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Where to Find St. Louis’ Best Pizza

Where to Find St. Louis’ Best Pizza


Pizza is arguably America’s most varied and beloved dish, one whose devotees are some of the most opinionated, and yet it remains one of the most accessible foods there is. Today, there’s better pizza, more knowledge about it, and interest in it everywhere. That accessibility and loyalty makes for some tremendously spirited debate.

Considering the passion pizza inspires, responsibly declaring America’s Best Pizza can be challenging. But The Daily Meal doesn't shy away from the challenge. For our third annual pizza ranking, we again sought the nation's best pies and slices, considering more places than ever in our quest for the best. We researched and added 275 more pizzas and recruited a group of 30 more experts to weigh in than for our 2013 list. Some 700 pizza spots were considered by 78 panelists, comprising The Daily Meal’s in-house pizza experts and city editors, American chefs, restaurant critics, bloggers, writers, and pizza authorities. We compiled the data, and although there could only be one winner, there is plenty of seriously good pizza being made across America, including in St. Louis.

There are styles of pizza so particular to the area in which they originated that many outsiders will forever struggle to comprehend the reason for their existence. For New Yorkers that’s Chicago deep-dish, for late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, apparently that’s St. Louis-style. In an interview with St. Louis native and Mad Men star Jon Hamm on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, he told Hamm that Imo's was a "terrible, terrible pizza place." Hamm defended the pizza, noting that the middle slice is the best one, and saying you could "taste the Gateway Arch" and its 11 World Series titles in an Imo’s slice (square cut, of course), going so far as to say he’d take Imo’s over Kimmel’s own. If you haven’t tasted it for yourself, you’ll need to before weighing in. While its thin and unleavened crackery crust is almost like one you’ll find in a bar pie, it’s generally known to be a bit sweeter than typical bar pies, and meant to act as a vehicle for the unique cheese topping that makes St. Louis style unlike any other slice you’ll have ever tried.

Maligned (and often unknown) outside St. Louis and beloved by residents of the city, the key to St. Louis-style pizza is Provel, a white processed cheese said to be a combination of Cheddar, Swiss, and provolone invented in the city’s Italian neighborhood shortly after World War II. Just as you’ll hear differing opinions about who exactly invented Provel, the origin of the style is also debated. Imo’s is widely credited, but Farotto’s, which is said to have opened in 1956, eight years before Ed and Margie Imo opened Imo’s, has its own claim. Whichever story you choose to believe, you can’t deny one thing: Imo’s, with its more than 90 locations, has popularized a unique, love-it-or-hate-it pie you have to try at least once. Menus vary because each store is independently owned, but the Deluxe should be pretty easy to find, and is a good place to start: sausage, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, bacon, and of course, Provel.

Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant and City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.


Viviano & Sons Online Store

The St. Louis Classic! Use on thin-crust pizzas, sandwiches and salads. Ships in a 5lb block - NEXT DAY AIR or 2ND DAY AIR highly recommended, especially during warmer months of the year (April - October varies depending on where you live). Please see our Shipping/Returns page for more information on shipping methods of perishable items.

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Product Reviews

Showing reviews 1-10 of 104 | Next

Requested review

Posted by Unknown on 27th May 2021

Provell is not available in the bay area of California. I always prefer it for my pizza.

It's a St. Louis only delicacy!

Posted by Jan Young on 10th May 2021

Being from Missouri but not being back for years I sometimes crave good thin crust pizza with Provel cheese. This cheese makes it authentic and delicious!

It's the real deal STL provel made by the original creators

Posted by Jack Estes on 3rd May 2021

As an ex-pat Saint Louisian, it's hard to find a traditional STL style pizza so I turned to Viviano's to help me make my own. This is the same cheese Imo's, A'mis and the other pizzerias use back home. I just cut off a block and shred it. I buy several bottles of Imo's pizza sauce and cracker thin crusts from Schnuck's every time I get home so whenever I get a craving, I just brown some beef or sausage, grab a crust from the deep freeze and assemble. 15 minutes in the toaster over, and I'm back home in my mind. Viviano's packages the Provel very well with ice packs and it arrives at my door in Indianapolis usually the second day after I order and it's still cool. Highly recommend.

