Salt + Smoke
Salt + Smoke is an amazing barbecue restaurant, which is a big compliment coming from a North Carolinian. They have a choice of four different homemade barbecue sauces: vinegar-based, sweet, smoky and spicy chili pepper. To get the full experience, begin your meal with delicious hushpuppies topped with maple butter and order a side of creamy white cheddar cracker mac ‘n’ cheese. I’ve dined there at least eight times with my family, my roommate’s family, my boyfriend and various friends. Each time, everyone rolled home happy, albeit not so healthy. Entrées are priced between $10-$14 and include one or two sides depending on whether you choose a sandwich or a plate. Salt + Smoke is located in The Loop, which is a neighborhood near the Danforth Campus. It is a 10-minute drive or a short walk from the MetroLink station.
— Rebecca B., M1
5 Star Burgers
Sometimes you are on your own on a Thursday night and want a burger without spending 30 bucks on an eight-pack of buns and condiments that will sit in in your refrigerator for the next eight weeks. You could run to Five Guys, but you want something a little less greasy and more upmarket. That’s where 5 Star Burgers comes in. They serve damn good burgers, and the vibe is casual enough that you feel comfortable at a table for one, but fancy enough that they only serve local craft beers. Try the Gateway Burger and you won’t be disappointed (unless you have a weird aversion to bacon and barbecue sauce). The menu also features some interesting non-beef and vegetarian options to appease all palates.
— Alexa P., M1
Located 10-15 minutes by car from the Central West End in the Tower Grove neighborhood, the Shaved Duck is one of the higher-profile barbeque restaurants in St. Louis because it was visited by Guy Fieri — the patron saint of out-of-bounds and off-the-chain cuisine, and a personal idol of mine — for an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives. If that makes you skeptical, let me say that the restaurant definitely validates its notoriety with excellent food. Its menu is full of classic barbecue meats and side dishes but also offers slightly more upscale smokehouse fare like duck confit or duck and smoked jalapeno chili. The Shaved Duck has been featured in a book on the 100 best barbecue restaurants in America and claims to make the best burnt ends you’ll ever eat. Its beer selection, which includes a nice cross-section of St. Louis craft breweries, is impressive. Moreover, there is often live music playing inside, providing a nice ambience.
— Alex Y., M1
The St. Louis food scene is known for famous barbecue, and Pappy’s Smokehouse lives up to its reputation. It’s a great family restaurant with a picnic and barbecue style atmosphere curated with long tables and benches that can easily seat six to eight people. The prices are moderate but the portions are huge and meant to be shared. Everything is cooked fresh daily. The beef brisket is almost always sold out by the end of the day so make sure to go well before closing time, and the ribs also tend to run low. Basically everything I’ve tried on the menu is delicious and hearty, including ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, burnt ends, sweet potato fries, potato salad and green beans. The two meat and two side combo is enough to feed three people, or two really hungry people, so bring your friends!
— Jessica K., M1
St. Louis Delicacies
Are you hungry? Will you likely be hungry in the near future? Then read this super abbreviated guide to eating in St. Louis* which explains why Wash U is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News’ “Med School Food Index”!** Within a mere mile of campus, you have an inexhaustible resource of restaurants between the Central West End and the Grove neighborhoods (at least 20 solid-to-great restaurants). The pinnacle of the CWE experience is Scottish Arms, a Scottish pub with an unreal brunch for those who like to get “bougie” and boozie on occasion. And while the immediate neighborhood is indeed a delicious neighborhood, Washington University is situated wonderfully to experience the entire St. Louis scene. Just north of downtown is Crown Candy Kitchen, the old-timey soda fountain with the best malt ever malted. Keep on south to Soulard and you’ll happen upon Bogart’s Smokehouse, which is in a contentious four-way tie for most celebrated barbecue in the city. (The city itself is in a four-way tie for best barbecue in the U.S.) Head west from there and you’ll pass Lulu’s Local Eats and Treehouse, both of which have mastered the art of killing taste buds without killing animals. While in the south part of the city, be sure to get down with one of Lona’s giant, spicy, spring roll burritos. Grab a Guinness and fried gizzards at Pat Connolly’s Irish pub (probably opened before World War II?) just across from Forest Park in historic Dogtown. Keep on keeping west all the way to Robota’s for ramen that literally made me cry. Shout-out to America’s best salami (Forbes magazine gives awards for salami) at Salume Beddu cured meat factory. FYI, the free food scene on campus is unparalleled. “Never-have-to-spend-money-on-food-again sort of unparalleled.” Bon Appétit!
*Story does not report on the robust ice cream/desert scene in St. Louis
**Index weighs Yelp reviews of nearby restaurants, academic ranking of program, and proximity to Cahokia Mounds.
— Brad B., M1
Crown Candy Kitchen
I’ll be honest. The reason I went to Crown Candy Kitchen was because I heard they had a BLT with a full POUND of BACON on it. Let me tell you, it was everything you could ever dream about and more. The only thing that could make it better would be getting two or three BLTs, stacking them, and using extra bacon wrapped around the sides to hold them together. But, once I got there, I found out this place has been a tradition in St. Louis for more than 100 years! You can tell it is 100 years old because the inside looks like an extremely upscale, miniaturized Steak ‘n’ Shake. Which reminds me of the whole point of this article, other than the bacon … the shakes! That’s what they are famous for. They have, hands down, the best milkshakes I’ve ever had. Which works out really well, because they also serve tamales, and nothing prevents heartburn after a couple tamales and a pound of bacon like a Chocolate Banana Milkshake. You’ll learn that in class.
— Griffin P., M1
I like when a donut looks big but then you bite into it and it’s really pillow-esque and squishy. I love when donut places aren’t stingy with the sugar glaze, even on donuts that aren’t normally glazed at all (like cake donuts or cinnamon rolls). And I LOVE when those donuts cost almost nothing! Pharaoh’s is not the place to go get an exotic donut with cumin or onions or something. And it is not the place for a healthy breakfast. But if you want standard classic flavors done as well as you could possibly imagine, at a price even medical students don’t have to think twice about, give Pharaoh’s a try.
— Andrew S., M1
The London Tea Room
The London Tea Room is tucked away in the Tower Grove South neighborhood of St. Louis, a short drive from the medical campus. This quaint corner café offers over 100 loose leaf tea varieties and an assortment of freshly baked English pastries. Stroll through the shop and admire all of the tea-themed merchandise or get cozy with a pot of uniquely blended and expertly brewed tea. If you order tea at the front counter, a few minutes later a server sporting a “Tea Shirt” will bring an individual tea pot to your table with all of the class English tea accoutrements. A small cohort of medical students have made this their go-to spot for studying and enjoy the quiet ambience of this elegant little shop.
— Caitlin D., M1