Great unassuming/holes in the wall restaurants?
By - TitShark
Frittanga on Jefferson has a hole in the wall vibe and amazing Nicaraguan food.
Right next door is Milque Toast, it's a funky little place with that same kind of feeling. Plus, deliciousness.
Is Milque Toast any good? The terrible name completely put me off it.
It's delicious! The main idea is stuff on toast but the owner does all kinds of tasty dishes on a dinner menu too. I'm not sure if the night is the same but on Mondays she used to do a charity dinner where you pay what you can, if you can, and it's always stellar food. Give it a try!
Cool, thanks for the heads-up.
I second this. My Venezuelan friend told me to try a Central American place and I went here a few months back and the portion sizes, flavor and sides are all just so good
Yep their food is excellent
I was gonna say this!!
I'm going to let you in on a secret: U-City Grill.
It faces Kingsland from Municipal Lot #4 on Delmar, on the backside of the Delmar Gardens building (where Ciceros was for many years, although i think that space is empty now).
Your staff will be curt and unfriendly: Don't take this personally. But there is just the one person working the whole tiny store. Get anything, it's all great, and it's incredulously cheap.
Inexpensive, cash only, good portion sizes, little interaction with staff. This place is amazing
Thanks, I'll have to try that. Is the old venue still up there?
I haven't been up that way since before the pandemic, actually! Google maps shows that as of May 2021, the space has been rennovated, but i don't see any business listings for that address.
Cicero's? Still empty. I was surprised to see it get a minor renovation but it still hasn't been filled.
I think they had a similar story to BreadCo across the street: The bank / market says the space is worth $X, so the landlord raises rent, but that particular business can't pay it, so they have to move out. Then the space can't find a new resident and has to rennovate completely.
Yeah, their square footage didn't help either. Never called the management company to find out, but based off what the old owners were asking for the space before they gave up and closed down it was in the neighborhood of $400k/yr just in the lease.
Ran a business plan for a brewpub/taproom there and I was in the neighborhood of a mil and a half just to get it open for six months or so? No small wonder it's still empty, especially with Aunt 'Rona running around town.
They have the best bibimbap I've ever had, and also greasy farmers omelette. I used to live in the apartments above it. Man, so good. OP, this is probably the best recommendation of the thread. Don't sleep on it.
Fire chicken and sides of seoul in overland are fantastic Korean restaurants.
Fire Chicken sooo good
I live down the road I need to try it out!!
Second Sides of Seoul. Wasn’t too impressed with Fire Chicken, but I’ll give it another go
Frank and Helen’s Pizzeria on Olive Blvd. in U City. Besides the old school pizza, they have great broasted chicken.
Mauki’s Bakery on the corner of 8th and Soulard in Soulard. Incredibly huge portions of country breakfast.
Iowa Buffet on the corner of Iowa and Winnebago off Jefferson in south St. Louis. Great dive burgers.
But not a buffet!
Frank n Helen's was the very first restaurant my grandparents took us to when we moved here in '97. First pizza in St Louis, and first time eating any variety of fried chicken. Will always have a soft spot for them, and while I haven't been since the pandemic started, there quality has always been consistent.
Get the thick crust, 18" Frank's Special (everything), covered in toppings but not overloaded. Comes cut into squares, and provel cheese is optional.
Mauki's may have the best country fried steak in STL.
Nick and Elena's in Overland. Think Imos but so much better and enough toppings to fill you up. Great pasta as well.
I know one of the managers there. Apparently it’s just Elena there now, but supposedly she’s a sweetheart
Yeah, they’re still rocking.
According to their Facebook page, they were closed earlier in September due to a possible COVID exposure but they’re re-open now.
Cool. I know she is tired of the business and labor shortage, so it's good that they're back open
Cate Zone has phenomenal Chinese food
Cate Zone is *fucked up* good. Their eggplant dish blew my mind.
Billie's Fine Foods, near Soulard, is the ultimate greasy breakfast. Riverside Diner in Carondelet is another good heart stopping type of place.
Zlatno Zito's if you want a Cevapi or Doner the size of your head for under $10. Euro Market in South County is good for this too.
Palacios and Tacqueria Durango have great tortas or tacos.
Big Jay's and Mack's Chicken are my go-to fried chicken. Arkansas Fried Chicken is good too, but you really got to go for tripe or the fried pork chop there.