Best cheese

Posted by Janet on 28th Apr 2021

Just purchased my yearly supply. Great on salads. We use it in place of mozzarella. Freezes well. I miss going to Viviano's since we live in Colorado.

Multipurpose cheese

Posted by Unknown on 6th Apr 2021

I originally ordered Provel to make St Louis style pizza but used the entire first 5# block on everything but. It is great on or in anything you’re cooking with cheese. This is my second order and I fully plan to make pizzas this time around. The product and packaging arrived in great shape with the ice packs still cold.

Customer Service rules at Viviano & Sons

Posted by Brad Wheaton on 5th Apr 2021

I knew the cheese would be fantastic, but it was a pleasant surprise that Gina followed up to insure that I was ok with the shipping method to have the freshest product possible. When this was delivered I opened immediately started on my crust. This is going surprise many of my friends!
Thanks,
Viviano & Sons. and Daughter? (Gina)

Great Cheese

Posted by Larry Reynolds on 18th Mar 2021

Have made a couple of pizzas and really love the Provel cheese

A Welcome Taste of St. Louis

Posted by Cynthia Bodewes on 15th Mar 2021

My daughter and I are St. Louis transplants to Michigan where, sadly, there is no provel. We are delighted and grateful that we can order this yummy provel from Vivianos to put on our pizza, mac'n cheese, lasagna and anything else we can think of. Vivianos provel always arrives in great shape and makes these foodies so happy!

Love Provel Cheese

Posted by Unknown on 24th Feb 2021

Received my block of Provel cheese last week and immediately whipped up a homemade pizza and shredded up some Provel. Awesome, awesome taste!! Even with the bad weather tearing through the midwest, I only experienced a slight delay in delivery of my order. I just wish there was a cheaper shipping option, 2 day shipping costs as much as the Provel!! Even so, I'll definitely be ordering again as I just can't find Provel at any store near me!

Raised in St. Louis

Posted by Unknown on 10th Feb 2021

Found Viviano"s on line great price and fast shipping, will order again

Showing reviews 1-10 of 104 | Next

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Top 10 Dishes to Eat When You Are in St. Louis

New York may own cheesecake, Paris steak tartare, and London fish and chips, but St. Louis holds the title of world’s best when it comes to barbecue. If you’re planning to eat your way around the Gateway to the West, there are a few more dishes you need to know about if you want to eat like a local, then you’ll understand why the people of St. Louis are so proud of their hometown’s cuisine.


Best Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

Wholly Gluten-Free Pizza Dough ($7.99, Whole Foods)

Yes, this pizza dough is pricey, but it’s a great option if you’re looking for a gluten-free crust. The producer, Wholly Wholesome, makes a solid line of organic pie doughs and prepared shells—so we weren’t surprised when their gluten-free pizza dough came out on top.

Find this pizza dough in the frozen foods section of Whole Foods, and it will need to thaw first before you can bake it. Keep in mind that the texture of any gluten-free pizza dough is going to be markedly different from traditional pizza dough, due to a lack of flour. Wholly’s gluten-free dough is rather wet and sticky, but it’s easy to roll out if you place it between two sheets of parchment paper.

We baked the dough in a 400 degree oven for about 14 minutes on a pizza stone. It didn’t brown quite like the other pizza doughs we tested, but it held onto its fresh-from-the-oven texture much longer than other crusts. It had a prominent potato flavor, but this isn&apost surprising consider that the main ingredients are white rice flour and potato starch. As one taster commented, 𠇏or a gluten-free pizza crust, this is as good as it gets.”


Where can I get Provel cheese or St. Louis-style pizza around FL?

My girlfriend's parents met and fell in love in St. Louis, and she used to spend summers there as a little girl, visiting her grandparents. They all remember the times fondly, and have spoken highly of ordering from Imo's Pizza, a St. Louis-based pizza chain that has its own unique style: thin-crust crispy pizza cut into squares, with a creamy cheese blend called Provel. I think it is a processed cheese in the sense that Velveeta is, but more authentically "cheesy" with a blend of Italian white cheeses and perhaps cheddar too.

