Top 10 Dishes to Eat When You Are in St. Louis

Elizabeth Nicholas

New York may own cheesecake, Paris steak tartare, and London fish and chips, but St. Louis holds the title of world’s best when it comes to barbecue. If you’re planning to eat your way around the Gateway to the West, there are a few more dishes you need to know about if you want to eat like a local, then you’ll understand why the people of St. Louis are so proud of their hometown’s cuisine.

Barbecue

Barbecue may be the dish St. Louis is most famous for, and the city lays justifiable claim to some of the best barbecue in the world. Barbecue joints such as Pappy’s and Borgart’s have been featured by international food reporters, and people flock from all over the region to wait in line for hours for a humble plate of spare ribs. Speaking of spare ribs, that is the classic St. Louis barbecue dish, grilled rather than slow cooked, and irresistibly smoky.

Pappy’s Smokehouse, 3106 Olive St, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA, +1 314 535 4340

Bogart’s Smokehouse, 1627 S 9th St, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA, +1 314 621 3107

1. The salad at The Woman’s Exchange

Shop, Store

The Woman’s Exchange is a pink and green-filled children’s clothing shop that sells a famous cherry-festooned dress and the tea room serves the best chopped salad you’ll ever enjoy. The secret lies in the dressing, which is a tangy mixture of anchovies, mustard, lemon juice, and herbs, but the extra, extra, extra avocado doesn’t hurt, either.

2. Toasted ravioli

2. Toasted ravioli
©Timothy Boyd/WikiCommons

Imagine a typical ravioli, filled with meat or cheese, then deep fried. That is what the (slightly misnamed) “toasted” ravioli is, and St. Louisans will tell you it is some of the best Italian food you can find this side of Naples. Get the best at Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill, St. Louis’ Italian neighborhood, where the recipe originated.

Charlie Gitto’s On The Hill, 5226 Shaw Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA, +1 314 772 8898

Toasted ravioli © Timothy Boyd/WikiCommons | ©Timothy Boyd/WikiCommons

Budweiser

While not technically a food, Budweiser beer might as well be its own food group for many St. Louisans. Before it was bought by InBev in 2008, world-famous Budweiser beer was a company owned and run by a St. Louis family. And while the ownership may have changed, St. Louisans still think of Budweiser as part of their heritage, and take every opportunity to knock a few back, not least at a Cardinals baseball game in the summer.

Budweiser I

3. Gooey butter cake

Bakery, Coffee Shop, American

Gooey butter cake is as decadent as it sounds. Think of a coffee cake with a sinfully rich cream cheese-based filling, dusted with powdered sugar. You can find one in just about any bakery, although Kaldi’s Coffee is famous for having some of the best in town.

Frozen custard concretes

Driving down an inauspicious strip of Chippewa Street on a hot summer’s night, you’d be forgiven for thinking a celebrity was in town from the crowds swarming the sidewalks. But rather than waiting in line for a photo of Kim Kardashian, they are actually waiting to get frozen concretes from local institution Ted Drewes. Made of frozen custard made with eggs and honey, and blended with dozens of flavors, a concrete is so stiff that if you stick a spoon in and turn it upside down, the spoon will stay put.

Ted Drewes, 6726 Chippewa St, St. Louis, MO 63109, USA, +1 314 481 2652

St. Louis-style pizza

The pizza in St Louis is all about the Provel cheese. Gooey, tangy, and used in abundance on thin-crust pizza squares, Provel is a uniquely St. Louis phenomenon. And while you can find St. Louis-style pizza in plenty of places around town, Imo’s Pizza made the original, which is still the ultimate.

Imo’s Pizza, 904 S 4th St, St. Louis, MO 63102, USA (and various locations), +1 314 421 4667

The slinger

Perhaps the ultimate post-party food, the slinger is a late-night St. Louis culinary staple. Comprised of a heap of hamburger patty, hash browns, sunny side-up eggs, chili, cheddar cheese, and whatever condiments your heart desires. It may seem like a dish that would appeal exclusively at 3AM, but diners in the city have wised up and started serving it around the clock, just how St. Louisans like it.

Pork steak

A pork steak is exactly what it sounds like, and is the main event whenever St. Louisans are grilling in the summer. Made of slow cooked pork shoulder with a healthy layer of BBQ sauce, the most authentic way to experience this Midwestern delicacy is to get a St. Louisan to grill for you. Pick up a pork steak up at St. Louis grocery chain Schnucks and find a friend with a grill – any local will be only too proud and happy to prove just how much better suited pork is for “steak” than beef.

Gerber sandwich

Named for loyal customer Dick Gerber, the Gerber sandwich was invented by the local family-owned Ruma’s Deli in 1973, and has developed a legion of devoted fans in the ensuing decades. The open-faced sandwich is something of an American croque-madame, with ham and Provel cheese toasted on French or Italian bread, smothered in garlic butter. You can find one at Ruma’s, but the sandwich will be available at pretty much any St. Louis deli.

Ruma’s Deli, 1395 Covington Manor Ln, St. Louis, MO 63125, USA, +1 314 892 9990

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
Edit article