When it comes to restaurants, we're led to believe that the suburbs are redoubts of mediocrity. You need only drive any major suburban thoroughfare, counting the national chains, to know there's more than a little truth to this stereotype. Yet there are exceptions, such as Valley Park — specifically, the intersection of Big Bend and Dougherty Ferry roads. Yes, a McDonald's sits on one corner, but ignore this for the burgers and other tasty casual fare at the Corner Pub & Grill. The Corner's owners recently opened the Tavern Kitchen & Bar, a higher-end restaurant whose contemporary take on American comfort foods wouldn't seem out of place in a hip urban neighborhood. There is good pizza — and actual squeaky cheese curds! — at JJ Twigs Pizza & Pub, and Izakaya Ren not only serves excellent sushi but also Japanese "small plates" that you won't find at many other places in town. If you don't mind driving a little farther into Valley Park proper, stalwart Young's Restaurant & Ice Creamery fries some of St. Louis' tastiest chicken.
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