The product of an artistically inclined married couple with a passion for all-natural foods, SweetArt boasts a menu of organic and homemade cookies, cupcakes, cakes, sandwiches, and wraps, with an all-vegetarian lunch menu that features a bounty of vegan options. Co-founder Cbabi's colorful paintings cover the neighborhood bakeshop and art studio's sun-kissed, bright walls, making it a lovely locale to bust out your idea journal over a vegan Sweet burger ($7.25) paired with a spicy cup of flad ($3.95), Sweet Art's house-made, vegan, three-bean chili loaded with chunky sweet potatoes. The grilled Klemm ($5.95) is served stuffed with cheese, fresh broccoli, and roasted garlic, while the vegan Botanical ($6.85) swaddles baked tofu, black sesame seeds, cilantro, spicy peanut sauce, and veggies.
Host to regular erotic art shows and sex-positive social events, Shameless Grounds serves up a dose of radical inclusiveness alongside its frothy espresso drinks. Customers 18 and older rappel down the human-sexuality lending library's bookshelves with care so as not to spill foamy lattes (a $3 value) or bold americanos (a $2.55 value) on erotic photography and gender-studies tomes. Alternatively, the S'creamer (a $3.85 value) combines ice cream and espresso with rich chocolate sauce for a dessert easily sipped during rounds of kinky bingo, fetish-themed karaoke nights, and other sex-positive events.
The modern flourishes on Copia's menu are globally-inspired but grounded by an American culinary tradition. Brought to you by chef Zach Fiorimondo and property director Derrick Collquett, dishes such as chilies and champagne-goat-cheese cream take off from Midwestern classics, such as slow-roasted rotisserie chicken, house-smoked trout, and pork-rib chops.
Aided by a wine market whose bottles pour into the dining room at retail price, the downtown eatery aims to shuttle city dwellers directly into wine country with 18,000 square feet of exposed brick walls, wood-beam ceilings, and white tablecloths. Elsewhere within the rambling complex, natural light pours into an atrium garden, a glass waterfall neatly partitions off the bar to prevent diners from impulsively ordering every dish and drink they see, and stainless-steel vats age several of Copia's own wines. Much missed after a fire shuttered its initial incarnation, Copia was roundly welcomed back onto the St. Louis scene in 2010: among other praise, St. Louis Magazine called its calamari "as crispy-crunchy delectable as any seafood you?ll find in a New England clam shack" and its smoked ribs "the best upscale version of barbecue in the area."
Though Sushi Ai has recently opened its sixth location, it still shows the same dedication to classic Japanese cuisine. Sushi remains the star of the menu, ranging from single pieces of pepper tuna and spicy scallop sushi and sashimi, to delicate hand rolls that mingle crispy salmon skin and cucumber. Standout special rolls include the World Series roll?packed with soft-shell crab tempura, tuna, eel, avocado, tobiko, and tempura chips?whose original recipe was pitched from Japan in 1919. The restaurant also features all-you-can-eat sushi. Rich soups with udon noodles and medleys of seafood or vegetables join Sushi Ai's other cooked entrees, such as chicken fried rice or beef and shrimp saut?ed on a hibachi grill.