Best Food Spots: St. Louis Edition
Updated: Jun 11
When I think of St. Louis food, the first thing that comes to mind is BBQ. Although there is sure a lot of that, #StLouis is also known for other things such as "gooey butter cake" and "fried ravioli." During my visit to St. Louis, I got the opportunity to try out some delicious grub. Here are some ideas for you if you plan to check out St. Louis anytime soon.
1. Goody Goody Diner (Open 7 AM - 2 PM most days)
After some thorough Google searching for a Chicken & Waffles spot, this place came up for both its delicious food and history. #GoodyGoodyDiner has been running strong for 70 years and has had celebrities such as Cedric the Entertainer and Al Gore come through. The outside of the diner looks like your classic 50s diner. Although the Inside definitely looks outdated, do not let this fool you.
I decided to check the place out on my way to the airport and my uber driver pretty much questioned why I was heading there after she found out I was a New Yorker, "Goody goody is REEALLLY good. How do you know about that spot? Only the locals really know about it. You realize you going into the hood, right?" In my mind, I am thinking that means that this is about to be AMAZING (as locals know the best spots).
I had no regrets! I bought a basic order of #chickenandwaffles. The prices were cheap and the food was plentiful. In fact, I had enough food to take back home with me. The environment felt like family. In fact, I had an in depth conversation with two local older black women, who both thought that I was from the area.
TIP: Check this place either coming from the airport or heading to the airport as it is only 10 minutes away. Keep in mind that it is only open from 7 AM - 2 PM.
2. Sardella Osterio (10 AM - 2 PM)
In all honesty, finding #brunchspots was difficult. This just does not seem to be a "brunch city." However, Sardella Osterio came up as a good brunch spot and I understand why! Located in Clayton (outside of St. Louis), I felt like I was transported to a completely different place because everything just felt really expensive and boujee. This place definitely fits the mold of the area!
The portions were small, but DELICIOUS. I ate a bread pudding toast with a side of bacon and a #mimosa. One thing to keep in mind is that they sell out of things very quickly. For example, I was sad at first because they ran out of ricotta pancakes! I also ended up waiting a while for my food because my food was accidentally given to another customer. HOWEVER, their customer service was impeccable! It was a great surprise when I received the check for $0.00 as their way of making up their mistake.
TIP: Do not arrive any later than 11 AM. Although brunch is from 10 AM- 2 PM, they sell out of many items very quickly.
THINGS TO SNACK ON:
1. Park Ave Coffee for Gooey butter cake
St. Louis is apparently synonymous with "gooey butter cake." As I mentioned in my article, Exploring the "Gateway to the West": A Guide to St. Louis, MO, the #gooeybuttercake is a flat and dense cake made with wheat cake flour, butter, sugar, and eggs that is then dusted with powdered sugar. It looks like a brownie and is super sweet. If you are not a person who loves sweets, then this may not be the dessert for you. Even for me who adores sweets, I felt that this was extra sweet. However, I think it is worth trying at least once because it is something very unique and does not compare to a brownie or a cake. Park Ave Coffee (which is all over St. Louis) sells different flavors of this dessert.
TIP: I recommend visiting the Gateway Arch first so you can get a coupon in one of the travel guides for a free gooey butter cake!
2. Clementines Naughty and Nice Ice Cream (11 AM -10 PM most days)
I LOVE ice cream, so I was very excited to discover this spot. Since I was already in #Clayton for brunch, I decided to take an Uber and check out this location. Located right across the street to a very lush park, this is St. Louis’ first microcreamery. In order to be a microcreamery, the ice cream must:
make fewer than 3,000 gallons per year
use all-natural ingredients (no artificial stabilizers, fillers, sweeteners or flavors)
use over 16% butterfat
use less than 30% overrun (which refers to the amount of air that goes into the ice cream)
Even more so, it is actually the only all-natural #icecream in the state of Missouri. One unique feature about their ice creams is that they have boozy ice cream options (the "naughty" flavors) and then non boozy options (the "nice" flavors). The "naughty" options use alcoholic beverages from local breweries and distilleries. The "nice" flavors are unique as well and many incorporate local ingredients such as gooey butter cake. It does not get any more local than this!
TIP: Try various samples of both the "naughty" and "nice" flavors before making a decision!
LUNCH or DINNER
1. Pappy’s Smokehouse
Don't judge me, but pretty much all of my food recommendations are BBQ related. You know a place is good when there is a line right when it opens. Considering that this was named Best Ribs in America by the Food Network and ranked as #10 in the list of top American barbecue restaurants in 2015 by Trip Advisor, I knew I had to check it out. I arrived not much after it opened and seats were already filling up. As time progressed, I noticed the line get significantly longer.
This #BBQspot sells Memphis-style ribs (slow cooked in a pit) and barbecued without sauce. The ribs are dry-rubbed and cooked over wood for fourteen hours. There are a variety of barbecue sauces on the side to choose from. Come hungry as the portions are plentiful!
TIP: Come earlier so as to not face crazy lines. Also, they stop selling when they sell out on things.
2. Smoki O’s
When I think of a family run spot, Smoki O's is definitely it. Open since 1997, #SmokiOs is a just a few minutes from downtown. There is not really any seating room, so all of the locals come and take their food to-go. Once you step in, you can feel the history with all of the news clippings on the walls of Smoki O's winning national competitions. The owners are so welcoming, telling stories of the history of the restaurant.
I was offered "snoot," which is one of St. Louis’ signature barbecued items as a result of this restaurant. #Snoot is from the nose and cheek of the pig (tougher part of the pig) that is grilled for hours and hours until they are crispy. It pretty much tasted like bacon or pork rinds.
TIP: Try the snoot! It is a #StLouisBBQ specialty that you cannot get in most restaurants! If you ask for it, they will offer you a sample for free.
I was not originally planning to go here (I had wanted to check out an Italian restaurant since St. Louis is also known for their Italian food). However, it was conveniently located next to the National Blues Museum and the smell of #barbecue really spoke to me. Considering that it was raining and this was also walking distance from my hotel, I decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I did.
Sugarfire is a very casual spot (with a HUGE space) where you walk up to the counter, order what you want and then pay. There are lots of options, whether you want a sandwich or #ribs. Sadly, the ribs were sold out. However, the sandwich I had was AMAZING. Later, I found out that they literally won World's Best Sandwich Award -- that explains the amazing taste! Undoubtedly, it was quite the experience.
TIP: Try to beat the dinner rush as they do run out of certain items, such as the ribs!
1. Broadway Oyster Bar
All around, this place gives New Orleans Cajun vibes - from the live blues music to the decor to the food. Open for over 35 years, this spot is locally owned and offers live music every day of the week. In addition to great music, they have great #latenightfood! Although they are open for dinner, I was attracted by the fact that they have a legit late night menu including fried alligator and oysters in a variety of ways. I tried the #chargrilledoysters and I am STILL thinking about them months later!