Plenty of good middle eastern places: Majid and Royal Kebab are my both great (Sameem's in the Grove might be the best, but it isn't really a hole in the wall).
For me though, the classic St. Louis hole in the wall food is superman potatoes. And the best spot for that is at Omar's on the corner of Page and Goodfellow.
What in foodness is a Superman Potato?
Styrofoam takeout container filled with fried potatoes, philly meat, and everything else in the cupboard, topped with a heroic amount of cheese. Probably your best bet for calories per dollar.
I miss when Billie's Fine Foods would open at midnight on weekend nights! It was a great place for drunk food!
> Riverside Diner in Carondelet is another good heart stopping type of place.
Their chicken fried steak breakfast is *my go-to.*
Concord Grill if it's still around.
It is. Great burgers
Can confirm - the Burger Tour is alive and well.
Truc Lam on Gravois for pho and bahn mi. Cheap and delish + the interior hasn't changed since the 80's
Kim Vanh on Gravois for Chinese takeout. Interior looks like it was used in Escape From New York and never updated.
I miss the pho and bun sooooo much since I moved to the east side. I lived a half block from there for 19 years. Eaten there hundreds of times. Every time, same woman working the tables. I grew up with a guy who lives in Paris now and every time he visits family, we MUST go there for the pho. It's also insultingly cheap.
I love their chicken wonton soup, especially when I am sick. Getting it To Go and you also get a decent reusable food container.
A lot of fantastic ethnic strip mall restaurants --
* Cate Zone
* Chef Ma's
* Szechuan Cuisine
* China Bistro (inside Pan Asia grocery)
* Tai Ke
* Banh Mi So #1
* Joyful House (inside World Market on S. Grand)
* Nippon Tei
* Irie Eats
* El Toluco
* Soco's Gyros
Nippon Tei is unbelievable. There Covid hours are very limited but still amazing place
I think the only comparable sushi in St Louis is his other spot, Indo. It's better than the sushi I get at a lot of hyped-up coastal city restaurants. And always seems to be trying to improve.
Haven't been back to Chef Ma's since he died in August. Every time I drive by the place is closed. I know they said they were going to try to stay open but I'm not sure if they've accomplished that yet.
Yeah, I was so sad to hear it and haven't been since he died. Everything about him and the old place at the repurposed Taco Bell made you want him to succeed. Hoping for it to reopen but I wouldn't be surprised if it does not.
El Toluco has tortas the size of your head
If you like pho, I highly suggest Pho Long on south grand. It looks unassuming on the outside but the inside is gorgeous and the pho is amazing.
U-City Grill in the loop (I’ve heard rumors that it moved) but great Korean food.
El Ranchito Mexican food in Fairmount City, IL
Is el ranchito a hole in the wall? It’s huge and was hella busy pre COVID
I’m thinking anything that is not a chain.
Not really but their food is legit. Order takeout if you can.
Pho Long has their original location on Olive at Jeffrey Plaza in University City. Unfortunately the location is going to be bulldozed soon to make room for development.
May have been bulldozed already? I know the entire shopping center on the other side of the street is gone, and Nobu's is gone too.
It's possible. I haven't been by there in a few days but the only things left were the strip that had Pho Long and one other building.
Ah okay, it sounds you saw it more recently than I did, so you're probably right!
Hasn't been bulldozed yet. The strip is still occupied so it'll be the last thing to go. Everything else is gone - Nobu included.
De Palm Tree next door is another good one - the spicy snapper is my favorite seafood dish in STL. Not sure what he status of them is though - had changed hours and takeout only during pandemic.
All of this is great. If you like Pho Long, do yourself a solid and try Truc Lam at gravois and spring. I promise you it's even better than pho long which is the second best pho in town.
The Malt Shoppe in Fenton has deceptively amazing burgers. They are window order/outdoor seating only, and you may wait a bit for the food, but it comes out hot, juicy, and delicious. Their food prices are pretty good also.
What part of Fenton are they in?
They're right off 141, further south than where Big Willy's used to be (RIP Big Willy's).
White Barn on Chambers in North County.
Be prepared for a waaaiiiit, but the burgers are worth it. Also, make sure your tags a good, because it's right next to the cop shop
Village Bar in Des Peres has surprisingly good food. Carl's in Rock Hill for Burgers. Bahn Mi So #1 in Dutchtown for Vietnamese.
