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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.
17th Street Bar & Grill is a barbecue restaurant in Murphysboro.
17th Street Bar & Grill 1711 West Highway 50, O'Fallon, Illinois; 618-622-1717. Mike Mills has been named grand champion at the annual Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (a.k.a. the Super Bowl of Swine) three times -- a dynasty as notable as the Yankees of the late 1990s or the Patriots of this decade. His trademark sauce is a coppery brown, layered with flavor and applied with proper restraint. Two- and three-meat plates allow you to sample several different meats (brisket, chicken, pork shoulder, spicy smoked beef sausage), but the standout dish is the baby back ribs. Smoked in a pit over apple- and cherry-wood for as long as seven hours, Mills' ribs taste like pork raised on pure autumn sunshine.
In the heart of Soulard, 1860 Saloon, Game Room and Hardshell Cafe serves up traditional, delicious fare, plus cajun and creole food. Customer favorites include our Famous Crab Cakes and Homemade Chicken Strips. The oysters, cajun pasta, pizzas and burgers are always a great choice. Enjoy a reasonably priced meal and drinks before taking the complimentary shuttle to Cardinals and Blues games. You can enjoy live Blues, Classic Rock, R&B, and Motown bands 365 days a year in the 1860 Saloon. Play foosball, pool and more in the Game Room. The third area, the Hardshell Café, also has a full bar, ample seating, and a several hundred gallon fish tank. There is lovely outside dining where fur babies are always welcome!
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.
Though unassuming and simple from the outside, 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar provides outstanding hospitality, more than 700 wines and one of the best beer lists in the city. The result is a relaxing yet engaging opportunity to sip, contemplate or just plain drink your vino. Though lacking a full menu, there's a nice array of cheese, cured meats and crackers to hold you over. Pricing is great, with bottles marked up just $9 over 33's very competitive "take home" prices (it is a wine shop, too), which makes 33 a great place to go big on a specialty bottle. The oft-rotating draft selection, along with the list of bottled brew, highlights great beers both American and imported, many of which are rarely available on tap locally.
Located in the spacious, open lobby of the Merchant's Laclede building, which also happens to be home to the boutique, luxurious Hilton hotel, 400 Olive offers diners an upscale casual dining experience. This "urban grille" takes advantage of its location by placing diners in an elevated corner of the hotel's atmospheric charm. Lunch options include pastas, burgers and sandwiches, including a grilled crab cake sandwich and a seared tuna sandwich. Dinner entrees feature a filet, a rib eye and a tuna steak, as well as a maple-glazed pork loin and a macadamia nut-crusted salmon. 400 Olive also prepares an Amber Bock onion soup, with gruyère and provolone cheeses, and a cheesecake, savory not sweet, of smoked trout, served with an onion relish. Coffee and various desserts are also available.
When Dan and Pat Graham decided to shutter Graham’s Grill & Bayou Bar last December after a seventeen-year run, the next generation decided to take over the reins - but put their own stamp on things. Brother and sister business partners Devin and Alison converted their parents’ Cajun-themed bar and grill into 612 Kitchen & Cocktails, a 1920s-inspired cocktail lounge and gastropub. The restaurant is at its best when it sticks to classic bar fare: Sausage and cheese stuffed mushrooms, breaded and fried, make for an excellent snack; beer-battered fish and chips pair nicely with a cold one; and the smoked chicken is juicy and glazed with caramelized barbecue sauce. Craft cocktails are on the approachable end of the spectrum. Signature drinks such include the "Great Gatsby,” made with cucumber and basil-infused rum, lemonade and blueberry puree. A bridal shower in barware, the “Coco Chanel,” is a blend of strawberry vodka, lemon juice, pink champagne, strawberries and mint. The most austere offering — and that is a stretch — is the “Scarface.” Tequila, tomato water, triple sec and lavender-infused sour combine to make an interesting twist on the margarita. Regardless of how the younger Grahams brand it, 612 Kitchen & Cocktails is still a simple neighborhood watering hole.
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