Missed ‘Pasta Your Way’ last Friday night or want to sample some of St. Louis’ best homemade pasta? Located in downtown St. Louis, Niche Food Group’s budget-friendly Porano should be your go-to. This casual, yet trendy, joint offers customers the opportunity to create their own pasta bowls with the freshest and most intriguing ingredients. Who can say no to pumpkin seed pesto atop grana padano cheese, kale, and meatballs?
Mission Taco Joint
With three locations found in major hotspots around St. Louis (two of which are in Central West End and Soulard) it’s hard to avoid Mission Taco Joint. Obviously, you can’t go wrong with any combination of their nine tacos – the BBQ duck is a personal favorite. However, the menu doesn’t end at tacos; it includes empanadas, chicken flautas, tortas, and burritos that rival even Chipotle’s.
Milque Toast Bar
Hands down the most Instagram-worthy meal in St. Louis, Milque Toast Bar is a breakfast-to-late-lunch hot spot that offers customers gourmet toast delectables. Feeling sweet for breakfast? Order the nutty s’mores toast with Nutella and marshmallows.
In the neighborhood around lunch time? Try the gravlax and cucumber – the traditional bagel with lox, red onions and capers – but on crispy, house-made toast.
State Street Market
On any given weekend morning, it would be odd to not find another Principian also enjoying a meal at Alton’s State Street Market. However, Monday and Thursday nights are arguably my favorite because owners Terri and Beau bring in local musicians to play live music for diners. The menu is perfect for a casual night out with your significant other. I personally like their home-made soup and the farm salad with avocado and bacon.
Be sure to arrive early at Sugar Fire, because much of their BBQ meat sells out by lunchtime. As a St. Louis staple, this is one of the few restaurants you have to visit before graduating! Anything goes if you are a St. Louis-style BBQ lover, however, I am a sucker for the pulled pork sandwich with a mixture of the St. Louie sweet BBQ and the coffee BBQ sauces drenched on top. If traditional BBQ isn’t your thing, Sugar Fire offers salmon, milkshakes, floats, burgers and turkey.
Old Bakery Brewery
While waiting to receive your food, you can play pool, ring toss, shuffleboard, or any number of games that this rustic brewery offers patrons. An amazing feature Old Bakery offers are the menu changes every three months. Changing during the season allows the menu to be very sharable. Go with a group of friends on the weekend when it’s busy and order the pretzels with mustard, the sweet potato nachos, a reuben, or the burger of the week.
Sauce on the Side
Pizza is always a good idea, but consider changing up the palette with a calzone. Sauce on the Side specializes in delicious calzones proven to be far better than a Hot Pocket. Order the cock-a-doodle noodle calzone filled with macaroni and cheese. You can thank me later! For those looking to maintain a spring break body, this restaurant offers good salad options as well.
Midtown Sushi & Ramen
Surprisingly, I have never had ramen before (unless you include Midtown Sushi’s ramen) – shocking, I know! This St. Louis University staple offers patrons amazing broth bowls with a variety of ingredients that don’t come in the form of powder . . . a definite plus! Indulge in the Nagasaki Champon with shrimp, pork, carrots and cabbage. The restaurant also makes traditional Japanese appetizers. It’s likely that you’ve never heard of them before, but they’re very good, so make sure to try one or two if you stop by!
Located on Delmar just before The Loop, Winslow’s Home is king for Saturday or Sunday brunch. Be mindful that you will most likely have to wait, however, it is definitely worth it. During that time, you can visit the country store and grade A bakery. A few of my favorites include the egg sandwich with the avocado and sausage, the avocado toast, and the chicken potpie. Don’t forget to ask your waiter for the doughnuts and banana cake from the bakery.
Urban Chestnut Brewery
Is it a beautiful day to eat outside with friends, but you didn’t pack a picnic? Head to Urban Chestnut’s two locations (though the Grove is my preferred location). Everything here is perfect to split with a big group of people, so grab a long table and split the deviled eggs, oysters, pork rinds, and pretzel bread. Feeling like you could have more? The schnitzel sandwich will leave you wishing to buy a one-way ticket to Berlin ASAP.