Most butcher shops cut your meat for you, but few give you the skills to cut it yourself. For the experts at John’s Butcher Shoppee, sharing their skills is just a part of serving their community, something they’ve been doing for more than 38 years. The expert butchers set up shop at local Cabela’s locations, where they lead sessions on how to process deer into steaks, sausages, and ground meat. Back at their two locations, customers load up on homemade sausage, tender pork chops, and exotic meats such as elk, bison, and ostrich. The owners of the family business are often behind the counter, and take the time to cut or karate-chop a steak or pork chop to a customer’s desired size for no extra charge. Regular customers also take note of the butcher’s weekly meat raffle, dubbed Meat-O, wherein one lucky customer wins $25 in free meat to be served or bathed in however they see fit.
Being the first espresso bar in St. Louis had its drawbacks. When The Brevé Coffee Company opened its doors in 1995, the concept of a latte was unfamiliar to most residents in the downtown area, and the shop only made $58 its first day in business. But as owner Kevin Wiesehan and his wife added in flavorful small-batch-roasted coffee beans, a panini press, and savory café food, business started to boom. Brevé now has three locations throughout the St. Louis area.
In these coffee shops, baristas serve up expertly poured coffees alongside sandwiches, veggie wraps, and salads. Hand-dipped ice-cream treats with Ghirardelli chocolate, shots of house espresso, or foamy pours of root beer are both decadent and refreshing, much like waltzing with an ice sculpture of Fred Astaire.
Flanked by walls in cotton-candy pink and decorative accents reminiscent of a gingerbread house, the glass case at SweetTpieS Dessert Studio displays tiny cheesecakes, mini pecan pies, and cupcakes. Bakers glide behind the counter, adding flourishes of fondant to towering wedding cakes designed to resemble dresses, bouquets, or the frosting-filled swimming pool where the couple met. Artful cupcake towers array confections in an impressive fashion, and custom cake designs can be shrunken down into cake shots, which layer cake, toppings, and buttercream frosting made in house into push-pop form.
Steeped in a rich history that includes incarnations as a general store, a dance hall, and a stagecoach stop, Dreamland Palace dates back to 1875. With more than a century of laughter and good times embedded in its walls, the well-loved building exudes cozy German charm with its architecture, decor, and most important of all, cuisine. Beer steins and the occasional cuckoo clock line the walls of the cottage, and low-hanging Tiffany-style lamps illuminate aromatic plates of wurst, often accompanied by savory cabbage and potato pancakes.
It's rarely enjoyable to sit before a judge. But it's definitely enjoyable to sit and eat The Judge, an intimidatingly thick sandwich piled with sliced filet mignon, ham, bacon, and provolone on an onion kaiser roll. It's one of the many dishes that Courthouse Grill has named in honor of the government building just across the street. Aside from sandwiches known as The Defender and The Prosecutor are entrees such as garlic tortellini and the perennially popular rib eye. After a meal, there are plenty of reasons to hang around, as the two-floor space boasts a full bar, a smoking-section basement with pool and darts, and the occasional live band, which is apparently preferable to a sleeping band.