"For many Cardinals fans, Mike Shannon has become as much a part of Cardinals baseball as the 'Birds on the Bat,'" Cardinals chairman William O. Dewitt, Jr. once said. Shannon played his first Major League game as a Cardinal in 1962, and took the field as part of three World Series teams. And he's stayed part of the organization for more than 50 years, moving from the dugout to the broadcasting booth, and becoming an Emmy-winning sportscaster in the process.
Today, Mike Shannon continues to celebrate his Cardinals legacy at his eponymous sports bar. Visitors are greeted at the entry by a trophy case stocked with awards from Shannon's personal collection, illuminated by repurposed gym lights. On another wall, more than 500 baseballs bear the autographs of greats including Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and Mickey Mantle. The Grill is far from a kitschy sports bar, however?in one room, guests sip pisco sours at a gleaming zinc bar set against walls the hue of a night-game sky; in another, they cut into steak oscar at lamplit tables in stately leather booths.
Though the menu does have an upscale slant?featuring classic dishes such as roast chicken with brussels sprouts and seared jumbo scallops?there's burgers and fries, too, which diners dig into as they watch the game on one of the 18 flat-screen TVs. Outside, they can sip beers around the firepit or their neediest friend on a patio that overlooks the Park at Plum Creek.
Though it sits squarely in St. Louis, Broadway Oyster Bar might as well inhabit New Orleans. Even from the outside, the 150-year-old building exudes the revelry of the French Quarter, as an art-deco neon sign emblazoned with music notes joins colorful string lanterns to form an illuminated invitation for patrons to come in and live a little. Of course, inside is where the Cajun atmosphere is most apparent, especially in whiffs of dishes named the favorite Cajun/creole cuisine of the Sauce Magazine readers? poll every year since 2003. Chef Brad Hagen's acclaimed recipes include marinated alligator with homemade tartar sauce, shucked oysters topped with spinach cream sauce, and fresh-baked Gambino's bread filled with traditional po' boy fixings, such as fried catfish and shrimp. Feasts unfold in a cozy dining room or an open-air patio enclosed and heated in winter. There, local and national musicians grace the stage seven nights a week to play funk and blues tunes, just like Mom used to.
Joe Sanfilippo got his start in the food industry at age 11 when his Uncle Agostino recruited him to bus tables at his St. Louis restaurant on a particularly busy New Year’s night, according to St. Louis Magazine. Two years later, he returned to his hometown of Palermo to study and to attend culinary school at night, which ignited his passion for cooking and spurred him to open his own eatery at the tender age of 24. Today, the owner and executive chef of J.F. Sanfilippo’s Restaurant mingles his southern-Italian training with northern-Italian influences in a menu of pastas with tomato- or cream-based sauces, sautéed chicken and veal, and broiled steaks. In a recent KSDK 5 interview centering on the opening of his second location in Chesterfield, Joe confided that his 80-year-old mother still bakes the restaurant’s bread each day and divulged plans to bottle and sell J.F.’s popular vodka sauce, then ship it to Neptune.
In the family-style dining room at LuBar & Bistro, chatter from an underground bar, full-service bar drifts up the stairs, hinting at hidden revelry. A stone-fired oven for pizzas spills warmth out across the open space, skilled hands craft Italian ice cream, and spoons click against pots of housemade barbecue sauce, dressings, and marinara. Servers cruise by, transporting sandwiches and gluten-free options down to the underground lounge, where neon darts in ghosts of blue and pink off of a forest of bottles and a gleaming marbled bar. Bartenders mix drinks, ice clicking to punctuate tunes on the jukebox and occasional live music. As patrons lower glasses full of suds from Sam Adams, Hoegaarden, and Smithwick?s, big-screen TVs show sporting events and a soon-to-arrive cadre of video games?including Golden Tee?promise digital thrills. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, a breakfast buffet beckons to early risers from 8 a.m. to noon.
At Lorenzo's Bistro and Bakery, the bakers make their own dough from scratch for crusty breads baked on the hearth. Every day, visitors can stop in for the warm baguettes, challah, and french bread, as well as daily specials such as Sunday's cracked-wheat loaves.
But the bread is just the start of the culinary journey, which executive chef Wess Rose executes with an eye toward contemporary American dishes and Euro-American influences. Elegant steak, seafood, and pasta join surprise touches, such as the chefs' take on a louisville hot brown—smoked shaved turkey breast atop fresh challah bread topped with tomatoes, cheddar jack mornay sauce, crispy bacon, and chives. Charbroiled salmon fillets glisten with raspberry barbecue glaze, and marinated portobellos and vegetable medleys stuff puff pastries to create vegetable wellingtons, which are topped with pesto and feta.
In the restaurant's foyer, the staff mans a market where people can grab cups of coffee or pick up ready-to-eat entrees to take home. In addition to the breads, customers often drop by to pick up muffins, scones, and sandwiches for meals on the go that are tastier than oatmeal in a tube.
Raffi's Restaurant has perfected its menu of classic Italian dishes since its founding in 1989. Dinners kick off with appetizers such as crab cakes in creamy pesto sauce and toasted ravioli. Entrees arrive next, pleasing palates with bites of spicy shrimp diablo, rigatoni in a rich bacon, pea, and cheese carbonara sauce, and chicken saltimbocca topped with capers, mushrooms, and thin slices of egg, cheese, and bacon.
Wines complement each dish, as do cocktails from the Palm Lounge, Raffi's full-service bar. During warmer months, patrons can sample the Palm Lounge's stock of fine cigars on an outdoor patio that overlooks a bubbling fountain. There, they can blow smoke at their least favorite Internet memes while hooked up to the restaurant's complimentary WiFi.