Executive chef Ben Guthier at Chez Leon—which St. Louis magazine called "a reminder of what 'dining out' should be"—delights diners with lunch and dinner menus populated by cleanly executed French cuisine. Guests commence consumption within the dining room's darkly hued walls, whimsical still lifes, and a stately chandelier, which make Chez Leon an elegant stage for interpretations of Gérard Depardieu's acclaimed performance in 102 Dalmatians. To complement a lavish meal, patrons can select a luxurious wine and empathize with the caterers of the Tennis Court Oath for their unwavering dedication to French excellence.
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.
It all started in the restaurant where Tom Harte's daughter was a waitress. She convinced him to bake a few cakes and sell them there. The rich, creamy indulgence his cheesecakes promised became a hit in no time, and My Daddy's Cheesecake Bakery was born. Today, a team of confectioners crafts fresh cakes daily at its state-of-the-art 5,500-square-foot storefront and production facility. The demand for their cakes is so high, however, that they offer cakes by mail, ensuring everyone can have their cake and eat it, too. Whether grabbing them in store or online, cakes sate sweet teeth with more than 20 flavors, such as N'Orleans praline, peanut butter and chocolate, eggnog, and dreamsicle. They also welcome guests to stop by the shop for fresh-baked muffins, artfully assembled sandwiches, and cups of gourmet coffee.
Aside from a few hours on Sunday, the neon Open sign hanging at the entrance of Tiffany's Original Diner never powers down. This old-school, cash-only diner keeps its doors open 'round the clock the rest of the week, luring customers with the promise of burgers, booze, and hearty breakfast dishes.
That's been the scene here since 1960, when Tiffany's first opened its doors. One step inside, and you might feel transported back to that era: red stools line a long counter, dishes clang in the back kitchen, and a jukebox?with a meticulously assembled and proudly "Bieber-free" catalog?cranks out classic tunes. Every other Monday, performers stop by so customers can take in live music and the jukebox can head home to see his wife and kids. On your way out, feel free to borrow a book from the honor-system library, or leave an old paperback behind.
Since opening the doors to its first location in the art-colony atmosphere of Laguna Beach, Zpizza?s cooks have carefully crafted gourmet pizzas. The chefs artfully shape each pie, first using organic wheat flour for the dough, hand-throwing it, and fire-baking it to a thin, crisp crust. Wisconsin skim-milk mozzarella from grass-fed cows crowns pizzas, along with certified-organic tomato sauce and fresh produce. In addition to classic toppings such as pepperoni and sausage, they also enhance pizzas with inventive ingredients such as cremini, shiitake mushrooms, and truffle oil patented by Thomas Edison. Small gluten-free crusts are available to support all topping combinations. Vegan choices include the Berkeley vegan pie with vegan cheese and veggie-burger crumbles.
Zpizza also attempts to better the environment with eco-friendly delivery bikes, recyclable containers and bags, and nitrate-free meats. The company also helps the community with charity fundraisers and school partnerships to promote literacy by sponsoring reading programs and hiding sonnets under each layer of cheese.
Roland and Carla Ounanian, the owners of Pasta Plus, have been serving up casual Italian cuisine in the heart of Clayton since 1992. In a welcoming space decorated with red-and-white checkered floors and tablecloths, diners twist forks in bowls of baked spaghetti with meatballs or garlic linguini with baby shrimp. Other specialties include oven-toasted sub sandwiches and hand-tossed pizzas layered with a blend of mozzarella and provelone cheeses.