St. Louis' neighborhoods are gems in their own right: full of history, great people and, as far as Gut Check is concerned, fantastic food. Each week we'll take you into a specific neighborhood and point you in the direction of the best places to grab some bites.
One of St. Louis' most iconic neighborhoods, Soulard, is known for historic architecture, Mardi Gras, and the ever-present smell of hops wafting over from the Anheuser-Busch brewery. The nightlife is bolstered by a wonderful collection of bars, music venues and restaurants that draw crowds and give the walkable streets an electric buzz. With menus reflecting French Creole flavors, specialty beer bars offering huge selections, and some of the best BBQ you're likely to ever find, Soulard encapsulates the best of St. Louis.
Bogart's Smokehouse (1627 South Ninth Street; 314-621-3107)
Skip Steele grew up in Memphis and has been barbecuing as a hobby and a profession for most of his life. His pedigree includes Super Smokers BBQ, the Memphis in May World Barbecue Championship and local barbecue godhead Pappy's Smokehouse, but Bogart's is his masterpiece. The baby-back ribs are excellent, but you can also go with something a bit different -- try the pastrami or the smoked prime rib. The pit-baked beans will probably be the best you've ever had, and they get even better when you employ Billy Goat Chips as a delicious scooping device. With lines stretching out the door and around the block, Bogart's is becoming legendary in its own right. Our advice: Go. Now.
Epic Pizza & Subs (1711 South Ninth Street; 314-644-4430)
With the menu-less International Tap House right next door and the booming late-night scene in Soulard, there's always need for after-hours snacks. Enter Epic Pizza & Subs, open until 10:30 p.m. on weeknights and until 1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. You can procure your Epic by the pie or the slice, and the supple, salty crust supports traditional offerings as well as more enterprising ones, such as Buffalo chicken and bacon, spinach and tomato -- the pizzeria's twist on the BLT. Besides pizza, choose from meaty sub sandwiches, hearty appetizers (they go particularly well with beer), meatball sliders or a fat cheeseburger. Make no mistake, this eatery is worth a visit during waking hours as well, but when you're looking to banish those after-bar cravings with topnotch grub, Epic is your go-to.
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