While St. Louis has gained recognition in recent years for its vibrant food scene and diverse culinary culture, there are still some mainstay dishes that are so quintessentially St. Louisian that trying them are as imperative as visiting the Gateway Arch. Here are 3 such trademark worthy dishes that should be included in any St. Louis experience.
3 Must-have St. Louis Dishes
The bearded, deep fried ravioli stuffed with meat or cheese is a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. However the story behind their creation is shrouded in mystery and myth, all versions of the story say that the dish originated at a restaurant on the Hill. Which restaurant that remains a coin toss as both Charlie Gitto’s and Mama Campisi’s claim that they created the dish.
Regardless, the legend has it that toasted ravioli was created by accident when a cook accidentally dropped ravioli in hot oil as opposed to hot water. They served the accidental dish to their customers and the reaction was so good they decided to include it on their menu. Thus toasted ravioli was born.
St. Louis Slinger
The St. Louis Slinger is classic ‘hangover’ food, best enjoyed after a night of drinking. It consists of a meat, usually a burger patty, topped with hash browns, eggs, chili, cheese, and onion. The singer has no origin story but the consensus seems to be that to get a true Slinger experience one must procure one at the Courtesy Diner at 3:00 a.m. on a Sunday, along with the multitudes who have just been released from the bars that close at 3:00 a.m.
Gooey Butter Cake
Gooey Butter Cake is the only sweet treat on our list and it comes to us again by accident. The story goes that a baker in St. Louis during the 1930s mixed up the ingredients for a classic coffee cake. Resulting in the coffee cake with sweet custard topping that is known today.
Gooey Butt Cake can be found at any St. Louis Bakery, supermarket or Cafe however the consensus seems to be that Gooey Louie is one notable establishment that Gooey Butter Cake should be tried at.
These are 3 classic dishes that originated in St. Louis and have become staples of the St. Louis culinary history; and even as St. Louis evolves into the gourmet capital and services that offer to have keto meals delivered gain popularity, the classic St. Louis dishes will always remain the favorites with locals and visitors alike. These tried and true St. Louis dishes are what unites the town and give it its culinary identity, so even though you can have your keto meals delivered, this will never replace the true St. Louis classics.
If you’re looking for a full St. Louis experience, having Toasted Ravioli on the Hill and going to Gooey Louie’s for dessert before heading out for a night of drinking at a local bar and ending up at Courtesy Diner at 3:00 a.m; sounds like the most St. Louis experience one can conceive off. Ultimately even though St. Louis is developing a reputation of being a culinary hotspot, the true St. Louis culinary experience lies in the local dishes and mainstays that make up the everyday life of every St. Louis native. Not everybody in St. Louis has been to Vicia, but they all have enjoyed a square of Gooey Butter Cake.
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