This past November the musical I tour with headed to St. Louis to perform at the Westport Playhouse for a week. Other than passing briefly through when I was 7, I had never spent time in St. Louis and wasn’t expecting much. Since we only had shows in the evenings, we had the entire day to explore and I was truly delighted by all the great things there were to experience (and eat of course!)
1. Pappy’s Smokehouse (Memphis style BBQ)
Now, now now. I’m getting a tad emotional as I write this. The meal I had at Pappy’s was some of the best BBQ I have ever laid my hands on. They have all the meats, in sandwiches, in platters whatever way you want. I got the “Pick Two,” and chose brisket and pulled pork. Just two gigantic piles of meat on tray. I also got the beans and sweet potato fries on the side. Tender is an understatement. It was all so juicy and flavorful I barely needed to put anything on it, although their Pappy’s original BBQ sauce was a phenomenal addition. The gals and I went all in on an enormous Frito pie with burnt ends. Crunchy, meaty and delicious, this Frito pie was my first and will definitely be a hard act to follow. The line gets long very quickly and they sell out fast so get there before 4!
2. Brunch at Turn
If you’re looking for fresh local and delicious food, Turn has got you covered. The restaurant itself is beautiful with tall windows that allow the sunlight to shine through the entire place. (Great lighting for those insta shots!) The walls, covered in vinyl art reflect Chef David Kirkland's former DJing days. One of my favorite items on the menu was their biscuit flight. You get to try four of their house made biscuits paired with different butters and jams! Coincidentally there is a great vinyl shop upstairs (separate from the restaurant). Definitely worth checking out after brunch! Check out Turn’s menu below.
3. Head to Westport Social
We performed our musical in The Westport Plaza which lucky for us is also home to the awesome bar/restaurant Westport Social. This huge industrial looking space has it all. Giant TV screens playing every football game, other TVs screening movies, a karaoke room upstairs and great food! Sit back, order a burger and enjoy the game. Or you know, Terminator 2.
4. Eat Toasted Ravioli
Apparently fried ravioli, referred to as “toasted ravioli,” was created in St. Louis and is still a staple on many menus. I ordered some delicious fried lobster ravioli at Westport Social and tapped out after two. Those little guys are quite hefty. I also heard a lot about an Italian area called the Hill with great restaurants. I didn’t have a chance to check it out but there is a restaurant called Mama’s on the Hill that has a spaghetti and meatball challenge. It’s 4.5 pounds of Spaghetti with Mama’s marinara, topped with a two pound meatball. I am truly sad I missed this! If you get a chance to do this challenge let me know how it went!
5. City Museum
This place is truly a work of art and and a total funhouse experience. Everything in this 600,000 square foot old shoe factory is made with recyclable materials from the city of St. Louis itself. Crawling on old chimneys, bridges, abandoned planes and beautiful multi colored tiles makes you feel like a kid again, even when you come face to face with an actual kid. Ain’t no shame! There’s a small area for a circus with extremely talented performers, a bar for adults that sell local beer you can only find in St. Louis, and my absolute favorite part, a ten story slide! Need to get to the 1st floor from the 3rd? Take a slide instead of the stairs! There’s old organs playing fun music as you duck and dive around this amazing sustainable Disneyland. Sculptor Bob Cassilly is a genius and this place is a must see.
6. Visit the Forest Park Area
This beautiful plot of land is a nonprofit conservancy that is maintained through donors and volunteers. Basically it means FREE ADMISSION! I could not believe all the amazing things we had access to without paying a dime:
A. The Science Center
Dinosaurs, King Tut, using your mental energy to move a marble across the table? This science center had so much for kids and adults of every age to explore. Their planetarium was the only thing you had to pay for, $6 and it's worth it. Instead of seats they have mats where you can lay down as they close the lights and create a night sky full of stars. It was so cozy I woke up 20 minutes later drooling.
B. The St. Louis Zoo
We walked around for two hours in awe of the beautiful lions, hippos, polar bears and other glorious creatures. FOR FREE. It was also fall and the foliage was multi colored and stunning.
Forest Park also includes both a history and art museum which I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to see but heard are lovely.
Thanks for hanging with this starving actress!