St. Louis is a gateway city. Its diverse immigrant past has influenced many parts of its culture including cuisine. St. Louis is known for a few culinary treats like toasted ravioli, the slinger, gooey butter cake, the gerber sandwich, and St. Louis-style pizza, but exactly what food should you try in The Lou? Here are a few of our St. Louis Staples -- some old, some new, but all are sure to please whether you're looking for lunch, dinner, or an afternoon treat. Check out these 6 STL favorites.
Bogart's was named one of Yelp's Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. last year and it's no secret why. It's the perfect BBQ joint with hearty baked beans, friendly service, and great prices -- not to mention the tender ribs and four different sauces. Their menu also features sandwiches served on soft, fresh buns with great meats like burnt ends and beef brisket. There are almost always long lines, but they move quickly. Try to get to their Soulard neighborhood joint early in the day to get your choice of the menu before an item runs out by popular demand later in the day.
Crown Candy Kitchen
Visiting Crown Candy Kitchen will take you back in time. This old-fashioned soda fountain and candy store in Old North St. Louis has been a part of STL history since 1913. Crown Candy offers a classic American lunch menu with egg salad sandwiches, grilled cheese, chili dogs, and roast beef cheddar melts. But you can't just go there for the main course. The dessert is the real star. Crown Candy serves old-fashioned milkshakes and malts along with sundaes, chocolate, and candy to please even the biggest sweet tooth. Crown Candy's milkshakes and malts were even featured on The Travel Channel's "Man vs. Food". If you're up for the Crown Candy Challenge, try to drink five shakes or malts within 30 minutes for a free bill and your name permanently inscribed in the store.
So, what to order? Make sure to try the delicious "Heart Stopper" - a BLT that lives up to its name and an old-fashioned shake.
Broadway Oyster Bar
Maybe St. Louis doesn't scream Cajun or Creole like New Orleans, but this one may change your mind.
Located in the heart of downtown, Broadway Oyster Bar is as good at Cajun food as anyone and they have an atmosphere to match. With such an appetizing menu, you might need some help. So here's a few favorites -- Shrimp Voodoo (because Sriracha makes everything great), Crawfish Enchiladas, or a Fried Oyster Po' Boy. But don't miss out on the full BOB experience -- make sure to check their Facebook page or website before you visit to catch them on a live music night to feel like you've been transported to the heart of Louisiana without leaving the Midwest.
Sauce on the Side
If you're new to the provel game, you're missing out. Well, maybe. The St. Louis specialty cheese is either hated or loved and really nothing in between. This "stick-to-your-teeth" white cheese is a mix of cheddar, provolone, and swiss. It's extra gooey and is typically featured on St. Louis-style pizza. In a less traditional fashion, you can try it in the "Meet me in St. Louie" calzone. The hearty meal features pepperoni, Italian sausage, provel, a mascarpone-ricotta cheese mix, garlic oil, and meat sauce (on the side of course).
This is THE place to visit for a real taste of St. Louis. Ted Drewes is as STL as it gets -- just as much as Cardinals baseball, The Arch, and the Blues. The ultimate summer day in The Lou is a trip to Busch Stadium or The ZOO with a stop here afterwards to cool off. Their delectable frozen custard can be enjoyed a few ways, but we recommend trying the "concrete". This treat lets you add fun flavors to your custard like cookie dough, brownies, mint, marshmallows, and strawberries (among countless others), but the real treat? Once mixed, the concoction is so thick it can be turned upside down. If you don't feel like making your own, try the Tedad's (scotch oatmeal cookie) or the Twisted Caramel (a concrete or sundae with salted caramel and pretzel pieces).
There are two locations to grab a tasty treat -- Chippewa and Grand.
With a place named "Mom's", you know you'll get friendly service that makes you feel like family, and large servings. This cash-only sandwich joint has been serving up St. Louisans' favorites since the 70s. Try the "Mom's Special", a turkey-ham-beef combination with Munchee Cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, and tangy homemade Thousand Island dressing or the "Charlie's Special", turkey with mozzarella and mayo served hot or cold. The small joint located on Jamieson offers quick service -- perfect for carry out to enjoy a summer picnic in Forest Park.
There's so many options to try in the Lou, whether you're interested in something quick to enjoy during a summer day or something a little hotter that makes you want to hear some jazz. What you choose really doesn't matter, just stay long enough to try each one. Meet you in St. Louie!