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Food & Drink

Best Chain Restaurant 

Yia Yia's Euro Café

Deep in our hearts, we know chain restaurants are not a good thing for local restaurateurs. We hate those chains that disguise themselves as homegrown and part of the neighborhood when all they're peddling is mediocre fare in a homogenized setting. We also know that chains are growing in popularity and that (dare we say especially in St. Louis) parochial attitudes and preconceptions often taint the palate. Keep an open mind, and you might just be pleasantly surprised. Yia Yia's Euro Café, part of the Kansas City-based PB&J Restaurant Group's 4-state, 35-restaurant empire (including five Yia Yia's), is a case in point. It's an upscale chain restaurant that doesn't feel like one. Chefs at each Yia Yia's are free to take advantage of local meat and produce, which means the Mediterranean-inspired menu changes several times a year. The restaurant makes apt use of a wood-fired oven, churning out pizzas, piadini and other flavorful delights, such as half a crisp-skinned chicken surrounded by thick slices of "fire roasted" zucchini, yellow squash and fingerling potatoes, drenched in a lemon-parsley sauce. The house-made desserts are likewise inspired. Just goes to show what happens when you keep an open mind...and mouth.

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