Best Beer Selection in a Restaurant - 2011
The Good Pie
You don't need anyone to tell you that beer and pizza go well together. Heck, "go well" doesn't even begin to describe it. The relationship reaches its pinnacle at the Good Pie, midtown's Neapolitan pizzeria. The pizza is terrific, the beer list equally so. Exhibit A: The draft selection is usually among the first — often the first — to offer big-name craft beers when they become available: Stone, Founders, Green Flash, Firestone Walker. The restaurant also taps craft-beer kegs every now and then. If you want in on those, we suggest you follow the Good Pie on Twitter (@thegoodpiestl) and be prepared to move fast, because the local beer cognoscenti will get there ahead of you, and they tend to be thorough. If you're the slower-moving type, don't fret; the Good Pie's got you covered with a bottle list that has been ahead of the curve on one the hottest trends in craft brewing: Belgian and Belgian-style sours. The tartness of these beers is refreshing — and an aperitif. Good thing you're sitting just a few feet away from one of the city's hottest (literally and figuratively) pizza ovens.
From ASW Bakery, their cute little storefront on Gravois Avenue a block west of Bates Street, Asko and Sebiha Veljacic have provided for fans of Bosnian comfort food (and clubgoers in need of wee-hours nourishment) for more than ten years. ASW isn't a restaurant, per se — it's roughly equal parts bakery and grocery store — but it does offer a killer destination dish: doner kebab. Served on housemade Bosnian flatbread, this street-food staple is a close relative of the Greek gyro. In addition to this mouth-watering delight, ASW has everything from traditional burek (savory spiral pastries stuffed with your choice of ground beef, potato and beef, or spinach) to evapi (grilled minced beef) to elderflower-flavored Fanta. Back to those parenthetically mentioned clubgoers: If you look carefully at the sign that lists ASW's hours, you'll see that on weekends the joint is open "8 a.m. - ____ ."
We've been going to Café Osage since it opened in 2008, and having breakfast there still always feels like being let in on some fabulous secret. Tucked away on a mostly residential street on the edge of the Central West End, lushly bookended by a courtyard and a plant nursery — this must be a place reserved for people in the know. Yet no secret handshake is required to cross Osage's threshold, only an appetite and a love of thoughtful, locally sourced breakfast dishes. Bison appears multiple times on the menu, including in the deliciously spiced (and pleasantly lean) sausage, which you can order with eggs and a generous dollop of housemade cheese grits. Pancakes, served with apricot compote, present only one hazard: They're addictive, and life sometimes requires one to wear tailored pants. Fresh fruit is always available, and we don't mean those pale melon, pineapple and red-grape crimes against nature that occupy far too much of this nation's breakfast-plate real estate. Rotating specials include a breakfast burrito and a flatbread piled high with smoked salmon. The space is at once casual and elegant, with large windows and high ceilings. The servers treat you like a cherished friend, even if it happens to be your first visit. Every time we praise Café Osage, we feel a tinge of regret about giving away our little "secret," but some things are too good not to be shared.