Eat and run in Saint Louis tips
May 5, 2013 6:12 AM   Subscribe

This is two-things-ism, sort of. Will be in St Louis, MO, USA, along with Ms J0 next week Monday-Thursday, staying at the Drury Inn down by the Arch. Will be in work/meetings until 5pm but would like recommendations on where after that time we could go run (Forest Park?) and also where we should go eat. We have some ideas on good restaurants (limits: Ms J0 is pescetarian) but will gladly accept your tips on the best food and drink establishments. We have a vehicle. Thank you.
posted by J0 to Travel & Transportation around St. Louis, MO (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If next week is May 13-May 18, Chuck Berry will be performing at Blueberry Hill on Wednesday, May 15.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:26 AM on May 5, 2013

Best answer: I would definitely go eat at Franco one night. It's a short drive from where you're staying. Lucas Park Grille is also a nice option and Mosaic is good if you like Tapas.

If you want something a little more casual and like a craft brew, the Schlafly Tap Room is really good.

Forest Park is great for running, but you'll have to drive to get there. You can run in the city after your meetings without much grief. Not sure how long of a run you're looking for, but running up Market to Tucker, across to Washington and then back down to Broadway would be a fine circle.
posted by Jacob G at 6:57 AM on May 5, 2013

Best answer: Forest Park is probably your best bet for running in the early evening. There is a 6-mile running trail around its perimeter, but there are lots of roads criss-crossing the park and not a ton of traffic, usually.

That link has most of the other trails in the area you might want to check out. Not on the list: You could run around the Arch grounds/riverfront (a loop just around the Arch grounds is a little more than a mile and a half, but you could run up the riverfront to the power plant, around Laclede's Landing, etc.).
posted by brentajones at 7:13 AM on May 5, 2013

Best answer: How long are you running? For a run of no more than, say, 3 miles I would stay downtown and take the path behind the Arch. Forest Park is a loop of around 6 miles and worth the trip for a longer run.

A couple of my favorite vegetarian-friendly eats in St. Louis are Cafe Natasha and Everest Cafe.
posted by payoto at 7:15 AM on May 5, 2013

Best answer: Running:
Depending on river levels (it's currently floodwalled off, but the water is receding fast), your closest running spot would be the Riverfront Trail [PDF map, 600kb]. It's an out-and-back, paved 10 miles each way, going north to the old Chain of Rocks Bridge.

A fair sight more interesting scenery than Forest Park, I think, but opinions differ. You can also ride metrolink out to FP if you'd like; the outer ring path is something like 5.8mi or so.

Tower Grove Park [map] (metrolink to either #70 or #95 bus south) is quite beautiful as well, and has a 3.1mi running loop. Mile-for-mile much prettier than Forest Park, if that matters. You can stop to take in the adjoining (gorgeous) Botanical Gardens, if you'd like ($8/person for non-city residents).

Carondelet Park [map] is also kind of beautiful and underrated. Perimeter running path is also in the 3mi range.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 8:02 AM on May 5, 2013

If you feel like driving a little ways, The Royale is pretty tasty and veg-friendly.
posted by BlueJae at 8:02 AM on May 5, 2013

You'll probably get a number of good lunch and dinner recommendations, but if you want a tasty breakfast around your part of town, Rooster has some really good food and plenty of vegetarian options. A little further south from where you're staying but still nearby is the Soulard Coffee Garden, which I would actually probably recommend over Rooster on account of its having a little more personality and a beautiful backyard patio seating area (assuming that the eternal rain that's been dogging us since the beginning of April clears up by then).
posted by invitapriore at 8:37 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tower Grove (smaller but less crowded and nicer than Forest Park) is good for running. If you're into trail running, I highly recommend Castlewood State Park. It's out in the burbs but not a long drive and totally worth it. Fantastically beautiful.

Everest is fantastic food. My brother's vegan and he's really into Gokul Indian Restaurant. Local Harvest is delish and veggie friendly. I agree that The Royale is good (great veggie burger) and it's right next to Tower Grove if you want a post-run nosh. Rooster is also the as well as the owner's other place- Bailey's Range. It's nothing but burgers, fries and shakes but all sorts of varieties (veg included.) I absolutely love it. I also really like Agostino's - a mix of Greek and Italian.
posted by saul wright at 8:42 AM on May 5, 2013

Just to warn you (and no offense intended to saul wright or his brother), Gokul is a place where the variance in people's opinions about it is more important than the average opinion. My friends and I have tried it a few times, and our verdict is that Gokul is actively gross and will destroy your stomach. It's easy to find vegetarian Indian dishes, and in that respect Rasoi or House of India (NB: it's a good distance from where you're staying) will serve you well. Seriously, there's no reason to go there if you're not vegan or keeping kosher, and even then...

