A Cluster of Globally Inspired Restaurants Flourishes on Chouteau Avenue
Can’t decide whether you want French or Italian or Caribbean or American for dinner? A short walk down Chouteau Avenue at 21st Street might help.
Restaurateurs Paul and Wendy Hamilton operate a cluster of diverse restaurants along this short stretch just north of Lafayette Square, and every establishment is more than just a place to grab a bite—it’s an ode to the locales that inspired them during their years in the travel industry, a culinary scrapbook they share with their devoted foodie followers.
Since launching the iconic Eleven Eleven Mississippi in 2003, their company, Hamilton Hospitality, now operates five more restaurants and leases space to a sixth. While the individual concepts may center on cuisine from around the globe, the heart of the Hamiltons’ business is making St. Louis as strong as it can be. This includes preserving the rich history of the city by turning abandoned buildings in the historic Lafayette Square district into the following destinations:
Vin de Set
Only one restaurant can transport you to Provence while offering you the best view of St. Louis. Whether you dine in Vin de Set’s bistro or on its rooftop bar, you can savor French dishes, such as swordfish bouillabaisse and beef bourguignon. Or take a culinary adventure with its prix fixe menu where escargot hors d’oeuvres and crème brulee make the perfect bookends to a memorable meal.
Hamilton’s Urban Steakhouse & Bourbon Bar
A culinary tribute to Midwestern cuisine and hospitality, this farm-to-table restaurant makes Iowa beef and Kentucky bourbon the stars of its steakhouse menu. Hamilton’s features aged steaks and chops to make all of our inner Ron Swansons weep with joy and offers up classic sides with a twist, like asparagus with béarnaise or mac-n-cheese.
Charleville Brewing Company & Tavern
In 2017, this brewery moved its operation from Ste. Genevieve to St. Louis, into space it leases from the Hamiltons, who also provide a food menu of classic beer-friendly foods like burgers, wings, pork rinds and nachos. Charleville makes four core ales year-round and branches out into seasonals and limited releases like the Hairy Cow Wee Heavy ale and the Aphelion barrel-aged imperial stout.
In St. Louis, we love our pizza almost as much as we love our beer, and PW Pizza revels in both. Locally sourced cheeses, meats and veggies are piled on top of hand-tossed crusts or loaded into buttery calzones, ensuring you get a mouthful of goodness in each satisfying bite. Even better, the menu suits any pizza-lover’s taste with gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and full-on carnivore options.
21st Street Brewers Bar
Celebrating St. Louis’ rich brewing heritage, 21st Street Brewers Bar features 50 beers on draft and 80 by the bottle. While the focus is on the Gateway City, there are plenty of options from across the country and around the world. The bar hosts happy hour specials Monday through Saturday and a featured keg and pizza or wing special on Friday nights.
Rhone Rum Bar
Escape the Midwest for a trip to the British Virgin Islands at Rhone Rum Bar. One of the newest spots on the block, it serves up more than 100 rums with the just the right amount of Caribbean kitsch. Sip on a pina colada or rum rita while you listen to live music, compete for corn hole stardom or wait for your spot on its new indoor sand volleyball court.
Eleven Eleven Mississippi
And if none of those restaurants quite fits the bill, head a block south on Mississippi Avenue to the restaurant that started this little globally influenced empire. With its rustic Tuscan flair and wine-centric menu, nationally renowned Eleven Eleven Mississippi focuses on made-from-scratch dishes featuring fresh-from-the-garden ingredients, many of which are harvested directly from the Hamilton Urban Farm and greenhouse (also located along Chouteau Avenue). In addition to menu mainstays like Marsala-braised rabbit or wild mushroom and pecorino polenta, Eleven Eleven offers three-course dinners on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Along with building its menus around local growers, Hamilton Hospitality is one of the few restaurant groups where staff members are also owners thanks to its Employee Stock Ownership Plan. The company also runs two event spaces—Moulin Events & Meetings and the adjoining The Malt House Cellar—as well as Grand Petite Market, a specialty wine-and-culinary shop influenced by the markets of Italy and southern France.
Photos courtesy of Hamilton Hospitality.