Brock Ruma tapped into his own family recipes to create his restaurant's classic deli menu of hot and cold sandwiches, pastas, and sides. In addition, his chefs prepare their own versions of St. Louis specialties including toasted ravioli, thin-crust pizzas loaded with Provel cheese and DiGregorio’s sauce, and replicas of the Arch made with toothpicks.
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.
Since opening in 1996, Roly Poly has expanded from 1 location in Atlanta, Georgia, to more than 125 sandwich shops in 24 states. More than 50 sandwich-wrap choices include traditional combinations, vegetarian options, and rolled-up creations enriched by unconventional sandwich spreads such as red-pepper hummus and mango chutney. Like ill-prepared boy scouts in the wilderness at nightfall, Roly Poly’s sandwich ingredients seek shelter inside fresh tortillas.
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.
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.
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.