Gallagher’s Restaurant is awash in Waterloo and St. Louis history from its foundation on up. Situated in a building built in 1870 with its original bar intact, the eatery is full of artifacts collected by owners John and Susie Gallagher over two decades. The balcony and bar feature original railings from the 1908 McKinley Bridge, the booths are made out of pocket doors from the Chase Park-Plaza Hotel, and the tables are repurposed bowling lanes from the old Bee Hive Bowl. To construct their masterpiece, the Gallagher family poured their own efforts into the building, doing almost all the physical labor themselves with help from their nephews, five sons, and other family members.
Inside that history-laden interior, servers bustle around with plates of hearty American fare and juicy eight-ounce burgers. Smoke-cured pork chops claim myriad state fair accolades for their glaze of sweet and sour peach sauce, and the chefs carefully stacks burgers with shiitake mushroom sauce and brie or an enchanting combo of cayenne candied bacon with cheddar or blue cheese. Every Sunday, the restaurant serves fried chicken dinners that were judged the best in the area by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which noted the flavorful blend of spices in the batter.
Jonny's Pizza & Pasta churns out Sicilian- and Chicago-style pizzas loaded with cheese, meats, and veggies. And while pizza may be the marquee dish, the menu features a whole slate of mouthwatering meals and appetizers, such as breadsticks and salads for starters. Nonpizza entrees include mostaccioli with meatballs, grilled chicken drenched in alfredo sauce and set upon a mountain of pasta, and Italian subs.
Hibachi Grill & Buffet stays one step ahead of the whims of diners' appetites by filling its buffet with Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and American dishes. The smorgasbord often includes entrees such as general tso's chicken, fried shrimp, and custom hibachi preparations grilled to order, as well as slices of pizza and saucy wings. Diners who opt for sushi will discover rolls that have been artfully arranged on plates amid swirls of savory sauces. The restaurant also offers items ? la carte if you're not in the mood to bump elbows at the buffet line or jostle for the coveted spot in front of the hibachi chef.
Humans cannot be expected to perform well at karaoke or during open-mic nights if they don’t receive the proper fuel. Therefore, Dylan’s Sports Bar and Grill's kitchen churns out a menu of hearty pub classics, and the bar offers potent brews to subdue excess nerves. On select Monday nights, guests can prepare for a competitive game of darts by carbo-loading with pasta alfredo or greasing elbows with a french dip’s au jus. Friday and Saturday nights call locals to the mic to demonstrate their singing skills—which generally seem to increase whenever audience members tuck toasted ravioli in their ears. Dylan's also features a few things you might not find at other eateries—a liberal smoking policy, for example. Thanks to a cutting-edge ventilation system, diners can smoke at their tables while keeping the air fresh for nonsmokers nearby. And even after reveling late into the night, they open bright and early at 6 a.m. to serve breakfasts of omelets, biscuits and gravy, and a "hangover cure"—a mound of crispy hash browns piled with eggs, sausage, and chili.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt's self-serve bar dishes out 16 flavors and 40 topping varieties as a healthy alternative to traditional desserts. Customers can fill bright-orange cups or upgrade the contents of a toy ice-cream truck with chilly swirls ($0.45/oz.) from the shop’s stainless-steel dispensers, which stock traditional chocolate and fruit-infused varieties as well as flavor blends such as peanut butter and lactose-free pineapple. Spoonfuls of fresh fruit, nuts, and candy ($0.45/ounce) add a kick of contrasting colors and textures to creamy peaks. Tropical tones blanket Orange Leaf's kid-friendly interior, a spacious retreat for palates with an area for onsite consumption or off-the-cuff games of Webster trivia.
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.