A First Serving of the Online-Only Hot Eats
Hot Eats is launching into a new year, and we’re celebrating with a move to online publication. This means the column will come to you days after it’s written instead of weeks. As a writer, my heart is always in print, but as an eater, I’m just as hungry as you are to hear about new restaurants.
Of course, there’s a lot more to the St. Louis dining scene than just the “hot” places that everyone’s writing about. I was reminded of this again the other day in a conversation with three twenty-somethings who moved here via the high-tech industry. They said our dynamic restaurant options, especially for international cuisines, were one of the unexpected bonuses of living here—but the depth of options has a downside too; they’d lived here six months before they even knew The Hill existed.
That got me thinking about where I eat when I’m not on the clock working on an assignment: Cherokee is my favorite street, hands down. I’ve been a regular there since moving to St. Louis in 2001, but I’m more impressed than ever thanks to its emerging diversity and quality. It draws me back for ceviche and tacos and fresh bread and kombucha and beer and whiskey and ice cream and pizza. But I hop around plenty too—within the past couple of weeks I’ve been in University City for Eritrean, South City for Honduran, North City for barbecue, and Creve Coeur for a good, old-fashioned American breakfast. I closed down Ted Drewes for the season and warmed up with a couple of delicious seasonal cocktails in Lafayette Square.
Discovering the newest offerings from our region’s incredibly talented chefs is exciting, and I’m lucky to have a gig that lets me write about places like Randolfi’s in The Loop, the newest feather in Mike Randolph’s culinary cap, where Italian dishes are executed with passion and panache. But I’m also stoked that next weekend I plan to check out Melo’s Pizzeria, the new little Benton Park joint from Blues City Deli owner Vince Valenza. Expect a mix of places in Hot Eats for 2016—something tells me it’s going to be a very good year for food-lovers!