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Best Barbecue 

17th Street Bar & Grill

The Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is also known as the Super Bowl of Swine. That makes 17th Street Bar & Grill owner Mike Mills the Joe Montana or Tom Brady of the barbecue world. He has won the contest three times, a feat that has allowed him to open a chain of barbecue joints in Las Vegas and to consult for New York City ¨ber-restaurateur (and St. Louis native) Danny Meyer. But Mills' success hasn't caused him to turn his back on his Illinois roots, and now that he's opened a third 17th Street Barbecue in O'Fallon, his award-winning 'cue is closer to St. Louis than ever before. (The other locations are in Murphysboro and Marion.) The ribs are divine. Smoked over apple- and cherrywood for up to seven hours, they have a lightly charred exterior, a melting interior and the flavor of God's own pork. A squirt of Mills' famous sauce — a complex, copper-colored concoction, tomato-based but flirting with the vinegary smack of Carolina — and he'll have your vote for the barbecue hall of fame cinched.

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