Bahn mi so is so great!!!
Shrimp Spring Rolls💞
Taco Pita Grill on Manchester. The Greek style Philly cheesesteak is incredible
Asador del Sur in Maplewood. It has a variety of South American food, including Argentine style bbq and empanadas.
La Tejana Taqueria is life changing. It's at 3149 N Lindbergh and is life changingly good while being in a shitty strip mall sharing a space with a liquor store
Goat soup. Delicious.
What do you recommend there? Went for lunch and they have a surprisingly large menu.
The Tortas are great (I like the Hawaiian and the Cuban) , the burritos are great, I mean basically I haven't had something I wouldn't order again.
Their tinga is legit. But then so are all their tacos.
Love this place so much
Yep this place is great. Also in st Charles - tradicional 636- same style food but with a very good cocktail list
Fenton bar and grill…industrial park near Bowles and 44. The best trash wings. Nice patio and has tons of specials that are always good.
THE BEST trashed wings. Can't be understated.
I live just outside Fenton and have never heard of it. I’m usually around the Bluffs so that’s probably why
Home of the Twin Towers. 😉
Alright, you can't say this and then not explain!
They used to have a couple of really tall and really attractive waitresses. But that was a while back. 10 years. Boss still likes to hire all female staff.
The FBAG trash wings always bring it
Biggie’s on Watson will strike you as a corner bar from the outside but they have amazing St. Louis comfort food. Really good pasta, pizza, sandwiches, homemade salad dressings, amazing sandwiches and more.
Rizzo’s is another one that comes to mind. They are in south county in a strip mall on Lemay Ferry. They used to be in the city when I was a kid and was a favorite of my family. I highly recommend their chicken or steak spiedini with a side of pasta and salad.
Love Biggies!!! Also, Schottzie's in South County, right by Concord Grill
Jack Nolan’s in Soulard. They have some banging burgers and fries. Reminds me of in and out burger.
It’s a small dive bar, their burgers are seriously a hidden gem. Cheap too!
Ranell's Cafe at Compton and Lafayette. Seriously good bbq. And sometimes on Friday they have a friend play jazz.
Edit:. Hunan Express on olive in Creve Coeur for Chinese. Their empress chicken is the best I have ever had.
La Bonne Bouche for authentic French and bakery. The best croissants, macarons, and cakes. Also on Olive in Creve Coeur.
Taco pita grill
Three diners. Olivette Diner in Overland. G-B Grill in Alton, IL. Sgt. Pepper’s Cafe in Edwardsville, IL, where they serve the best horseshoe sandwiches in the area.
Henke's in Florissant. Bring penicillin. Worth it.
The Drawing Board. Super good food and drinks.
I've had multiple people tell me the food is super good here
Taco pita grill on Manchester in ballwin. In an old KFC great little spot with a weird wide menu
Zito Deli near 55/255 has the best gyro and fries combo in the city. They bake their own pita bread and it’s incredible.
You go in and most customers sitting at tables don’t speak much English, and a soccer is always on the tv.
Kabul express in Lemay. Better than sameems in my opinion. Eggplant is amazing. Bread is also amazing. Super nice owner.
Really? I’m a huge sameem fan, I get pretty standard kabobs and such, but I’d love to support other Afghan places
Riverside Diner (Reilly Ave off S. Broadway in Carondelet) was my best "greasy spoon" experience in STL so far. Good pie. Asked for my eggs exactly how I like them and got exactly what I asked for (which doesn't always happen).
The Crows Nest in Maplewood , Southwest Diner
Southwest diner….so good
I love Southwest Diner
Out in St. Charles, but Tango. They make insanely delicious Argentinian empanadas. It's just a counter and a couple stools, but the owner is super cool and will talk your ear off.
If you drove by you'd never look twice. They're off the frontage road at Zumbehl and 70, behind a skeevy gas station. They're next to a convenience store right out of Clerks and not one but two different payday loan shops.
Oh man, I need to try that. I had some amazing empanadas when I was in Argentina a few years ago and nothing I’ve had in the states has come close.
I believe they (Tango) are moving to a better location. We used them for catering for my daughter’s grad party. People who aren’t familiar with Argentinian food don’t realize how freaking good it is. They were a huge hit. The spicy beef is my favorite.