Well, for Christmas I surprised them by overnighting two Imo's Pizzas to their house, half-baked and packed in dry ice. They invited me over last night and we all enjoyed them. It isn't my favorite pizza in the world (I prefer good NY or Chicago pizza), but I thought it was a nice change from the ordinary, and they were rapturous. It is waaaaaaay too expensive to treat them like that too often, so I was wondering if there was any local source (Orlando-based ideally, or anywhere in Florida) to get St. Louis-style pizza like Imo's, or just to find the Provel cheese. If so, it would be most appreciated, and it would cement my title of Best Boyfriend Ever.


Where to Find St. Louis’ Best Pizza - Recipes

We stumbled onto this place by accident and are so glad we did. The staff are friendly, food amazing and inexpensive. We were offered samples of the house salads with a variety of dressings free, the food is so tasty, we rolled out after eating so much. Highly recommend

8 - 12 of 14 reviews

The fact that this was once a Talaynas means that this restaurant is held to a high standard. they do not hold up to the standard by any means. The only thing they get right is the house dressing recipe which is excellent. The service is some of the worst i have ever experienced anywhere. the bathroom are some of the dirtiest in the city which is usually a link to how clean the kitchen is. They could do so much better but they do the least possible. pizza is still pretty good but o the greasy side, the deep dish takes so so so long to come out and is usually the wrong toppings. the staff has memory/hygene issues.

We ate there about a year ago and was extremely disappointed. Food took forever and really just did not taste good. Well fast forward one year and we decided to give them another chance. Again disappointed. This time we just order an appetizer sampler platter, 3 choices $10.99. Sounds simple huh? Simple yes, taste horrible. We go chicken strips, potato skins and toasted ravioli. All staples of any St. Louis restaurant. Another disappointment, Only one dipping sauce which is what upset me the most. Order these individually and you get separate dipping sauces. Then there was the quality of food, just low! Please do not waste your time or your money going here. If you want Italian go to the numerous other Italian restaurants in St. Louis. If you just want something to eat, there are many delicious restaurants in the area. Save your time and your money. Sorry St. Louis Italian.

We have eaten at this restaurant several times. The food was always fresh and flavorful. The service was prompt and the servers were pleasant. We've tried the pastas and the pizzas, and we thought they were very good.

Husband and I eat out at Italian restaurants a lot. He got their regular ravioli and said he could tell the raviolis' were out of a bag (ravioli should be homemade by Italian restaurants), and their meat sauce on it was very harsh tasting, like straight tomato paste out of a can, with some meat added.

I got toasted raviolis which were good, but didn't come with sauce for some reason and I was half way through with them when I finally got that. Their house salad and dressing was good.

The inside restaurant felt dirty. I had to brush crumbs off the seat before I could sit. Yuk. Service was very slow that night and most booths were empty. And it appeared they had plenty of staff working - so not sure why the service was crazy slow.

A nearby patron was very upset with their meal and I overheard them talking with the Manager about it. We talked with the waitress about the disappointment with the ravioli and ended up getting 1/2 off the toasted ravioli order (which was already 1/2 of the regular ravioli cost).

We're done with them and I do not recommend them to anyone.

St. Louis Italian Restaurant & Pizza Co.
310 DeBaliviere Ave, St. Louis, MO


The Best Restaurants in St. Louis

Find great pizza, brunch, barbecue and more in this underrated, overly delicious city.

Related To:

Savor St. Louis

Once the fourth-largest city in the U.S. and a major port on the Mississippi River, St. Louis has long been a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, and that stands true today. Thanks to the city&rsquos incredibly diverse population, you can find a New Mexican brunch spot, an Israeli restaurant in an old gas station, an award-winning fine-dining establishment and much more. Whatever you&rsquore looking for, chances are that it&rsquos somewhere to be found in St. Louis (and this is especially true if you&rsquore into beer and meat). Check out this city guide for the best of what to eat and drink in this seriously underrated food city.

