City Bistro specializes in hearty American sandwiches. Its menu catalogs a Tuscan grilled chicken wrap with provolone and aioli sauce, as well as a steak sandwich with grilled portabella mushrooms and on a toasted bun. Beyond their cheddar bacon cheeseburgers and BLTs, the team pours wine, mixes cocktails, and chills bottles of imported and domestic beer at their newly remodeled and expanded bar area that features a stage for live blues and Motown music.
Beneath the soaring ceilings of the 130-year-old Palm House, chefs roll out an award-winning buffet peppered with seasonal produce and local artisanal ingredients. A coveted destination for weddings and unloved cacti, the brick greenhouse throws open its doors to the brunch-going public each Sunday, inspiring the Riverfront Times to name it "a temple to the brunch-ian cause". Verdant palm fronds drape the historic busts that stand sentinel around the sunny, 3,800-square-foot dining room, which the Butler’s Pantry design team outfits with elegant food spreads. In the warmer months, staff usher patrons onto the patio, a prime vantage point for idyllic lily ponds and horse-drawn carriages.
The Soulard building has come a long way since its days as a turn-of-the-century shoe factory. Its newest tenants, however, still pay homage to their space’s industrial origins, keeping the original concrete pillars and exposed brick walls in Franco's dining room. That isn't to say the owners scoff at modernity—they've updated the charmingly rustic environs with sleek, undulating light fixtures. This balance between past and future extends to the cuisine, which has been lauded by St. Louis Magazine as a “minor masterpiece.” Chefs spotlight classic French meats and cheeses and infuse them with Midwestern flourishes such as molasses-bourbon gastrique sauce. Additionally, servers happily recommend wine pairings or the best wine bottles for trapping genies, a feat that earned Franco’s staff the Best Service in a Restaurant award from Riverfront Times.