At Malone’s Grill & Pub, chefs fire-grill steaks and half-pound burgers, and they slow-char grill baby back ribs while basting the slabs in a house barbecue sauce. The comfort food that travels from kitchen to table matches the pub’s neighborhood vibes, as friends and families connect over meals and glasses of Malone’s own Irish brews. Daily specials reinforce the pub’s friendly aura, including on Tuesdays, when kids eat for free with each paid adult entrée.
Founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King rapidly expanded from humble beginnings as a lone burger joint to more than 12,400 locations across 79 countries today, making it the second-largest fast-food-hamburger chain in the world. Its signature burger?the Whopper sandwich?consists of flame-broiled, quarter-pound beef patties crowned with a miniature fedora and a fully customizable array of toppings such as tomatoes, onions, and dill pickles. Focused on continual improvement, the chain recently reinvented the fries that accompany each value meal, outfitting the spud slices with a thicker cut of potato for a fluffier texture on the inside and crispier golden-brown exterior. A spread of decadent desserts including dutch apple pie and Hershey pie keeps sweet teeth from elongating into fangs, and made-to-order breakfast sandwiches clasp eggs, american cheese, and bacon, sausage, or ham between two halves of a flaky croissant to round out the speedy menu.
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.
At The Rice House, owner Kenny Truong fuses Asian cuisine with Midwestern tastes concocting dishes such as crispy philly cheesesteak wontons and St. Louis-style fried rice. Pots of specialty gumbo simmer with turkey and collard greens, and thick slices of texas toast hold together St. Paul sandwiches such as the Angry Bird with chicken, jalapeños, pickles, and onions topped with melting muenster cheese. Patrons can also find quintessential Chinese-American staples such as lo mein, egg foo young, or sweet-and-sour pork.
Husband-and-wife team Koffy and Kike Osun bring the singular flavors of African cuisine from Nigeria, Ghana, and Jamaica to the St. Louis area. The kitchen's chefs craft dishes of jollof rice, fried plantains, fried tilapia, pounded yam, and fried chicken wings with a host of ingredients they import directly from Africa. When the sun drops in the Missouri sky, a DJ sets up shop inside the eatery, spinning afrobeat, kwaito, juju, and soukous beats as patrons show off their best square-dance moves.
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.