In 1910, fourth-generation German immigrant Alvin O. Eckert set up a small produce stand on a roadside in Belleville, Illinois. More than 100 years later, that roadside stand has flourished into the expansive Belleville plot of Eckert's Farm: a pastoral acreage where orchards surround a country-style restaurant, bakery, and handmade-custard shop. The Eckert family's sixth and seventh generations ensure this farm remains a true family affair. Sixth-generation member Jim Eckert is the chief horticulturist, and his cousin-once-removed, Chris, oversees retail operations and the sale of the farm's homegrown produce and spare scarecrow parts. Chris's sister Jill helms the food program, and his wife Angie oversees the Country Store and colorful Garden Center.
Throughout the year, visitors arrive on the Belleville farm's grounds for a range of seasonal activities, including peach-, apple-, and pumpkin-picking. During the summer, a concert series features live outdoor music on Friday and Saturday nights, and in the fall, staff lead bonfires and evening hayrides through the orchards. Inside the farm building, instructors teach cooking classes for adults and children, as well as a wine-pairing class.
Family-friendly activities also abound at the Eckert family's other two farms. The Grafton farm, where public apple-picking began in 1964, offers daily animal feeding and miniature golf. The seasonal Millstadt farm is home to a workshop, haunted hayrides, and an array of warm-weather children's attractions—including a 70-foot underground slide.
Inside the St. Louis Downtown Airport, travelers excitedly bustle about on their way to distant destinations or emerge from vacations rested and ready to return home. The constant stream of action is all part of the experience for diners at Crusoe’s on the Runway, which combines the spectacle of air travel with hearty American meals. Whether they’re traveling or just stopping by for a bite, diners fill their bellies as they overlook two of the three runways from the airport’s east ramp. St. Louis–style pizza, steaks, and pastas satiate hunger pangs, along with comfort food such as Mom’s meatloaf and country-fried steak. As they watch Airbus A320 jetliners and lightweight Boeing 757 aircrafts launch into the sky and gently touch down on the runway from their tables, guests can hold up score cards to judge the pilots’ form.
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.
Authentic Mexican dishes slathered in salsa and mole sauce send up savory wisps of steam from atop Mi Lupita’s casual wooden tabletops. In the kitchen, chefs stuff tortillas with chicken, shrimp, and steak as well as more inventive ingredients such as cactus and mixologists swirl together 60-ounce margaritas behind a bar.
Serving up low-key, classic diner fare across two locations, Slingers invites guests to enjoy American dishes ranging from St. Louis–style pizza to burgers. Stop in at any time of day to chow on breakfast foods, or head in after 11a.m. to dine on plates loaded with dinner rolls, pork chops, and a duet of sides.
Though Altai Mongolian Grill has built a formidable reputation in Russia, Mongolia, and China, its St. Louis location is the first in the United States. Here, diners craving authentic, flavorful Mongolian dishes can sample recipes straight from Mongolia. They pick a protein—such as beef, lamb, chicken, or scallops—spiced and cooked with their choice of herbs and vegetables. For a finishing touch, they can drizzle on one of a variety of signature and international sauces, including Asian ginger root and Ulaanbaatar spicy sauce.