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Among the clubs and hip hangouts on Washington Avenue downtown lies 12th Street Diner. The place is a throwback to the '50s and rock & roll. The menu features root beer floats, omelets, pot roast and burgers, including the La Bamba burger that is topped with pepperjack cheese, jalapenos, chipotle mayo and guacamole. This bright spot also features another diner classic: apple pie, cherry pie and a pie du jour.
Edwardsville's 222 Artisan Bakery offers more than the grab-it-and-go options typical of many coffee shop/bakery combos. Within the small, unassuming cafe lies an extensive menu, including sandwiches such as tuna, chicken salad and a create-your-own option, allowing diners to select their choice of bread, cheese, meat, spreads (tapenade, aioli and mayo, to name a few) and veggies. 222 also has pizza Fridays, another opportunity for diners to let their creative juices flow and select from such toppings at feta cheese and andouille sausage.
On the southwest corner of Pershing Avenue and Union Boulevard sits the cozy and mellow 2Schae Café, where you will usually find owners Lisa and Don Schaefer working behind, or around, the kitchen counter. Inside this neighborhood café, patrons will find a relaxed atmosphere and casual dining. Breakfast items such as omelets, bagel and lox, French toast and oatmeal are served all day, and their large lunch menu features cold and grilled sandwiches, salads, flat bread pizzas and quesadillas. On Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., 2Schae sells small pizzas made in-house, and on weekend morning and afternoons they serve up stacks of pancakes with a variety of fixings. 2Schae has plenty of seating indoors as well as a few tables and chairs on their patio along Pershing Avenue.
The original 6 North Coffee Company, located in the Central West End neighborhood, (the other is downtown) prides itself in being local and independent. The family-owned and -operated café, which is open Monday through Friday, serves Kaldi's Coffee, another locally owned company. The menu reflects typical coffee-shop fare, with lattes and mochas to drink and salads, soups and sandwiches to eat. 6 North also offers catering and box lunches.
The downtown location of 6 North Café offers a full menu of lunch and breakfast items. Located at 701 Market Street in the Gateway One building, patrons can enter the ground floor café at the corner of Eighth and Chestnut streets. The locally owned 6 North features Kaldi's coffee and loose teas, as well as assorted pastries, bagels and breakfast sandwiches in the morning. Lunch options include hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, salads and daily soups. 6 North also sells fruit, coffee and tea, smoothies, and box lunches catering to downtown offices. Plenty of indoor seating is available offering an upscale coffeehouse ambiance, with additional outdoor tables and chairs along Chestnut Street for fair-weather dining.
Alexander's Restaurant, tucked in the back corner of the Sheraton in downtown Clayton, is a spacious hotel dining option. Their menu includes familiar American fare, such as pasta, sandwiches, steaks and fish. Sunday dinner is served in the lounge instead of the main dining room, both located on the main floor of the hotel.
CLOSED - The Annie Malone Children & Family Service Center first opened its doors in 1888 with the responsibility of caring for local African American and neglected children. Today, their mission remains the same, and to help them better serve the community, Annie Malone's has opened a full-service breakfast and lunch café on the seventh floor of city hall on Market Street downtown. Annie M. features breakfast items until 10 a.m., such as bacon- or sausage-and-egg biscuits, scrambled eggs, bagels, donuts and made-to-order omelets. For lunch, patrons can enjoy items including chicken wings, burgers, fish sandwiches and a chicken Caesar salad. As a part of Annie Malone's services, a portion of the café's proceeds go directly toward the center's cost of operation.
Along busy Hampton Avenue, Ari's offers Greek and American fare in a comfortable dining room or on their spacious patio. The menu includes saganaki, hummus and toasted ravioli. Specialties include their gyro sandwich and chicken souvlaki, with American selections such as a BLT and a club sandwich also available. Entrees range from lamb shank to chicken modiga to filet mignon. Ari's rounds out its menu with a few burgers and pastas. On Saturdays and Sundays Ari's also offers a breakfast buffet, complete with an omelet station. The restaurant has a parking lot on the side.
Tucked amid the bodegas and indie record stores of Cherokee Street sits Athlete Eats, a polished little café that is all about healthy eating. Owner Simon Lusky started the business as a nutrition service, providing meal plans and prepared foods to health-conscious clients, including some of the St. Louis Cardinals players, and expanded to include a breakfast and lunch counter. Athlete Eats offers a variety of juices, smoothies and guilt-free fare, including Carolina-style barbecue; a juicy, locally raised grass-fed beef burger; and hearty salads. One of the more creative offerings, the bibimbap bowl, replaces the traditional sticky rice with caulirice — grated pieces of roasted cauliflower that resembles small rice grains. Tossed with edamame, shiitakes and thinly sliced spiced beef, it’s as good, if not better, than the traditional, rice-based Korean staple. Athlete Eats only serves breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays — a shame because it’s where some of the restaurant’s best items are showcased. The gluten-free pancakes, laden with cinnamon and topped with coconut cream and maple orange syrup, are so tasty that one doesn’t miss the flour. And do not leave without trying Athlete Eats’ breakfast take on the Gerber sandwich: a garlic-studded waffle is topped with shaved ham, Provel cheese, béchamel sauce and a sunny-side egg. It’s one of the best uses of waffles in town.
The long-time patrons who lamented the closure of Bryan Carr’s Pomme Restaurant and Pomme Café & Wine Bar can find respite at Avenue. The Clayton bistro, located just a few blocks away from its popular predecessors, combines the two concepts under one roof, but also allows Carr to up the ante on his classic French-influenced fare. The veteran chef keeps some of Pomme’s favorites on Avenue’s menu but also adds several successful new dishes, such as authentic cassoulet with white beans, duck confit, sausage and pork shoulder. The pork schnitzel, topped with brandy-sauteed apples, is another standout dish, and appetizers such as wild mushrooms served with buratta over crusty bread demonstrate Carr’s culinary prowess. Avenue has an excellent brunch, with offerings such as blueberry and lemon pancakes and an overstuffed ham, egg and Gruyere crepe that doubles as a hearty breakfast wrap. Pomme may still be on everyone’s mind, but Avenue proves to be a worthy followup.
The Bagel Factory is a coffee shop and cafe located in Creve Couer.
The rich and powerful in the city of St. Louis mix with everyday folk for cafeteria lunch at this unadvertised, unsigned, unpriced and unlisted spot at the northern edge of the A.G. Edwards campus. "The barbecue today is pork," says the nice man who offers you the specials. "Would you like that with a side of the au gratin potatoes or the Brussels sprouts? Maybe a nice deviled egg?" This is straightforward, working-class food -- good roast beef, pork and ham, cold cuts sliced fresh to order, tapioca pudding. And a frequent side selection of Jerry Berger, an ex-senator, a high-ranking police officer or a titan of industry.
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