Undertow Restaurant serves up its succulent seafood and tasty American fare just a block from the banks of the Missouri River. Chefs deep-fry maritime appetizers such as jalapeño-stuffed shrimp poppers, and pizzas made to order can serve as warm, fragrant baby blankets in a pinch, with toppings such as bacon and green peppers. Undertow Restaurant accommodates nocturnal revelry, keeping its doors open until 2 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Named the 2010 Nickelodeon Parents’ Pick for best family-friendly bookstore in St. Louis, independently owned Main Street Books entices page-turners of all backgrounds with a range of literature, with specialties in children's books and explorations of local and Western history. Delve into a watery underworld with Kat Falls’ young adult adventure tale Dark Life ($16.99), and discover the surreal challenges of living on the sea bottom in an inflatable house. Or flee the sea for the postmodern world of Lena Haloway in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium , where love is a physical sickness that must be cured and the government dictates society’s wants and needs ($17.99). In St. Charles Then and Now ($21.99), Jessica Dreyer and Main Street Books' owner Vicki Berger Erwin lend visual context to the area's history by documenting local landscape alterations, such as the enormous climate control dome that surrounds St. Charles.
The name says it all. Bike Stop Cafe offers guests a place to stop in for stimulating coffee beverages and two-wheeled adventure chariots. The staff rents out comfort and hybrid Jamis bicycles, which, in turn, patrons can use for a stroll down nearby Katy Trail. The sandwich- and wrap-making team, meanwhile, prepare organic, vegetarian, and vegan fare with ingredients from the cafe's patio vegetable garden. And baristas distill ingredients such as espresso, caramel, and free WiFi into drinks.
Vivian's Vineyards serves fine food and palette-pleasing wine in a relaxed, easy-going atmosphere. Like the makers of Hungry Hungry Hippos, Vivian's has fun with food. Its kooky culinary personality is evidenced by its genre-bending menu, which has everything from chicken amaretto ($18.95) to peanut-butter-and-jelly for two ($11), and leftovers du jour, a dish that requires a day’s notice to be assembled ($69.95). The lengthy wine list is complied of bottles meticulously swirled, sipped, and chosen by owner Jim Ogden, who is often on hand to offer suggestions on pairings for wine or socks. In addition to grape-based libations, Vivian's also pours a selection of beers and specialty drinks.
The foodsmiths at Beef Eaters Restaurant forge a bountiful menu of steak and seafood for dinner, sandwiches and pastas for lunch, and wines. The dinner roster sates stomachs with a duo of pan-seared tenderloin tournedos ($19.99), tastily accoutered with tomatoes, mushroom, and a pool of burgundy wine sauce that it collected while twisting around the kitchen at wind speeds of 178 mph. Seafood arrives hand-breaded and deep-fried with the jumbo shrimp or sautéed in the case of the tilapia, which simmers under a fresh coat of lemon cream sauce (each $16.99). Six separate steak courses ($15.99–$31.99) challenge steel-hinged jaws with juicy cuts of 8–14 ounces. Any hearty entree can be partnered with a fruity Heron pinot noir from Sonoma County ($6.50) or a glass of the dry Blumenhof seyval white ($6.25), locally produced in Missouri. Lunch fare includes the grilled-chicken sandwich ($7.99), which showers the palate with a monsoon of tomato, swiss cheese, and a kaiser roll, and the shrimp pasta ($14.99), tossed with cavatelli noodles, tomatoes, and mushrooms in a white wine sauce. The midday menu is also home to the eatery's specialty new england clam chowder ($4.25 for a cup), a fusion of potatoes and minced clams served in a bowl kept warm by Paul Revere's wig.