich, breakfast grilled cheese, etc.)
  • Oatmeal
  • Quiche
  • BBQ shrimp & grits
  • Burger
  • Meatloaf
  • Pork Chop

40. Katie's Pizza & Pasta

What do I recommend?

  • Neapolitan Meatballs
  • Charred Cauliflower
  • Ted's Meatball Pizza
  • Pear Pizza (EVOO + Pear + Prosciutto + Fontina) 

41. Sportsman's Park - Located in Ladue. Restaurant & Bar. This used to be be the place I went every year on my birthday along with the City Coffeehouse and Creperie for breakfast like I mentioned above. Though I still have a special place for them in my heart, I went through a very very very long phase of being obsessed with chicken fingers. Like majorly obsessed -- so much so that I went to a lacrosse camp in middle school and my teams name was "The Chicken Fingers." I can't believe myself sometimes. The one place that fueled this obsession was Sportsman's park. They have always had some killer chicken fingers that I never failed to order every time I went.

What do I recommend?

  • Chicken Finger Platter with CURLY FRIES

42. Gooey Louie - Serving a St.Louis original creation, Gooey Butter Cake. What is this gooey butter cake I speak of? Only the greatest sweet treat you will ever put in your mouth. Ever. Ever ever.

What do I recommend?

  • Original Gooey Butter Cake
  • Any other flavor!

43. The Block - Located in Webster Groves and Central West End. Vegans and vegetarians, look away! This restaurant is all about them meats! Their ingredients are just the best - Local and farm-fresh. Not only is it just a restaurant, but it's a butcher where you can buy their meats right at the counter too and cook it yourself. Lunch from 11 am - 2 pm M-F and Dinner from 5 pm - 10 or 11 pm everyday.

What do I recommend?

  • I think their menu changes - but all their meats, sandwiches, appetizers, and entrees are awesome!

44. Yen Ching - Located in Brentwood on South Brentwood Blvd. The only Chinese food restaurant my family (including extended family) goes to when the Chinese craving hits.

What do I recommend?

  • Egg Rolls
  • Fried Rice
  • Yen Ching Chicken
  • Spicy Braised Chicken
  • Broccoli Beef
  • Chicken Fried Rice

45. Dewey's Pizza - Various Locations. If you like cheese - this pizza is 100% for you! 

What do I recommend?

  • Caesar salad
  • Cheese Pizza
  • Pepperoni Pizza
  • Hawaiian Pizza
  • Southwest BBQ Chicken

46. First Watch - yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Janie, these are everywhere. First Watch is nothing special." And my answer to that would be... "BUT HAVE YOU HAD THEIR BANANA CRUNCH PANCAKES?!" If your answer is no, then you need to locate the nearest First Watch and experience these pancakes. That is all. 

What do I recommend?

  • Banana Crunch Pancakes (Basically banana + crunchy granola inside their yummy pancake batter)