At Cheeburger Cheeburger, customers take the culinary reins, creating the blueprints for their own cooked-to-order burgers, fries, onion rings, and shakes. Diners start by choosing the size of their 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, from a quarter pound to a hefty 20 ounces, then choosing from a list of 11 types of cheese and over 30 toppings, which range from staples such as onions, salsa, and steak sauce, to the inventive, priming burgers with teriyaki sauce, peanut butter, and banana peppers. Customers may also opt for grilled chicken, salads, wraps, fried pickles and other items in lieu of burgers. French fries come loaded with toppings or naked as the day they fell from the tree, while 75 milk-shake flavors, such as piña colada, double chocolate, and mint chocolate chip, can be blended in myriad combinations. Several $4.99 options are also available on the kids menu.
Glass block surrounds the stainless-steel-backed counter at this '50s-era throwback-style diner. Images of mid-century celebrities surround chrome-trimmed tables and chairs, including James Dean, the Three Stooges, and Elvis doing a handstand on the back of his favorite horse.
The top brass twisters at Auntie Anne's, one of the world's largest hand-rolled, soft-pretzel franchises, create enough twirly treats every year to wrap the earth in deliciously salted dough three times over. Pretzel professionals prepare a wide array of sweet and salty snacks, spiraling them into ornate knots with the delicacy of a grandmotherly sailor and baking them to golden brown in full view of customers. A plain pretzel offers a satisfyingly simple snack, while sacchariferous ingredients such as cinnamon sugar and toasted-almond toffee make tongues sweat with anticipation. Mouths will mambo to the Mediterranean flavors of the garlic pretzel, a perfect treat to submerge into a dunk tank of marinara or one of the other available dipping sauces. Or, sample slender tubewiches swathed in the warm embrace of pretzel dough with signature pretzel dogs. Pair braided bites with a chalice of lemonade or a frozen ICEE drink, both of which pack a flavorful punch that’s more refreshing than a brisk morning run that successfully evades a pursuing snow leopard.
A little over a decade after John and Anna Mineo's 1958 arrival in St. Louis, they chose to open a quaint 12-table restaurant to carry on the culinary traditions of their native Sicily. More than 40 years later, John Mineo's Italian Restaurant stands in the same spot, sporting an addition that allows the dining room to seat 180 guests, as well as a handful of new family photos decorating the walls. Tuxedo-wearing servers move from table to table, carrying Sicilian-inspired dishes such as tenderloin Napolitana as well as steaming bowls of freshly made pasta covered in bright sauces.
You wouldn’t think that food could change a city. But that’s exactly what Travel + Leisure praises Mosaic for, declaring that its innovative dishes and inspired design scheme have helped bring the former urban industrial St. Louis Garment neighborhood from “grimy to glam.” Since the their 2004 opening in downtown St. Louis, Mosaic restaurants have sprouted up in airport and Des Peres locations, bringing with them the contemporary gourmet menu of founder and head chef, Claus Schmitz. The highly trained, award-winning culinary whiz folds fine ingredients into internationally inspired tapas, soups, and entrees, whipping up dishes such as roasted grass-fed bone marrow or sustainable Chilean sea bass and pairing them with seasonal cocktails and fine wines. Outside the kitchen, Schmitz’s dining room’s interior design is equally appealing, with high ceilings, a freestanding bar, and tall windows that stream in sunshine while filtering out the glares of the jealous, hungry cars parked outside.
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.