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.
Since 1981, the pizza specialists at Elicia's Pizza have zipped through St. Louis's tangled roads delivering piping-hot pies to households in 30 minutes or less. At the shop, marinara masters stretch house-made dough into the shape of a mad professor's monocle and lavish each thin-crust disk with fresh sauce and the house's three-cheese blend. Additionally, the pizzeria's menu celebrates casual eats, such as wings, baked pastas, sandwiches, and crisp salads.
In more than one way, Steve and Debbye Greer’s marriage brought about a new chapter in their lives. Not long after the wedding bells had ceased to ring—within a day, actually—the newly minted couple opened up The Concord Grill. More than 24 years after that fateful day, they continue to flip 40 varieties of burgers and stack up meaty sandwiches on a menu of hearty American staples—only now, they do so with two children by their side.
Taking cues from the jet with which the restaurant shares its name, half-pound burgers fly fresh off the grill, donning creative toppings that range from hash browns to port-wine cheddar. French bread, sourdough, or kaiser rolls come loaded with savory fillings such as breaded pork tenderloin and catfish, joined by hearty, country-style sides, including pickled cucumbers, house-made potato salad, and baked beans. A lineup of Pepsi products, pink lemonade, and iced tea washes down beefy bites and yields an unlimited number of refills for an unlimited number of spit takes.
The menu at Lucky China features many familiar dishes, from egg foo young to sweet and sour chicken. The chef's specialties section highlights favorites such as orange beef cooked with mandarin orange peel, golden crispy shrimp, and the Four Seasons—beef, shrimp, chicken, and pork with a vegetable medley. One corner of the menu departs from tradition, however, offering "lite," low-calorie fare that has been steamed instead of fried. The Triple Delight, for example, mixes chicken, beef, and shrimp with white rice and no salt.