On weekends between 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., a cart laden with plated dim sum rolls through Lu Lu Seafood, delivering handcrafted treats such as pork shu mai or spare ribs in black bean sauce. Patrons can also dine on regional Chinese seafood such as live lobsters with ginger and scallions or hot pots simmering with fresh scallops, washing it all back with cocktails, smoothies, and milk tea laden with pearls of tapioca. The opulent crimson-and-gold eatery also houses private karaoke rooms with bottle service where guests can sing in English, Chinese, or Korean.
Joe Sanfilippo got his start in the food industry at age 11 when his Uncle Agostino recruited him to bus tables at his St. Louis restaurant on a particularly busy New Year’s night, according to St. Louis Magazine. Two years later, he returned to his hometown of Palermo to study and to attend culinary school at night, which ignited his passion for cooking and spurred him to open his own eatery at the tender age of 24. Today, the owner and executive chef of J.F. Sanfilippo’s Restaurant mingles his southern-Italian training with northern-Italian influences in a menu of pastas with tomato- or cream-based sauces, sautéed chicken and veal, and broiled steaks. In a recent KSDK 5 interview centering on the opening of his second location in Chesterfield, Joe confided that his 80-year-old mother still bakes the restaurant’s bread each day and divulged plans to bottle and sell J.F.’s popular vodka sauce, then ship it to Neptune.
Though it sits squarely in St. Louis, Broadway Oyster Bar might as well inhabit New Orleans. Even from the outside, the 150-year-old building exudes the revelry of the French Quarter, as an art-deco neon sign emblazoned with music notes joins colorful string lanterns to form an illuminated invitation for patrons to come in and live a little. Of course, inside is where the Cajun atmosphere is most apparent, especially in whiffs of dishes named the favorite Cajun/creole cuisine of the Sauce Magazine readers’ poll every year since 2003. Chef Brad Hagen's acclaimed recipes include marinated alligator with homemade tartar sauce, shucked oysters topped with spinach cream sauce, and fresh-baked Gambino's bread filled with traditional po' boy fixings, such as fried catfish and shrimp. Feasts unfold in a cozy dining room or an open-air patio enclosed and heated in winter. There, local and national musicians grace the stage seven nights a week to play funk and blues tunes, just like Mom used to.
Globe lights hang from Delmar Lounge's red awning, beckoning nighthawks in to enjoy homestyle Cajun fare and live music late into the night. The kitchen churns out house-smoked barbecue ribs, southern-style shrimp and grits, and po boy sandwiches until 2 a.m. every night of the week, fortifying bodies and fueling feet in preparation for live DJ dance parties, jazz sets, and hourly potato sack races that sustain the convivial atmosphere until 3 a.m.
The short-order cooks at Clayton Diner deliver a slice of Americana with a menu of comfort-food and soul-food classics. No fan of breakfast could ignore the fruits of their labors: towering stacks of hotcakes, buttermilk biscuits, plump sausage patties, and chopped-pork-sausage gravy. Their culinary efforts also spark lunches of breaded-codfish sandwiches, cheese-oozing chopped-steak phillies, burgers made from freshly ground beef, and Chicago-style dogs draped in yellow mustard and pickles. Daily specials, such as the juicy rotisserie chicken, round out the diner's tried-and-true American dishes more effectively than a slice of the Constitution.