If you want to make a good impression on the family this holiday season, dazzle them with your knowledge of Missouri’s great dining scene.
Not sure where to begin? That’s okay, the folks at Feast Magazine have you covered.
Check out these five Feast features on Missouri restaurants. And after you make a good impression by sharing your knowledge, make a great impression by offering to treat the family.
Southern, St. Louis
“If Hattie B’s and Cochon had a love child, it would be this restaurant,” says chef Rick Lewis of Southern, a 55-seat hot chicken and sandwich spot, which opened in June.
Lewis, a 2014 James Beard Rising Star semifinalist, is referring to Cochon, the New Orleans butchery and sandwich shop, and Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, the popular hot chicken joint in Nashville, as influences for Southern.
The restaurant, which is a partnership with the team at neighboring Pappy’s Smokehouse, serves four styles of chicken: original, mild, cluckin’ hot and General Tso’s.
You can get a two- or three-piece meal with white or dark meat, four pieces of tenders or wings, a half bird or a la carte pieces. Each chicken plate come with bread, pickles and two sides (including mashed potatoes with pan gravy, mac ‘n’ cheese and vinegar slaw).
“I’m putting a lot of attention on sides,” Lewis says. “I want people to come in and be like, ‘Damn, that’s good chicken, but these mashed potatoes are killer; these pickles are killer.’”
Sandwiches at Southern include fried bologna with pimento cheese and a sunny-side-up egg and the Cubano with pulled pork, sugar-cured ham, Gruyère, ale mustard and bread-and-butter pickles.
Blvd Tavern, Kansas City
Blvd Tavern is a dream come true for chef-owner Derek Nacey and his wife, Meghan. Derek, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, worked at Fedora Cafe & Bar, Zin and Café Allegro in Kansas City before settling into a corporate job as culinary director for Houlihan’s for the past seven years.
After looking at restaurant spaces for quite some time, the couple finally decided to take over the former Nica’s Lagniappe spot. After renovating the space, the couple opened Blvd Tavern in March.
Although most of the dishes on the menu appear to be as American as apple pie, a closer look reveals that each dish offers a subtle international influence – think kimchi on fried chicken wings and a plate of tempura-fried Japanese shishito peppers.
It’s these international riffs that set Blvd apart from other gastropubs in Kansas City. Try the fish and chips, crispy beer-battered cod served with fries, mushy peas and a side of malt vinegar, or the grilled Rochester White Hot, mini housemade pork-veal sausages served on a pillowy bun topped with pickled onions, cucumber and mustard seed.
Creek Side Pub, Springfield
There’s nothing swanky about Creek Side Pub in Springfield, and that’s part of its charm. The crowds don’t come for dazzling décor or service; they come for two reasons: to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and to chow down on homemade chips and guacamole.
Situated along the banks of Galloway Creek, the tiny bar and bistro draws large crowds that often spill out of its doors. The spot is a popular summer hangout, as it’s tucked away in the woods with a bike path winding by out front and a creek bubbling in back.
Limited staff, not to mention limited seating, is why owner Bear Gannaway has kept the menu so small. There are just four items to choose from: the much-lauded chicken salad sandwich served on a flaky croissant, a ham and cheese croissant, the Anti-Vegan Delight (a combination of mushrooms, avocado, tomatoes and cucumbers packed between – you guessed it – a buttery croissant) and the chips with guac or salsa.
Chips are made to order and are nothing more than flour tortillas that Gannaway cuts up and fries. They’re simple and delicious, crispy but still chewy, and they serve as the perfect vehicle for dollops of fresh guacamole.
With live music on the occasional Thursday night and every Friday and Saturday night, the bistro quickly fills up, but the back patio is a big draw during the day (Gannaway opens shop at 3 p.m.).
Snag a seat at one of the faded pink picnic tables or on mismatched patio furniture to enjoy the food and drink, and then try your luck tossing rocks from the bank into the metal Miller Lite bucket that hangs over the creek.
Ichiban Sushi Bistro, Columbia
Situated between art galleries and University of Missouri student housing in Columbia is Ichiban Sushi Bistro, which changed its name from Be My Guest Bistro in April.
In the restaurant’s modern dining room, chef-owner Poppy Watthanakhonphaiboon serves a menu built around fresh ingredients that draw from a range of global influences.
Watthanakhonphaiboon’s goal is to share a mix of familiar fare, such as pad Thai, sushi and pho, alongside more eclectic dishes like fresh unagi (eel) and deep-fried tofu served with a dashi dipping sauce.
In addition to lunch, dinner and late-night menus, Ichiban also offers specials such as kamoni ramen with stewed duck, shiitake mushrooms and bok choi, and miso cha shu men with stir-fried vegetables, roasted pork and seaweed in a miso broth.
Audubon’s of Ste. Genevieve
In the early 1800s, famous American ornithologist, naturalist and painter John James Audubon briefly lived in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. In 1946, the now-shuttered Hotel Audubon was named in his honor, and in December, Audubon’s Redevelopment reopened the building as a restaurant, Audubon’s of Ste. Genevieve.
General manager Bradon Parsons says the farm-to-table spot strives to source about 75 percent of its ingredients from regional farmers and producers, including beef from Arnold Farm near Elizabeth, Illinois; goat cheese made by Baetje Farms in Bloomsdale, Missouri; sausage from Oberle Meats in Ste. Genevieve; and pork from Meyer Hog Farm in Zell, Missouri.
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and brunch on Sundays. For lunch, executive chef Andy Gegg and chef Alex Naeger serve sandwiches like the Reuben with house-smoked and -cured pastrami with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing on rye, and hearty plates like a smoked and fried half-chicken with liver dumplings served with green bean casserole.
Dinner entrées range from German-inspired fare such as grilled portabella mushrooms with housemade spätzle and sweet-and-sour cabbage to robust American dishes including pepper-encrusted beef tenderloin with a hickory-smoked bacon croquette, artichoke confit and Brandy-black peppercorn demi-glace.
The restaurant serves cocktails, craft beer – including three beers made in collaboration with nearby Charleville Vineyard, Winery and Microbrewery – and a wine list brimming with local favorites from Chaumette Vineyards & Winery, Cave Vineyard, Ste. Genevieve Winery and Crown Valley Winery.
Content courtesy of Feast Magazine. Feast Magazine is dedicated to broadening the conversation about food and engaging a large, hungry audience of food lovers. Original articles by Liz Miller, Caitlyn Gallip, Jenny Vergara and Ettie Berneking. Photos by Megan Roussin, Kholood Eid, Ben Pieper, Bethany Christo and Jessica Spencer.