The most frequently asked question amongst you and your friends may or may not be, “Where should we go to eat?” Even after scrolling through pages and pages of Urbanspoon and Yelp suggestions, you still end up going to Crushed Red, Pastaria or Winslow’s. How can you possibly get out of this hopeless rut? Try these unique STL spots to switch things up:
1. SweetArt (Shaw): This bakery/art studio/café hybrid is unique, refreshing and exactly what you need to get out of your dining trance. Their café menu is perfect for vegans and vegetarians, especially their 100% vegan SweetBurger that will charm the taste buds of even the biggest meat-eaters. Whether you’re in the mood for cookies and pie or a savory treat, SweetArt is a quaint little spot that you’ll wish you discovered on your first day at Wash U.
2. Sanctuaria (The Grove): If you’re into tapas but tired of frequenting Barcelona, then Sanctuaria is the answer to your prayers. This dimly lit, edgy tapas joint has a good variety of vegetarian and meat-based, simple and complex dishes, making it a great place to go with all your friends, even if they have dietary restrictions or are on the pickier side.
3. Colleen’s Cookies (Clayton): I had never tried Colleen’s Cookies until about a week ago, and I am seriously regretting it. I got a raspberry lemon scone and it was like a soft, cakey lemon scone ate a raspberry Pop-Tart and then someone coated it all with this heavenly icing. When I got the scone to go, a woman who worked there suggested I warm it up in the microwave. I did, and I highly suggest you do the same with all future scones. They also serve Intelligentsia Coffee, a roasting company based in Chicago, which is one of my all-time favorites. I have yet to try their café menu but it is definitely on my to-do list.
4. Layla (The Grove): This spot features burgers and Mediterranean food for eiher lunch or dinner. Start with an order of fresh kale chips for an appetizer and for your main course, their spicy falafel pita is top notch. Not only does the diverse Mediterranean menu set it apart from Clayton restaurants, but its location gives it a whole different vibe. The Grove is a unique, eclectic neighborhood that offers awesome spots for dining, nightlife and entertainment. You should check out the area even if you aren’t hitting up Layla.
5. A Pizza Story (Maplewood): Don’t get me wrong, Pi and Dewey’s are great, but you can switch it up with this spot in Maplewood located right near Home Wine Kitchen (another great restaurant). A Pizza Story offers spectacular appetizers, like crispy calamari with puttanesca sauce or artichoke and eggplant dip served with homemade bread. Of course, they are known for their pizzas and pastas that will leave both you and your stomach very happy.
6. Farmhaus (Lindenwood Park): This hidden gem seems a little off the beaten path, but it’s only 15 or 20 minutes from campus. The menu changes everyday based on fresh, local ingredients and the chef’s insane level of creativity. I went for dinner in the fall and each course was more delicious than the last. I recommend going with someone who shares similar tastes so that you can split a bunch of small dishes, which is what my mom and I did. From warm wild mushroom toasts to a beet and summer vegetable salad that came in a mason jar, I was in heaven. This is a must-see for all you foodies, especially if you’re down for that farm-to-table action.
7. Eleven Eleven Mississippi (Lafayette Square): I was initially intrigued by the potential origin of the restaurant’s name but then I realized it was just the address…. (1111 Mississippi Avenue). Anyway, I was still very impressed with my meal when I went for dinner with a few friends. Its dim, log cabin-y vibe gives this restaurant a great atmosphere and it was poppin’ on a Saturday night. I especially enjoyed the miniature loaf of freshly baked bread that was served warm, topped with fresh herbs and caramelized onions (yeah, that’s real) alongside Parmesan cheese swimming in olive oil. The flatbread pizzas are exceptional and perfect for sharing, and the dessert menu looked absurdly good but we were all too full. This is a great spot to check out with your family or for a nicer night out with friends.