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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.
Amici's, which lies in the heart of downtown Kirkwood, serves up a large variety of St. Louis Italian favorites. Appetizers include the usual suspects: toasted ravioli, bruschetta and chicken wings. Entrèes include chicken, seafood and steak, including bistecca Amici, which is breaded and charbroiled with Provel, broccoli, prosciutto and mushrooms in a white-wine lemon-butter sauce. Amici's of course serves pasta as well, with tortellini and farfalle among the options.
From a colorful storefront in downtown Kirkwood, Amigos Cantina offers a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine, as well as a few gringo favorites. Entrées include that Tex-Mex staple, fajitas. Tacos, burritos and quesadillas manage to bridge the gap between Americanized Mexican food and the real deal, and for a taste of taqueria cuisine, consider a torta, the traditional Mexican sandwich. The cheese dip, made from Monterey jack, is a thick, guilty pleasure.
Peppe's Apartment 2 is the latest venture from St. Louis restaurant mainstay Peppe Profeta, who made a name for himself at Gian-Peppe's on the Hill and, most recently, Trattoria Branica. Apartment 2 provides upscale Italian dining in an ornate setting, complete with plenty of chandeliers. Meals are available in appetizer- and entrée-size choices and include ravioli, veal and rotating seafood specials.
Is Bar Louie a swank cocktail lounge or a neighborhood bar and grill? Depends on when you show up. The Chicago-based chain occupies a massive space in the Central West End, and when it's filled with the young and the beautiful on a weekend night, it's got spark. Stop by for lunch or an early dinner, though, and you may feel lonely. Stick with the basics: sandwiches, burgers and fish tacos. Chase your meal with a beer or martini and watch the pretty people play.
Like its older sister in Wildwood, the Warson Woods location of Big Bear Grill brings the hunting lodge to you - complete with fireplace and a bear skin on the wall. Diners don't have to catch their own fish to enjoy it, with catfish, walleye and salmon among the options. Other choices include burgers, sandwiches and wraps, but for the non-sporting type, there are also about a half-dozen salads.
Billy G’s, the Kirkwood hot spot, offers something for everyone with its large menu and even larger portions. A significant portion of the menu is Italian, although burgers, sandwiches, and even some southern classics round out the seemingly endless options. Of special note is the pizza, thin crust and cooked to a crispy flakiness in wood oven. The food is average, but the restaurant is always packed to the brim because of its location and self-fulfilling reputation as the place to be seen in Kirkwood. The patio is worth a visit, with several fire features (including a table with a built-in fireplace), cozy semicircle booths, and a large outdoor bar. It’s a lovely spot to reconnect with high school friends for a cocktail on a lovely day or night, just expect the food to be secondary.
Breadsmith is a bakery located in Warson Woods. Every day brings a new loaf (raisin cinnamon, honey oat, honey whole wheat, rosemary garlic ciabatta, Asiago cheese, gluten-free, Greek olive, and more and more).Every day brings a new loaf (raisin cinnamon, honey oat, honey whole wheat, rosemary garlic ciabatta, Asiago cheese, gluten-free, Greek olive, and more and more). Every day features the wildly popular apple pie bread, a lip-smacking, calorie-loaded concoction whose every ounce lives up to its sinful-sounding promise. And, every day — all day — Breadsmith only makes bread.
Cafè Nicoletti sits on Dougherty Ferry Road near the Big Bend Road intersection in Kirkwood. Diners can sit in the open dining room or, on nice days, enjoy the patio. The menu features items such as bosco sticks, calamari and toasted ravioli to start, with sandwiches, pasta and pizza rounding out the menu. Sandwich choices include a hoagie, rib-eye sandwich and a gyro, while the pasta dishes offer ravioli, spaghetti and pasta con broccoli, among others. Cafè Nicoletti also offers daily lunch specials and, for those on the go, a pickup window.
Eddie Neill introduced St. Louis to multicourse prix-fixe meals of rustic foods from the south of France, and he continues to offer great value in this romantic, candlelit space. Choose from among country-style ptés, hearty stews and Mediterranean seafood. Outdoor tables are available when the weather permits.
Known for its clean, minimalist atmosphere and hefty foil-wrapped burritos the size (and weight) of a small infant, Chipotle pioneered the fast-casual, assembly line Mexican food genre that's since grown to encompass chains like Qdoba and Baja Fresh. The protocol in St. Louis and elsewhere? Diners proceed single-file down the line and orchestrate the construction of their burrito, tacos (soft or crunchy), rice bowl, or salad with proteins including braised pork carnitas and grilled chicken or steak. Rice, beans, and a kaleidoscope of salsas from mild to sinus-clearing, plus garnishes like sour cream, guacamole and lettuce, complete the picture. Once heavily backed by McDonald's, Chipotle broke away from the fast food megacorp in 2006 and has since gained favor with customers by sourcing all-natural, hormone-free meats and even some local produce. It hired celebrity chef Nate Appleman as "culinary manager" in 2010 to man the New York test kitchen and work on research and development to keep Chipotle on the forefront of food trends. Finding your nearest Chipotle is a snap on Voice Places.
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