Also, in Maplewood, Asador del Sur is very good, not a hole in the wall, but in a strip center. Owners are from Uruguay and Peru (I think). Super nice people.
My Argentine husband was thrilled to find authentic Argentine-style bbq. Empanadas and morcilla were great too.
They have some great cocktails too. Very few places in StL have Pisco, so I’m super thrilled when I can get a pisco sour.
Tango is open in their new location next to the Goodwill on West Clay Street within that strip mall. The owner convinced me to try their spicy chicken because the mild was my favorite, said the heat was flavorful and not one meant to make you cry. It was very flavorful but I did cry because my bloodline is weak and any kind of heat makes my bowels scream.
Tango is amazing though, both owners are very nice people and get excited when you let them know it's your first time in there. I always chat with them, if you pick anywhere to go for a meal or snack in St.Charles...go here.
Awesome, good to know. I like that he adds spicy varieties especially since Argentinians are notoriously not into spicy things. My mother-in-law thinks marina sauce is spicy.
But after trying the spice they end up liking it.
Chili Mac’s downtown by Met Square
Hit up Vinnies in Lindenwood park area! Great Gyros, good daily specials, awesome spicy potatoes! I love the Chicken Philly on Thursdays. Good AND greasy.
Seconded. Also I forget what day but one of their weekly specials is Italian beef street nachos slathered in Frank's Red Hot. Woof.
-Nudo House has really good ramen and it's in a random strip mall (well the first location is)
-Southwest Diner I think fits the category. I don't like eating breakfast anywhere else.
Burgers and Breakfast in Affton. It’s amazing.
Dude, yeah! My GF and I stumbled onto that place right as Covid was hitting.
Hits the spot for a simple, local, no-frills, not-foodie sorta place.
Hesslers’s pub in soco has great food
Gobble Stop Smokehouse at Olive & Fee Fee. Excellent chicken. Not sure if it was just my timing (they had a lot of orders for graduation parties that day + the wing shortage), but it may be one of those places that doesn't have everything on the menu available all day, everyday. Or it could've been the confluence of those circumstances the day we ordered there. Overall still very good, definitely will be going again.
Good food, kind of a mess every time you order though
Definitely amazing food if you can figure out how to get them to sell it to you.
Malinche in Ellisville. Nicest family. Amazing food. It’s been discovered and only has about 6 tables, so you want to make reservations.
Gourmet Soul on Delmar near City Museum
Lily’s Mexican on Kingshighway. Run by a lovely family and has some of the best food and margaritas in the city.
Fozzie's Sandwich Emporium. Get The Gracie sandwich, best falafel I've ever had!
Plenty of great restaurants (especially Asian) in random strip malls in St Louis County
I know the Korean place on Olive that has karaoke rooms—can’t think of the name. But, specifically, which stand out for you?
Wudon BBQ for Korean bbq out there beyond Creve Coeur (don't know the exact name of the city)
Cate Zone on Olive and 170
Private Kitchen on Olive and 170
Nippon Tei on Manchester Road
Wudon is awesome. Sucks the wait is always forever
That’s the one
You need to go to Kim Cheese. Get the spicy pork tacos. No need to thank me.
This is phenomenal. In an old jack in the box. Really awesome food.
I think it’s an old DQ, but yeah, that’s the one.
Tony's K-Food is a food counter hidden in the back of a Korean grocery store right by the Karaoke place and it's really good.
La Tejana and El Toluco are great Mexican places also in strip mall grocery stores.
Thai rice bistro comes to mind. Great Thai food in west county on Manchester in a difficult to get to strip mall.
Great place, super nice owner.
Biggies near the Hill
Come to my ice cream shop.
I have the good stuff & free games.
Monsoon on Manchester
Phoenicia in ellisville.
Albadia in St. Peter’s.
Both very good Mediterranean in simpler non flashy strip malls. Not necessarily greasy though.
You’ll also probably like 3 bay bbq which is served out the back side of a Phillips 66 off of Clayton road that largely caters to landscape and construction crews. Very good shit.
Carl's drive in. Cash only. Great burgers and shakes.
Wan-fu in desperes. Been there for 30+ years for a reason. Unreal.
Hodaks. Not a dive, but some seriously messed up good fried chicken.
I read that wrong, holes in the wall. Ah oh, just sitting in the booth when willy pops out the wall to greet. Noooo!