St. Louis August 28, 2017
Everyone In St. Louis Absolutely Loves These 7 Foods And Drinks
We don’t just love these foods and drinks in St. Louis, we are nationally known for creating many of them – and for perfecting the creation process of a few of them. If you have lived in St. Louis for very long, you probably know what foods and drinks are on this list. But do you know where to get the best of each of these foods? Or why we ever started eating and drinking them in the first place? Read below to find out.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Toasted Ravioli
Toasted ravioli might sound like a healthy dish, it isn't. It is a traditional ravioli, deep fried to a golden brown. St. Louis history says that it was created by mistake, when a ravioli was accidentally dropped in the fryer instead of the pot of boiling water. Who dropped the first ravioli is a matter of contention, with several people laying claim to having created it. This fact might be lost to history.
What is for sure is that you can find perfect toasted ravioli's on the Hill. Charlie Gitto's, Zia's Restaurant and Catering, and Anthonino's Taverna all have outstanding toasted ravioli, all served with homemade sauce.
2. St. Louis style thin crust pizza
St. Louis thin crust pizza is cracker thin, crunchy but with just enough soft texture to make each bite the perfect balance to the toppings. And those base toppings are almost exclusively Provel cheese, and a red sauce with a touch more oregano than is used in other parts of the country.
Where do you go to get the best pizza in St. Louis? You can't go wrong ordering Cecil Whittaker's Pizza or Imo's for dinner. Similar, but different, they are tried and true traditions here in St. Louis. But very soon there will be a clear winner in the great pizza debate when the Hill hosts STL Square off, October 8th in Berra Park.
3. Barbecue Pork Ribs
This cut of meat is nationally recognized as Pork Ribs, St. Louis Style. Turning up in barbecuing competitions from coast to coast, this cut of meat is seemingly loved by the rest of the country as much as we love it. But unlike other parts of the country, our barbecue must have sauce, and lots of it. Otherwise you are just grilling outside here in St. Louis, not barbecuing.
There are so many great places in St. Louis to enjoy Pork Ribs. A few top choices are Bogart's Smokehouse, Pappy's Smokehouse, and Sugar Fire Smokehouse BBQ.
4. Buffalo Chicken Wings
Buffalo chicken wings weren't invented here, but we may have perfected them. Several, South County restaurants started serving 'trashed' wings a few years back. Who was the first is a matter of debate, as so many things are when a certain style of food becomes popular. These wings are deep fried, tossed in sauce then quickly dropped in the fryer again, giving them a little spicy kick and more crunch than regular wings.
You can find this style of wings in other parts of the country now. However, not everyone will make them because the hot sauce changes the fryer oil and requires a special deep fryer. You can find these wings at Frankie G's in South County.
St. Louis is a beer town, we don't just like to drink a lot of it, but part of our city economy was, and is, built around beer production. In 1861 there were approximately 40 breweries in operation in the St. Louis area. By the end of the century only half that many were still in business. The caves around St. Louis were a perfect place to store beer, but it was also a good supply of clean water for production that made the process easier here than in other parts of the country.
Today St. Louis is once again producing new types of craft beer, this time with quality as the key rather than quantity. The list of stellar craft beer breweries is long. These three are a good place to start if you just like beer, or want to sample quality craftsmanship brewing: Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, Square One Brewery and Distillery, and Perennial Artisan Ales.
6. Pork Steaks
The St. Louis pork steak is a huge piece of meat. It is called "pork butt," but is cut from the shoulder of the pig. The rest of the country makes pulled pork out of this cut of meat. Why we really love pork here is another mystery. What is for sure is the best pork steak is the one you barbecue.
But if you just can't fire up the grill today, these restaurants all serve perfectly prepared pork steaks: Cafe Telegraph, Ms. Piggies Smokehouse, and Smokehouse BBQ.
7. Gooey Butter Cake
Gooey Butter Cake was invented here in St. Louis. And it is so good! But most would say that any cake that has more than two sticks of butter in it had better be good! Folklore abounds as to who created the first pan of this sticky cake, and it is often told that its creation was a mistake. But we know for sure this cake appeared during the time of the Great Depression, so it could be that its creation was because the baker only had these ingredients. It would have been so much easier to get butter than flour during this time.
We may never know the reason it was created. But we are glad it was. You can find a delicious square of gooey butter cake at either of the two Park Avenue Coffee locations.
Wow! What a list of great food here in St. Louis. Are any of these your absolute favorite? Do you know more of the history of these foods? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Looking for more St. Louis food traditions? Read here about the history of
Ted Drewes and all the incredible frozen custard they create.