Dining out isn’t all about food. Sure, the food has to please your palate, but diners also want to feel welcome and appreciated, and they expect efficient service. We asked three St. Louis foodies about the places they frequent and why.
Joan Beuckman of Warson Woods
Retired broadcast newswoman Joan Beuckman has a philosophy about dining out. “Whether it’s the service or the fact that you can always get a good table, people keep going back to the same place for many reasons, but overall, it’s because being in the restaurant makes them feel good,” she says. What ensures that they won’t go back? “Bad food.” Beuckman frequents the following:
Café Osage: It’s my new favorite. There’s just something sweet about sitting at a table with these big, flowering plants around you. The Osage Corned Beef Hash has chunks of tender corned beef and potatoes, and farm fresh yellow, yellow egg yolks.
Schneithorst’s: It has great service and everything is freshly prepared. The breakfast meats are all high quality.
3 Monkeys: Very innovative food, a great brunch and reasonable prices. It’s in a fun neighborhood (near Tower Grove Park), so there’s a good mix of diners.
Cafe Madeleine: The setting (in Piper Palm House at Tower Grove Park) is beautiful, and the menu includes first-class cheeses and a great omelet station.
Michael’s Bar & Grill: Nobody makes a gyro salad like Michael’s.
Boathouse Forest Park: The menu has a Salmon BLT that’s so tender, and the setting!
Lulu Seafood Restaurant: Of all the Chinese restaurants in town, this is my favorite. The dim sum is fabulous, and everything has such flavor, even the rice!
Special Occasion Dinner
Giovanni’s: We’re so lucky that there are so many great pasta places on The Hill, but when I’m going to splurge, it’s Giovanni’s.
Sidney Street Cafe: I go here for really special occasions. I especially like the Whiskey Steak.
Annie Gunn’s: The menu can go from basic (meatloaf and mashed potatoes) to innovative (foie gras sandwiches), and it’s always great.
Jon Shigemura of Maplewood
As an investment advisor for Metlife, Shigemura conducts ‘power lunches’ at least three times a week. For him, a restaurant’s wait staff is key to ensuring a successful business lunch. “The servers need to understand that you’re there to talk about business, so they have to be attentive, but not too attentive.”
Herbie’s Vintage 72: The staff seats you according to your needs. So if I came for a business meeting, they’d make sure I’m somewhere private, either off to the side or in a corner. The Firecracker Shrimp is a real standout.
~scape: It has a great, central location, and nice, large tables so you can spread out. The steak tartare has the freshest beef I’ve found anywhere. I’m addicted to it!
Favorite new restaurants
The Red Lion: It just opened in Maplewood and has a cool bar and great burger selection.
The Stable: It’s a new micro-brewery in the old Lemp Brewery building. The decor is eclectic and the food is good, especially the Fried Green Tomato BLT: haven’t found that anywhere else.
Monarch Restaurant: Not only do they have a great wine list, but they also serve small plates to perfectly pair with the wines.
Special Occasion Dinner
Mihalis Chophouse: It has great service in an intimate setting, and the wait staff is very knowledgeable about the wine list and the menu: Everything they’ve recommended has been very good.
Jen Myers of Glendale
Jen Myers, a member of Y98’s Phillips and Company morning show, usually finds out about good restaurants through word-of-mouth. “Recommendations from people are really important,” she says. Because of her on-air schedule, Myers eats her breakfast before the sun rises. So, she says, “I’m usually already eating lunch when everyone else is showing up for work!”
Rooster: I love crepes! I wish my stomach had enough room for both a sweet and savory one. I usually balance the Nutella crepe with the Brie crepe with roasted apples to avoid sugar overload.
Lunch with girlfriends
Companion: It’s a really fun girlfriend place. The decor is cute, the food’s great, and the atmosphere is really nice.
Vin de Set: My husband and I first went for our anniversary a couple of years ago. The architecture is beautiful with the vaulted ceilings, but the outdoor patio is just as romantic. The food never disappoints.
Trattoria Marcella: One of the best things on the menu is the Fritto Misto (flash fried spinach and calamari). I also love the lobster risotto.
King and I: I love Thai food, and they have the best Tom Yum soup. I also like the Pad Thai with fried tofu.
Kaldi’s: I love their coffee, but the food is also great. People are always surprised that the food is so good.