Studio Gallo blu is a three-pronged artistic haven, complete with a café, studio, and gallery. The studio inspires guests with Tuscan-style decor, complete with brick and coral walls adorned with lushly rendered paintings of rolling hills and framed landscapes by painter Kate Franklin. Franklin—who also instructs students during Chianti and Canvas classes—isn't the only artist with work hanging in the gallery. The city's cache of talented local-artists' work cycles through the space, showcasing their skills—the artists occasionally even pop by during classes for adults and children. The space is also available for private art lessons as well as a wide variety of events, including children's tea parties, fashion-themed bashes, and BYOB studio time that occasionally results in Pollock-inspired dress-shirt stains.
Iggy's Mexican Cantina celebrates authentic Mexican cuisine with an extensive menu brimming with amply portioned burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, and specialties. Prep for headlining entrees with an opening act such as the fajita taco salad ($7.49), loaded with lettuce, chicken or steak, grilled garden favorites, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole. Traditional land-meat and seafood collide within the epic quesadilla fiesta ($7.99), which unites grilled shrimp, steak, and chicken within warm, cheesy folds of delectable tortilla. Meanwhile, pork pundits can fork into three enchiladas al pastor ($8.49), liberally stuffed with barbecue pork and grilled onions. Let your tongue-schooner sail the salty seas of Iggy's chilled margaritas ($6.99 for medium), served in several fruity flavors, such as mango and peach. Long-distance eaters can cross their tongues' finish line with two sweet Mexican desserts ($2.99 each)—honey-and-cinnamon-sprinkled sopapilla or paradoxical fried ice cream.
El Charro slings an extensive dinner menu of innovative Mexican fare, from stuffed quesadillas and sizzling fajitas to homemade tacos and fruity sangria. Acclimate bellies to spicy cuisine with a cadre of 10 shrimp sautéed in lemon, garlic, and habanero peppers, or play it cool with steak-stuffed quesadillas. Sizzling fajitas saunter over to tables with a posse of bell peppers and onions, backed by flour tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, and rice. Feed crispy cravings with two homestyle, deep-fried burritos bursting with beef, fresh jalapeño, and cheese, or take on a chromatic trifecta with the tri-color cheese enchiladas swimming like Father Christmas on vacation in a pool of green sauce, sour cream, and red sauce. All orders include fruity sangria or draft beer, ideal for sharing with dates or guzzling in front of thirsty enemies.
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.
Plates of queso fundido overflow with cheese and chorizo at tables around Chihuahua's Mexican Restaurant, where diners sip five types of refreshing margaritas. In the kitchen, cooks flip sizzling shrimp to include in savory quesadillas, or wrap jumbo shrimp in bacon to fill Juarez fajitas packed with bell peppers and onions.
The imposing distance between Missouri and the Mexican border—a whopping 1,000 miles—doesn’t stop the chefs at Taqueria El Rodeo from transporting guests to the land of the hot sun. Within the casual café, they serve up generous burritos and nachos ramped up with zesty chorizo and steak or healthy veggies. The staff cooks every authentic Mexican dish with only fresh ingredients, and they welcome guests to imbibe Mexican or domestic beers and tangy fruit margaritas.
Though their cooking may take longer than a fast-food restaurant, Taqueria El Rodeo is so dedicated to making their fresh Mexican cuisine accessible that they’ve outfitted their eatery with a drive-through window, but you should only drive through it when it's open.