I forgot that Local Harvest has a downtown location, so yeah, both you and your wife will be pleased by their menu I'm sure, and they also have good breakfasts.

Another good place by Tower Grove Park for Ethiopian food is Meskerem. It's tasty.

Finally, on the topic of other David Bailey establishments, if you're looking for some pretty decadent chocolate-and-booze-type fare, Bailey's Chocolate Bar is really good and not too far away.
posted by invitapriore at 9:09 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Re: Gokul, my husband and I called to try to get takeout from there for the first time last week, and after much hemming and hawing on the other end of the phone re: whether they had the (very common) dish we wanted available that day (they said they had it, then said they didn't have it), we called House of India (where we've been many times), and the difference was just night and day. House of India had all the food we wanted available, the woman who took my order was completely professional, and they had it all ready by the time I got there to pick it up...and of course, it was delicious, as always. So just a recent data point... We're not completely writing off Gokul yet, but it might be a while before we get to trying to order from there again.

But yeah, if you like Ethiopian (or want to try it), you'd do well to go to Meskerem! It's wonderful. Or for Thai, try the King and I in that area of South Grand, or for Vietnamese, check out Pho Grand.
posted by limeonaire at 9:20 AM on May 5, 2013

For Vietnamese, try Banh Mi So. Also in that South Grand area, it's really small and run by this husband and wife from Vietnam. It's great and a lot better than Pho Grand if you ask me.
posted by saul wright at 10:11 AM on May 5, 2013

St. Louis Union Station.
I honestly don't know about food here, there are restaurants, but the original entryway is a Very Nice bar that is walk-able and worth at least a drink. They turned it into a inside mall. The two things I would recommend if going there is to check the old time train yard. There have been more than a few times that going out there is like going to the smoking section of a very hip bar. You never know when some rock band might just be out there smoking, preforming, or whatever. Just inside those trainyard doors, there is a very unique food stand. You'll know it by the performance you'll see. Be warned-If you stand around and see the whole performance, give a dollar tip, or buy some stuff. Worth the money. Have a great time.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 10:27 AM on May 5, 2013

Duh...totally forgot about Landry's Seafood House. IT IS Awesome...and at Union Station.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 10:30 AM on May 5, 2013

If you decide to go to Union Station, beware the exorbitant parking fees. I personally don't feel like it's really worth going there unless you really like trains or architecture; it's pretty empty these days. The food stand mentioned also has locations in a few other states, so it's not the most unique thing going. A better stop in that area is Citygarden, a free outdoor sculpture park.
posted by limeonaire at 4:22 PM on May 5, 2013

I can't vouch for the bar in particular, but I'll second limeonaire about Union Station, it can be disappointing and most of the retailers and restaurants have moved elsewhere.

As a local who grew up a few blocks away, I have to plug the Delmar Loop. It is not too far from downtown and very close to Forest Park. Lots of restaurants (like previously mentioned Blueberry Hill), bars, little shops, and people watching opportunities. Allegedly "one of the ten greatest streets in America". Worth checking out if you get some spare time either way.

Other recomendations would be:
- Jennifer's Pharmacy in Clayton
- Sweetart
- Mi Ranchito, also near the Loop has an amazing shrimp soup that some of my friends swear by. This is where I'd go if I got to choose.
posted by rubster at 5:27 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Union Station is a ghosttown. There's no "there" there.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 6:10 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

I really like Duff's, which is very near Forest Park.
posted by Occula at 6:29 PM on May 5, 2013

If you're looking for a longer run, I don't think you can do any better than Forest Park. As others have said, it's 6 miles around its perimeter, but you can shorten or extend that by taking advantage of the nearly endless roads and trails that criss-cross the middle of the park. You could run there every day of your trip and never take the same route twice.

I've had good fish of various types at Broadway Oyster Bar. Pretty close to your hotel.

Don't eat "St. Louis Style" pizza whatever you do. Pi, which has lots of locations now, has some really tasty veggie pies.

Someone already mentioned Duff's, which is excellent, and right up the street from there is Dressel's, which has some of the best pub food you'll ever taste.

Five Bistro is my favorite restaurant in the City. Some of the stuff there is just genius.

Have fun!
posted by PhatLobley at 5:37 AM on May 6, 2013

Oh right—one night you should go up to Three Sixty at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. The view, I hear, is spectacular.
posted by limeonaire at 8:14 PM on May 6, 2013

Response by poster: This is a late-ish followup but thanks all for your advice and tips. We ran around the Arch area (not the road below as it was under water/mud, but rather just around the sidewalks a couple times), and did some laps in Forest Park as well, which was great. Had a very nice liverwurst and beet salad and frites at the Schlafly Tap Room and had an excellent, excellent meal/experience at Brasserie (would definitely go again).
posted by J0 at 2:42 PM on May 16, 2013

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