Flowing steadily from a fountain, or la fuente in Spanish, water represents luck, promises, hopes, and dreams. For the past decade or so, Las Fuentes restaurant has certainly fulfilled the virtue of its name, as the family-owned eatery has expanded to three locations across St. Louis. At each spot, chefs prepare authentic Mexican feasts fit for meat eaters, seafood lovers, and vegetarians alike. Soft corn and flour tortillas envelop succulent meats, such as al pastor, shrimp, and shredded beef. Cast-iron skillets sizzle with fresh fajita vegetables and a bounty of seafood, including scallops and tilapia. Vegetarians, meanwhile, can enjoy tostadas, chalupas, and quesadillas chockfull of beans and cheese. As patrons chow down, they can also enjoy the day’s event, such as karaoke or a live mariachi band.
Sunny Street Café's flavored-packed menu presents homey breakfast fare, sandwiches, and dinner entrees served by a welcoming staff. For a harmonious breakfast, the eggs Blackstone marries poached eggs with grilled tomato slices presided over, as in a traditional British wedding, by an english muffin topped with hollandaise and crumbled bacon ($7.29). At lunchtime, tuck into the Buffalo chicken salad ($7.99)—starring fried or grilled chicken strips slathered in hot sauce and supported by a cast of greens, veggies, and shredded cheese—or take on the half-pound Black Angus Western burger ($7.99), a bicep-testing meal loaded with bacon, barbecue sauce, jack cheese, and vidalia-onion rings that requires a spotter to safely lift. Hearty dinner fare, such as country-fried steak ($10.99) served over a bed of potatoes and blanketed with a cascade of homemade gravy, is available Tuesdays through Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. To conclude the sitting, a hot-fudge-sundae cheesecake treats fatigued taste buds to gooey fudge, pecans, and whipped cream ($3.49).
When founders J. Kim Tucci, Joseph A. Fresta, and John P. Ferrara first opened The Pasta House Co. in 1974, they wanted to elevate pasta to an art form. “Some artists sculpt, some paint, and some sketch,” they write on the restaurant’s website. “But, at The Pasta House Co., we create authentic Italian culinary delights.” A few of the locations even have giant, exhibition kitchens so you can watch as pizzas, pastas, and entrees come to life.
Naturally, The Pasta House Co.’s menu revolves around the Italian staple from which it gets its name. There are more than 25 varieties of pasta to choose from, including linguine with chicken livers and the signature lasagna, plus weekday specials such as stuffed manicotti. Meanwhile, the mangia bene menu—which translates to “eat well” in Italian—showcases the more wholesome side of Italian eating, with dishes low in fat and calories that won’t peer pressure you to break curfew.
Even if pizza isn't your thing—which is unthinkable—the menu at St. Louis Pizza & Wings has something tasty and satisfying to please palates. The kitchen staff prepares 14 signature sandwiches, including an open-faced ham and cheese on garlic bread, and seven traditional pasta dishes for in-house dining or takeout. Double-decker burgers and boneless wings sate cravings for classic pub cuisine, and nine specialty pizzas come with hand-tossed thick crusts or St. Louis–style thin crusts.
Humans cannot be expected to perform well at karaoke or during open-mic nights if they don’t receive the proper fuel. Therefore, Dylan’s Sports Bar and Grill's kitchen churns out a menu of hearty pub classics, and the bar offers potent brews to subdue excess nerves. On select Monday nights, guests can prepare for a competitive game of darts by carbo-loading with pasta alfredo or greasing elbows with a french dip’s au jus. Friday and Saturday nights call locals to the mic to demonstrate their singing skills—which generally seem to increase whenever audience members tuck toasted ravioli in their ears. Dylan's also features a few things you might not find at other eateries—a liberal smoking policy, for example. Thanks to a cutting-edge ventilation system, diners can smoke at their tables while keeping the air fresh for nonsmokers nearby. And even after reveling late into the night, they open bright and early at 6 a.m. to serve breakfasts of omelets, biscuits and gravy, and a "hangover cure"—a mound of crispy hash browns piled with eggs, sausage, and chili.