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.
At The Rice House, owner Kenny Truong fuses Asian cuisine with Midwestern tastes concocting dishes such as crispy philly cheesesteak wontons and St. Louis-style fried rice. Pots of specialty gumbo simmer with turkey and collard greens, and thick slices of texas toast hold together St. Paul sandwiches such as the Angry Bird with chicken, jalapeños, pickles, and onions topped with melting muenster cheese. Patrons can also find quintessential Chinese-American staples such as lo mein, egg foo young, or sweet-and-sour pork.
Husband-and-wife team Koffy and Kike Osun bring the singular flavors of African cuisine from Nigeria, Ghana, and Jamaica to the St. Louis area. The kitchen's chefs craft dishes of jollof rice, fried plantains, fried tilapia, pounded yam, and fried chicken wings with a host of ingredients they import directly from Africa. When the sun drops in the Missouri sky, a DJ sets up shop inside the eatery, spinning afrobeat, kwaito, juju, and soukous beats as patrons show off their best square-dance moves.
Since opening Deaver's Restaurant and Sports Bar in 2003, owners Derek Deaver and Ryan Pinkston have strived to make every guest feel like they're home. This gracious mindset helped the casual American eatery earn a handful of accolades, such as the Best Neighborhood Bar in North County award from RiverFront Times in 2008. But a friendly and attentive staff is only 50% of their equation for success, with a lengthy menu of American eats comprising the other half.
Chefs grill half-pound burgers to the pinnacle of juiciness before crowning them with sautéed onions and crumbled bleu cheese. St. Louis style thin crust pizzas ooze with melting cheese, and weekly specials of meatloaf and barbeque ribs pair with any of the 13 beers on tap at the bar.
To add to Deaver's casual ambience, television sets and framed sports memorabilia hang in the spacious dining room, and an arcade lined with video games keeps kids occupied. Outdoors, guests dine beneath umbrellas on the patio, and larger parties celebrate in a private banquet hall capable of holding up to 50 guests or two Jolly Green Giants. Deaver's team also aims to make their community as happy as their regulars by supporting local churches and schools, as well as offering a 10% discount to seniors, EMT personal, fire fighters, and police officers.
So established is Circle K Midwest that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
For more than 30 years, the folks at Max's Meats & Deli have provided customers with quality products, helpful tips, and the friendly service one can expect at an old-school butcher shop. Stop in for packages of house-made bratwurst, or flank-steak pinwheels rolled up with mozzarella, fresh spinach, and parmesan, providing the ideal steering mechanism for wheeling a grill around. The masterful meat geniuses behind the counter also construct a variety of sandwiches during lunch, including the signature cheese steak—lined with slow-roasted beef, melted provolone, and peppers, served with homemade jus.