When Terry Yake found his way off his family's farm to pursue a career as a professional hockey player, he didn't dream that it would lead him back. During his time with the St. Louis Blues, Terry would return from every trip back home to Manitoba, Canada, with a care package under his arm, packed with the farm's fresh, free-range beef. His teammates got a taste at a backyard barbecue and began clamoring for more beef like a carnivorous pack of parrots. When Terry returned to the St. Louis area, so did the demand for his family's meat. He began running a bare-bones operation out of his garage, which eventually grew into a retail outlet that allows Terry to share the fruit of his family's labor with the community he now, happily, calls home.
All of T-Bones Natural Meats's beef comes from cows that graze freely, without the effects of hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. The same can be said for the free-range poultry, pork, and bison that the team procures from area farms. The animals eat what they would in nature, which Terry believes results in a better taste, a better conscience, and better nutrition—as studies have shown. Their sausages are made from pigs that have been raised equally kindly; the meat is wrapped in natural casings with all-natural add-ons, such as fresh mushrooms, just-chopped apples, and pure maple syrup. All the meat is flash-frozen, a more eco-friendly way of salting it and storing it in an ice palace.
Schnucks Kids Camp is more than a grocery store. While they sell cooking ingredients, their coaches also teach the culinary techniques to transform basics into piping hot dinners. During live demonstrations, novice cooks stop by to watch and learn as chefs whip up featured recipes, doling out samples to passersby. They happily answer any questions about cooking methods and required equipment, helping budding cooks who want to recreate the dishes at home. Necessary ingredients for every demo dish are available for sale beside each demo station, rather than magically stowed under the coach's chef's hat.
The company also encompasses a more structured cooking school, with classes for couples, families, and kids. A sommelier teaches adults about wine-tasting basics in one session; in another, students learn to prepare market-fresh fish. Kids' classes, meanwhile, cover topics from fondue to circus-themed snacks.
Sunny Street Café's flavored-packed menu presents homey breakfast fare, sandwiches, and dinner entrees served by a welcoming staff. For a harmonious breakfast, the eggs Blackstone marries poached eggs with grilled tomato slices presided over, as in a traditional British wedding, by an english muffin topped with hollandaise and crumbled bacon ($7.29). At lunchtime, tuck into the Buffalo chicken salad ($7.99)—starring fried or grilled chicken strips slathered in hot sauce and supported by a cast of greens, veggies, and shredded cheese—or take on the half-pound Black Angus Western burger ($7.99), a bicep-testing meal loaded with bacon, barbecue sauce, jack cheese, and vidalia-onion rings that requires a spotter to safely lift. Hearty dinner fare, such as country-fried steak ($10.99) served over a bed of potatoes and blanketed with a cascade of homemade gravy, is available Tuesdays through Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. To conclude the sitting, a hot-fudge-sundae cheesecake treats fatigued taste buds to gooey fudge, pecans, and whipped cream ($3.49).
Most butcher shops cut your meat for you, but few give you the skills to cut it yourself. For the experts at John’s Butcher Shoppee, sharing their skills is just a part of serving their community, something they’ve been doing for more than 38 years. The expert butchers set up shop at local Cabela’s locations, where they lead sessions on how to process deer into steaks, sausages, and ground meat. Back at their two locations, customers load up on homemade sausage, tender pork chops, and exotic meats such as elk, bison, and ostrich. The owners of the family business are often behind the counter, and take the time to cut or karate-chop a steak or pork chop to a customer’s desired size for no extra charge. Regular customers also take note of the butcher’s weekly meat raffle, dubbed Meat-O, wherein one lucky customer wins $25 in free meat to be served or bathed in however they see fit.
In business since 1917, Mound City Shelled Nut Company roasts each nut, cashew, almond, and pistachio on-site to satisfy snackers, toasting salted and unsalted varieties with a technique that enhances kernels' flavor and ability to attract a mate. A box of deluxe mixed nuts showcases a medley of colossal cashews, pecan halves, and blanched filberts ($18.89+), and the 1-pound Plaza mix incorporates fruity fragments such as pineapples, raisins, and cranberries ($11.99). Microwave peanuts empower patrons to dry-roast their own morsels at home, resulting in bite-size bits free of salt, sugar, and preservatives ($4.99–$9.99). Ground directly from their stock of roasted peanuts, Mound City's peanut butter ($4.99+) slathers surfaces with an all-natural spread containing nothing but peanuts; and the chocolate-infused peanut butter combines the two decadent substances for you ($5.99+). Customers may also use this Groupon toward the less nutty chocolate-covered strawberries ($19.99/lb.).