Three new hotspots invite St. Louisans to venture across the river.
Foodies looking to explore outside the city often turn north toward Edwardsville, seeking out perennial favorites Cleveland-Heath for its gourmet comfort food and 222 Artisan Bakery for its breads, pastries and Friday pizza lunches. But with the opening of three new dining and drinking destinations in that same direction, there’s more reason than ever to head east.
North Meets South
GULF SHORES RESTAURANT & GRILL built its reputation for excellent seafood and New Orleans specialties by word of mouth alone. Now that the secret’s out, its original Creve Coeur location is always packed to the gills. The second location in Edwardsville is sure to become just as popular, especially the Thursday-only N’awlins menu that includes frog legs, gator tenderloin, crawfish Alfredo and authentic hurricanes (215 Harvard Dr., 618.650.9109).
The clever folks at RECESS BREWING have hit upon a novel way to ensure a well-worn path to their door: a membership program similar to a CSA, but for local beer instead of farmfresh produce. Once or twice a month, members fill a growler with brews like Traitor (an extra special bitter), 2211 (an IPA) or Pedagogical (a session porter). At the brewery itself there’s no food menu, but they’ll pass you a dish of Billy Goat Chips or hook you up with delivery (307 N. Main St., 618.692.5101).
Better Than Baking
At this Alton, IL, venture, sustainability runs through every craft brew from OLD BAKERY BEER COMPANY, which uses only American-grown and certified organic malts and hops. The food menu is a locavore’s dream, featuring many locally produced artisan ingredients. It clearly tapped a wellspring of demand: The already trending spot ran out of food its first weekend. But now there are plenty of Cuban sandwiches, turnip-spinach salads, beer cheese soup and tofu banh mi for everyone (400 Landmarks Blvd.).
Gulf Shores’ Shrimp & Grits (L) and Coconut Shrimp Salad (R)
Photo credit: Jennifer Silverberg