St. Louis Food and Drink Guide

The Geographies of the Calorie: A STL Urban Exploration

Dear colleagues,  

As you prepare to research and discuss during four weeks how diverse historical spatial configurations and senses of place affected knowledge production, exchange, and consumption across the world from the 1400s to the 1800s, our team is well aware of the fact that updated knowledge about spaces and places dedicated to food and drink across the city of St. Louis is also vital for the success of our institute.  

In order to provide you with crucial information about places where you can restore yourselves after intense institute sessions, we would like to provide you with a basic guide about institutions that have made our experience of space around campus and the city of St. Louis more pleasurable and multidimensional.  

We would be delighted to start a conversation with you about such institutions as well as about new places that you might encounter during your stay with us in St. Louis. May this list help you set your stomachs on the right foot as the GGOK Institute begins! 

Coffee and Tea

Near campus the best options for coffee, tea, and light lunches are:  

Quarrelsome Coffee 

Northwest Coffee 

These two places are located West of campus (toward the Central West End neighborhood and Forest Park). From campus it is a 5mins walk to reach the first one and a 10mins walk to reach the second one. Both places offer indoor and outdoor spaces which are pleasant when the time comes to work alone or have a group conversation.  

Near campus, but on the East side of it, in the Art District area, we recommend:  

High and Low Coffee 

Omen Coffee 

These two places are a bit farther away from campus (10/15 mins walk each) but they are worth a try or two. A personal favorite is High and Low. This place provides Blueprint Coffee (the most delicious coffee in town). The indoor space, designed and owned by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, is ideal if you decide to spend a morning or part of an afternoon working there.  

Speaking of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, the Art District neighborhood is a compelling area with interesting and engaging cultural institutions, including the which currently has an exhibit dedicated to Medieval Art, Nature, and Eco-Criticism (of prime relevance for our Institute). The Pulitzer building is an original work by the architect Takao Endo. The Pulitzer is also a great place where one can relax and work (if needed) upstairs (5 min away from campus) 

Lunch and Dinner Near Campus

In the Art District neighborhood, you will find other dinning and drinking options, including the Fountain on Locust, Small Batch Whiskey & Fare, Pappy’s Smokehouse (a St. Louis BBQ favorite). We recommend visiting the rooftop of the Angad Arts hotel. It is a lovely place to go to at sunset. When moving around as a group, the Urban Chestnut Midtown Brewery and Biergarten is a convivial spot where one can relax at the end of a long research day. Other eateries are available in this part of town, including fine dining and more expensive experiences such as Bulrush, if you decide to treat yourself with a multi-course meal.  

Back to the place where Quarrelsome and Northwest Coffee are located, you will find other lunch and dining options. We would like to recommend Taqueria Morita by Vicia Restaurant (15 mins walk or easy drive from campus). Other options and student/faculty favorite places in this area are the Scottish Arms Pub, Wasabi Sushi, Juniper, Retreat Gastropub… 

Closer to campus, restaurants such as Saucy Porka, Yapi Mediterranean Sandwiches, and Humphrey’s do the job when needed. Of course, the food hall of the City Foundry and its market Fresh Thyme are easily reachable from campus. If you decide to go to the City Foundry food court please let us know about your favorite place to eat there.  

Farther away, but not too far, from campus, you will find other dining options in the Central West End neighborhood (this neighborhood also includes a Whole Foods market and a Shake Shack fast food location). We will let you discover some of these options but we can’t miss the opportunity here to recommend our favorite bookstore: Left Bank Books 

STL New Classics

For more adventurous culinary experiences, we must confess that STL thrives when it comes to easy and simple sandwiches and regional food creations. More high-end options are often not as satisfying and overrated. Here are two suggestions that will not leave you indifferent:  

Balkan Treat Box (this place requires driving). They are only open for lunch. We recommend going on Friday or Saturday. Beware of the line but it is worth it. 