Contemporary Asian: Indo

Indo combines contemporary Thai and Japanese cuisine at a mind-blowing level. The signature Isaan Hamachi is a prime example of this &mdash raw Hamachi topped with a Thai kosho, candied garlic, coconut naam pla, shallots, and chili oil. The result is a dish unlike anything you&rsquove had before. The fall-off-the-bone tender fried lamb ribs with a fish sauce caramel are a wonderful, sticky masterpiece you won&rsquot want to share the short rib curry with labneh and roti. Your best bet is to go for the chef&rsquos omakase tasting menu at the bar&mdashyou never know what you&rsquore going to get, but you know it&rsquos going to be incredible.

Brunch: Southwest Diner

Imagine that a diner from New Mexico circa 1955 was magically transported to current-day St. Louis and you have Southwest Diner. It feels like a time warp in the best way possible. The interior has a teal, red and blue motif, decorated with all sorts of cacti and New Mexican flair. It&rsquos the food that keeps people lining up day after day. In fact, the lines can be so long that the restaurant purchased a school bus that eager diners wait in (on some days there&rsquos a cocktail bar in it!). It&rsquos hard to go wrong ordering anything on the menu, but classics include Jonathan&rsquos Famous Fiery Scramble, the red chile-braised Carne Adovada, and the St. Louis-meets-New Mexico Southwest Slinger: two burger patties, home fries and cheese, topped with two eggs and red or green enchilada sauce. Don&rsquot expect to be doing anything productive after breakfast here.

BBQ: Salt + Smoke

Picking your favorite barbecue in St. Louis is like trying to pick a favorite child: It&rsquos (nearly) impossible. Salt + Smoke is a relative newcomer to the scene, but it&rsquos managed to distinguish itself from the rest by crafting a menu that has something for everyone. The team behind the restaurant come from the fine-dining side of the restaurant world, and they&rsquove used that to their advantage. Classic barbecue platters are available, but so are more innovative dishes like the brisket sandwich with burnt-end mayo and tobacco onions, or the fried housemade pickles with flax seed mayo. Salt + Smoke&rsquos brisket may very well be the best in town, and the pro move is to ask for the fatty cut &mdash or, even better, burnt ends if they have them.

Burger: Mac's Local Eats

Chris McKenzie has long been known in the St. Louis food community for his dedication to pushing people to eat locally, thanks to his meat shares and CSAs. When he announced he would be opening a burger joint inside a local bar, Tamm Avenue Grill, diners didn&rsquot know what to expect &mdash but the industry pros did. The result, Mac's Local Eats, is quite likely the best burger in all of St. Louis. McKenzie&rsquos burger has not only all the marks of the best diner burgers, like the thin patty being cooked until ultra-crispy, but also a certain je ne sais quoi that comes from dry-aging. That&rsquos right, this is a dry-aged diner burger, made from the best cuts of the animal. Simply put, it&rsquos the best diner burger ever made.

Icon: Sidney Street Café

Looking to impress a visitor? Sidney Street Café, winner of 2017&rsquos Best Chef: Midwest James Beard Award, is the place you should go. Chef/owner Kevin Nashan and his team have been pushing the boundaries of contemporary American cuisine for over a decade. Try the smoked sweetbreads with pear chutney, Indian fry bread and herb salad to start, followed by the rabbit porchetta with pickled ramp jus, then the deconstructed carrot cake to finish. If you&rsquove never had cheesecake puree with carrot-passionfruit sorbet, you haven&rsquot really lived.

