Contrary to popular belief, St. Louis doesn't really have its own style of barbecue. (St. Louis-style ribs refer to the cut, not a seasoning.) That said, the city now has a first-rate barbecue joint, thanks to Mike Emerson and his crew at Pappy's Smokehouse (3106 Olive Street; 314-535-4340). The pork ribs are out of this world, with a rosemary-spiked dry rub, but everything is fantastic. Lunch is the most popular meal — expect a line, often out the door — because Pappy's closes once it has run out of the day's allotment of meat.

Barbecue junkies should also know that three-time Memphis in May champion Mike Mills serves his award-winning barbecue at four 17th Street Bar and Grill locations. The nearest is at 1711 West Highway 50 in O'Fallon, Illinois (618-622-1717).

The majority of the area's ethnic restaurants are located outside the city proper. There are a couple of notable exceptions. A stretch of taquerias and Mexican restaurants is located on Cherokee Street between Oregon and Iowa avenues in the Benton Park West neighborhood. If you can visit only one, my recommendation would be La Vallesana (2801 Cherokee Street; 314-776-4223), a colorful shack with a large outdoor patio. The tortas and tacos al pastor are knockouts.

Niche's Gerard Craft.
Niche's Gerard Craft.

Location Info


Busch Stadium

Broadway & Poplar St.
St. Louis, MO 63102

Category: Sports and Recreation

Region: St. Louis - Downtown


7734 Forsyth Blvd.
Clayton, MO 63105

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Clayton

Atlas Restaurant & Lunch Room

5513 Pershing Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63112

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: St. Louis - Skinker/DeBaliviere


1535 S. Eighth St.
St. Louis, MO 63104

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Soulard


33 N. Sarah St.
St. Louis, MO 63108

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Louis - Central West End

Monarch Event Space

7401 Manchester Road
Maplewood, MO 63143

Category: Restaurant > Cajun

Region: Maplewood

Acero Ristorante

7266 Manchester Road
Maplewood, MO 63143

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Maplewood

Pappy's Smokehouse

3106 Olive St.
St. Louis, MO 63103

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: St. Louis - Midtown

17th Street Bar & Grill-Murphysboro

214 N. 17th St.
Murphysboro, IL 62966

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Murphysboro

La Vallesana 2

2818 Cherokee St.
St. Louis, MO 63118

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: St. Louis - South City

Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet

4071 S. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63118

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: St. Louis - South Grand


Take a tour of these restaurants in pictures.

Banh Mi So #1 – Saigon Gourmet (4071 South Grand Boulevard; 314-353-0545) is a mouthful to say, but worth seeking out for authentic Vietnamese food cooked by Lynne Truong and served by her husband, Thomas. The wait might be on the longer side — seriously: It's just Mrs. Truong back there, chopping your cilantro, stirring your pho and frying your banh xeo crêpe — but Mr. Truong will keep you entertained with his friendly manner and conversations.

The signature banh mi sandwich (#31 on the menu) is a steal at just $2.50. Order three or four and stuff yourself at the All-Star Game for not much more than one serving of nachos. And no extra "cheese" cup is required.

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