Union Loafers, part of the renewal of the simple but delicious culinary scene across the city. When it comes to bread, this is a more than solid option. Their lunch menu is organized around sandwiches and salads. Try the small gem salad and let’s talk about it. If you go there at night, their menu will be exclusively dedicated to pizzas. Their selection of natural wines is more than decent. Near Union Loafers, Olio is a nice but somehow pricey place to hang out. For a great pizza night, we also recommend Pizzeria da Gloria in the old Italian Hill Neighborhood. If you go there, drop by the cured meat Volpi factory; their sandwiches are nice. 

Following up with sandwich options, we recommend exploring the Grove and Tower Grove neighborhoods. The latter must include a visit to the most beautiful park of the city (Tower Grove Park), located near the Missouri Botanical Garden. This park is one of the last Victorian parks that remains as such in the country. During the weekend, you can plan to have a picnic there while enjoying its small but very vivid Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. 

In the Grove neighborhood, our team recommends, among many other options:  

Sameem Afghan restaurant 

And in the Tower Grove neighborhood, among many other places, make sure to visit:  

Pizza Head (delicious vegetarian and vegan made pizzas. They have a terrace where you can enjoy a slice of NYC style pizza) 

Grand Spirits (for natural wines. In a different location but with a similar spirit see Pastaria

Lulu’s Local Eatery (vegetarian friendly locale) 

Wild/Delicious Cards

Please find below a random list of places that also touched our stomachs’ hearts. All of them are located in different parts of STL and they should provide you with a good excuse to exit campus for the sake of spatial and gastronomic orientation:  

Tiny Chef (this talented cook produces flavorful Korean fusion small dishes. Her kitchen is located in an obscure, fun, and funky pinball bar room. Check operation hours) 

Taqueria El Bronco + Ssippi. The wining combo! Located in the Cherokee Street neighborhood, these two places are a great pairing when it comes to enjoy a fun evening. Ssippi offers a lovely back patio. El Bronco has this simple but delicious cantina vibe. The Cherokee neighborhood is worth exploring further, especially when it comes to second-hand shops, antiques, sustainable fashion, coffee shops, and other restaurant options) 

Chiang Mai (delicious Thai restaurant) 

Bagel Union (the most philological bagels in towns. By the owners of Union Loafers) 

Menya Rui (Ramen in STL? Well, apparently yes… The city has much to say about Vietnamese Pho, see places located on Olive Street, but this ramen place is worth your consideration) 

This list does not comment on food options available in lovely neighborhoods such as Lafayette Square and Soulard (notwithstanding its name and its many nightlife venues, Soulard has a good food offering). We leave it here for you to explore, but we recommend a visit to the Soulard Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. This is one of the oldest and still operating farmer’s markets in the country.  

A Final Drop (Breweries)

Solid options: Perennial, Civil Life, the Urban Chestnut beer hall (located in the Grove  neighborhood. They also have a location mentioned earlier which is closer to campus), Rockwell beer (between campus and the Grove neighborhood), and Earthbound Beer (in the Cherokee neighborhood).  

In a league of its own: The Side Project Cellar (a prime destination for beer amateurs from all around the world. If you like sour and geeky beers which match the best lambic beers made in Belgium by artists such as Brasserie Cantillon or 3 Fonteinen, this is your dream place. [NB: the cost of the beers is proportional to the quality and highly specialized craft of its makers]. If you decide to go there, and since they do not offer food onsite, you can stop by Bolyard’s Meats to try their sandwiches or go to Strange Donuts if you are looking for the sweeter side of edible things. The neighborhood of Maplewood has more to offer when it comes to compelling dining options. 

Last but not least…

Although we remain agnostic about heated polemics and disheartening reginal rivalries when it comes to discussing the value of glorified BBQ and Ice Cream geographies, please find below our two cents when it comes to suggest one option for each categories: 

BBQ: Salt & Smoke 

Ice Cream Shop: Clementine’s 

As mentioned above, this list is far from being exhaustive. It works as an appetizer and aims to foster fundamental conversations about food and drink among our group. As the Institute progresses, your recommendations and feedback will be more than welcome. 

To your knives and forks! 

The GGOK Team 

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