What To Eat in Missouri
The barbecue of Kansas City is legendary, rightfully so. But K.C., MO, also is home to four-star fried chicken dinners and blue-ribbon steaks. And let’s not forget St. Louis, which has its own fine barbecue customs as well as custard to die for. The Gateway City offers a multitude of unique specialties that include toasted ravioli, St. Paul sandwiches (egg foo young on white bread), and a sweet tooth’s best friend, gooey butter cake.
With a smoke-cooking heritage that derives from both deep south and Texas traditions, Kansas City is a barbecue lover's paradise. Both pork ribs and beef brisket are at their best, not to mention chopped and sliced pork, hot links, and even mutton. Sauce plays a major role in KC barbecue, adding spicy drama to mellow meat. And to the east, St. Louis has its own treasure trove of great smoke-cooked meals.
A low-rise pastry with a tender crust around the edge and a middle that is custard-soft and overwhelmingly sweet, gooey butter cake originally was simply yellow cake mixed with butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar. City bakers have taken the idea and run with it, creating such flavors as banana split, white chocolate raspberry, Amaretto, Butterfinger and funky monkey. Center cuts are dripping-moist; outside segments tend to be a balance of gooeyness and plain cake.
Also known as a Wilbur, the Slinger is a kitchen-sink breakfast unique to St. Louis. Eaten for lunch or breakfast or as a pre-dawn prophylactic for an oncoming hangover, its exact configuration varies, but a typical slinger would be two hamburger patties sided by fried potatoes, topped with a fried egg or two, completely blanketed with chili, then garnished with grated cheese and chopped raw onions.
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St. Louis' Crown Candy Kitchen serves lunch, but its main attraction is the soda fountain, where specialties include glorious from-scratch malted milk shakes.
3 meals a day are served, but breakfast stars. Local foodies know Chris's for its "Top of the Hill," a version of the outlandish kitchen-sink St. Louis slinger.
A 16-stool diner on old Route 66 in St. Louis, Carl's Drive-In is the place to belly up for elegant-oily hamburgers and foot-long hot dogs smothered with chili.
In this 1931-vintage St. Louis, Missouri diner expect to enjoy good hamburgers, chili mac, and that all-in-one breakfast dish known as a slinger.
O'Connell's is a popular Irish corner pub with excellent burgers, roast beef sandwiches, and famous house-made Mayfair dressing.
Winstead's smooshes patties of fresh, coarsely-ground beef on the cooktop, creating thin hamburgers with crisp edges. A Kansas City favorite.
A splendid French bakery in suburban St. Louis? Nathaniel Reid Bakery, an unexpected spot off Route 66, offers tasty treats for all sweet tooth needs.
A humble, take-out-only BBQ, C&K smoke-cooks the best versions of St. Louis ribs, pork steaks, chicken, and hot links, plus pig ears and snoots.
LC's is one of the great BBQ restaurants in Kansas City. The legendary burnt ends sandwich is immense. Fresh-cut French fries are first rate.