Culinary tours and supper clubs keep foodies exploring all around town.
Alternative concepts that take diners away from the traditional dinner table are popping up around town. From culinary tours guiding foodies through the restaurants, bars and breweries of a specific neighborhood to underground supper clubs with innovative bites, there are plenty of ways to dine outside the box. These unique dining concepts are quickly gaining momentum in St. Louis, with a handful opening this year alone. Here’s a look at a few of our favorites.
Brewery Tours of St. Louis
The Concept: Participants hop aboard an air-conditioned party bus for a 3.5-hour tour through four different craft breweries, which could include Urban Chestnut, 4 Hands, Morgan Street, Perennial, Square One and Alpha. Guests spend about a half-hour at each spot, allowing brewers to give a history of the brewery and samples of their craft beer styles. A behind-the-scenes tour for a better look at the brewing process is typically squeezed in at one brewery.
The Organizers: Rand Wilson and Dave Worthington (two friends with a shared interest in craft beer who worked together at a freight-broker business for years) first launched Brewery Tours of Indianapolis. When the business took off quickly, they decided to expand to St. Louis.
What We Loved About the Last Event: The bus is equipped with coolers to keep purchased growlers cold, and each participant gets a pint glass to take home at the end.
When To Go Next: Catch a tour Thursday evenings, Friday afternoons and evenings, Saturday afternoons and evenings, and Sunday afternoons, year-round.
More Info: brewerytoursofstlouis.com
Eat Saint Louis Food Tours
The Concept: The guided walking tour is a “Taste of The Hill” that moves through the historic homes and Italian restaurants of The Hill neighborhood, with stops for St. Louis-style pizza, cured Italian meats, Salam de Testa sandwiches, cocktails and gelato.
The Organizers: Pete Manzo, former owner of Italian salsiccia shop Manzo’s Sausage Kitchen & Market, got to know The Hill and its eateries at an early age, tagging along with his father and brother as they delivered tomato products, olive oil, flour and cheese to Italian restaurants in the neighborhood.
What We Loved About the Last Event: Manzo’s commentary shows he knows the food, the history and the people—so much so that it’s common for local drivers passing the tour to roll down their windows and shout hello.
When To Go Next: Thursday afternoons, Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, April through November.
More Info: saintlouisfoodtours.com
The Concept: The members-only dining group hosts flash pop-up dinners in unique, off-the-beaten path locations—think abandoned warehouses, helipads or motorcycle factories. The food is prepared by up-and-coming chefs, who are rated by the diners after the meal to help them perfect their craft.
The Organizers: A group of five friends started the concept in New Orleans in 2012 when they realized there wasn’t a good spot to get high-quality late-night grub. Now, they’re in 19 cities, including St. Louis, which saw its first dinner just last month.
What We Loved About the Last Event: The rating cards for each course not only give the chef feedback to improve from week to week, but also give diners an opportunity to play restaurant critic. Chefs remove items from the menu, add dishes or enhance certain flavors based on what the diners tell them.
When You Can Go: Members pay an annual fee and then purchase tickets for seated dinners or happy hours that are usually held weekly.
More Info: dinnerlab.com
Dinner Lab, NYC