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.
No matter the time of day or night, the kitchen staff at Gingham’s Restaurant churns out any meal—be it breakfast for dinner or lunch at 2 a.m. —that their customers crave. Famous buttermilk pancakes speckled with everything from blueberries to bits of bacon hush grumbling stomachs, as the friendly wait staff shuffles around bottomless pots of Ronnoco coffee and homemade dinner rolls. Chefs scramble farm-fresh eggs into nine different omelets, masterfully fry chicken, and drown homestyle meatloaf in rich gravy. The eatery doesn’t forget about dessert, satiating the child that nests in everyone’s molars with ice-cream sundaes and cherry crisps.
The top brass twisters at Auntie Anne's, one of the world's largest hand-rolled, soft-pretzel franchises, create enough twirly treats every year to wrap the earth in deliciously salted dough three times over. Pretzel professionals prepare a wide array of sweet and salty snacks, spiraling them into ornate knots with the delicacy of a grandmotherly sailor and baking them to golden brown in full view of customers. A plain pretzel offers a satisfyingly simple snack, while sacchariferous ingredients such as cinnamon sugar and toasted-almond toffee make tongues sweat with anticipation. Mouths will mambo to the Mediterranean flavors of the garlic pretzel, a perfect treat to submerge into a dunk tank of marinara or one of the other available dipping sauces. Or, sample slender tubewiches swathed in the warm embrace of pretzel dough with signature pretzel dogs. Pair braided bites with a chalice of lemonade or a frozen ICEE drink, both of which pack a flavorful punch that’s more refreshing than a brisk morning run that successfully evades a pursuing snow leopard.
Upper Deck Sports Bar expertly entertains thirsty sports-cravers with daily drink specials, 35 HDTV’s, pool tables, and darts. Brimming with intoxicating liquids, the sports bar dishes out bottled and bucketed beer augmented by a kaleidoscope of cocktails. Juicy chicken wings ($5.99) satiate famished taste buds with hot, mild, teriyaki, hot mustard, and traditional BBQ flavors. The spicy Italian combo sandwich is packed with Genoa salami, smoked ham, pepperoni, and cheese ($5.99). Ward off lactose-intolerant zombies with the deluxe pizza ($12.99), a thin crust concealed by mozzarella, then topped with Italian sausage, fresh mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and strips of bacon. Sip a brew on the sports sanctuary’s cozy leather couches and catch the worm charming championships on the wall-to-wall flat screen televisions.
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.