Carb Heaven: Union Loafers

Union Loafers is a St. Louis staple in the making. Open for just over two years, this place has made a name for itself as not only the best bread bakery in town, by far, but also one of the finest sandwich shops west of the Mississippi and the home of the kings of pizza. If gluten is involved, Loafers is where you want to be. The bread &mdash sought after by diners and by St. Louis&rsquo best restaurants alike &mdash is pure perfection. Go for a loaf of their famous Light & Mild, their enormous Bavarian pretzel or, if you&rsquore looking for something more casual, their cheesy bread. The 18-inch New York-style pizzas are what will change your life, though. The surprise favorite is the spinach (that&rsquos healthy, right?), a hearty pie topped with bacon lardons, garlic and lemon. Don&rsquot forget to order extra buttermilk sauce to dip the crust in.

Modern Italian: Sardella

Besides being arguably the most beautiful restaurant in the city, Sardella also has one of the most interesting menus, with most dishes taking inspiration from Italy and giving them a twist. You need the smoked foie gras torchon with pepperoni spice in your life. If you&rsquore lucky, they&rsquoll have the cresc&rsquotajat available: a polenta-infused housemade pasta with pesto Genovese, prosciutto crumble, and roasted spring onion. Add to that a fantastic bar program and one of the best brunches in St. Louis (hello, eggs benedict raviolo!), and you have a can&rsquot-miss restaurant right in the center of town.

Thai: Fork & Stix

Before 2012, the idea of good Thai food in St. Louis was limited to pad thai with some chicken satay on the side. Then came Fork & Stix, a small restaurant specializing in the cuisine of northern Thailand, and everything changed. Diners were introduced to the likes of sai oua, a pork sausage packed with Thai herbs, served with sticky rice and spicy naam prik nuum. Hung lay curry, filled with sweet and gingery braised pork belly and shoulder, became a wintertime favorite. But no dish has taken St. Louis quite like Chiang Mai&rsquos signature dish, khao soi. This egg noodle curry soup is almost indescribable &mdash think about the best curry you&rsquove had, but better. That&rsquos what it is. On any given day, you&rsquoll find the restaurant packed with everyone from college students to award-winning chefs, for good reason.

Cocktail Bar: Planter's House

Ted Kilgore is St. Louis&rsquo best-kept secret. He is unarguably the person who brought the craft cocktail movement to St. Louis over a decade ago, and he&rsquos shown no signs of slowing down. From the day that Planter&rsquos House opened, it has been the city&rsquos top cocktail bar, with a mix of classics and inventive creations. It even has a menu of its own "new classics," drinks that have been so popular that there&rsquos no reason for them to go away. It does have a full food menu, as well, to help soak up some of what you&rsquore throwing down. Insider&rsquos tip: The main bar area is great, but to truly experience Planter&rsquos House, slip upstairs to the intimate, 1950s-style Bullock Room.

French: Brasserie

French fare has the reputation for being stuffy and heavy, but that&rsquos not the case at Brasserie. The food pays homage to, well, the French brasserie &mdash a relaxed neighborhood restaurant where one can have a simple meal with friends and family. Whether you decide to take a seat at the bar and enjoy a cocktail with some gougeres and a Brasserie Burger or head into the main dining room for a romantic dinner, you&rsquoll feel right at home. Larger plates include French classics like coq au vin, steak frites and possibly the best roasted chicken you&rsquoll ever have, served over bread and mushrooms, which are perfect for soaking up the buttery jus. Make sure to save room for the decadent desserts, like the profiteroles du jour or the classic floating island.

Late-Night Spot: Taste Bar

How lucky is St. Louis to have one of its best restaurants and cocktail bars also be the place to go for a late-night rendezvous? Taste feels like an old-school speakeasy, complete with Edison bulbs, marble counters and dark wood, but the food and drinks it&rsquos serving up are anything but old-school. The cocktail menu, which changes seasonally, is eight pages long, housing everything from the classics to punch bowls to a section simply called "resurrection." The food menu changes daily, offering somewhere around 15 small plates and snacks, two larger entrees and three desserts. The confit chicken wings drizzled with soy caramel shouldn&rsquot be missed, nor should the seasonal bruschetta option. It&rsquos a 1 a.m. home run.

Expand Your Mind: Savage

Savage is an experience different from any other restaurant in St. Louis. The intimate 18-seat restaurant forms a "U" around chef/owner Logan Ely, and with a spotlight over the kitchen island, it&rsquos almost as much of a show as it is a meal. The restaurant (which, by the way, was designed and built by Ely) offers very reasonably priced six and twelve course tasting menus, but don&rsquot worry about being stuck in a 3 hour, stuffy dinner. The feeling is casual, like you just happen to be eating in Ely&rsquos house and he&rsquos making a wildly inventive hyper-seasonal 12-course meal. If you&rsquore looking for a restaurant pushing boundaries, this is it.

Tasting Menu: Vicia

When Blue Hill at Stone Barns chef Michael Gallina announced he was leaving New York to return to St. Louis, his hometown went wild. A chef of that caliber opening a new restaurant in town sent the hype train into overdrive, and he did not disappoint &mdash Vicia opened and went straight into the upper echelon of St. Louis dining. Lunch there is always a great decision, but it&rsquos the dinner service tasting menu that takes things to the next level. Expect over 15 dishes, ranging from incredible local pork to vegetable-forward fare like you&rsquove never had before, all paired with wine or beverages from Vicia&rsquos botanical bar program. Try getting there a little early so you can enjoy a drink on their enclosed patio while you watch the chefs cook in the restaurant&rsquos enormous, custom-made hearth.

Seafood: Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.

Eating seafood in a landlocked Midwestern state isn&rsquot always the smartest idea, but at Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co., you&rsquore in good hands. This is the sister restaurant to the James Beard Award-winning Sidney Street Cafe, after all. With fresh catches flown in daily, Peacemaker serves up a menu of coastal classics including lobster rolls, crab boils and New Orleans-style po&rsquo boys. There&rsquos no better place in town for oysters, both in quality and variety, and the fish crudo of the day will never let you down. Combine all that with housemade soft serve and boozy slushies and you&rsquove got the perfect spot to enjoy a casual night out &mdash or lunch, if you&rsquore feeling wild.

Taiwanese: Tai Ke

The University City neighborhood in St. Louis has long been the city&rsquos unofficial Chinatown, but most restaurants in the area have avoided pushing any boundaries &mdash that is, until Tai Ke arrived. Rather than focus on American-Chinese food like so many other restaurants, they stay true to their roots: classic dishes from Taiwan, including street snacks. There&rsquos nowhere else in town serving clay pots full of the fragrant Three Cup Chicken, a dish that&rsquos both familiar and completely foreign. The gua bao pork buns will make even the worst day better. The best snack of all, though? Taiwanese hot sausages set inside sticky-rice buns, drizzled with a house sauce and showered with scallions.

Straight Outta the Balkans: Balkan Treat Box

Did you know the largest Bosnian population outside of Europe is in St. Louis? Surprise! You could head to "Little Bosnia," better known as Bevo Mill, or you could track down the Balkan Treat Box food truck. Owners Loryn and Edo Nalic combine their Balkan background with their experience working at some of St. Louis&rsquo best restaurants to create unforgettable dishes. The flavor is unreal&mdashalmost all the dishes are cooked using the truck&rsquos built-in wood-fired grill and oven. Pillowy somun bread is baked fresh minced beef sausages called cevapi are grilled to order and served with a spicy red pepper relish. The real star, though, is the Turkish-inspired pide, a grilled flatbread stuffed with meat or cheese it&rsquos like the missing link between a pizza and a calzone.

Cheap Eats: Carl's Drive In

Since 1959, Carl&rsquos Drive-In has been the spot for a quick burger, fries and a tall, cold glass of root beer, and the best part is that prices haven&rsquot changed much since then! Seriously, where else can you get a triple cheeseburger for under $6? Granted, Carl&rsquos is home to the thinnest, crispiest patties in the world, but it&rsquos still quite the deal. Add to that a basket of onion rings for $1.75 and a 24-ounce mug of root beer for another $1.75 and you&rsquove got yourself a meal that will keep you full for a day. If your time in St. Louis is limited, just swing by for a single patty and small root beer (made in-house), then head on to your real lunch. You&rsquoll have room.

Israeli: Olio

It&rsquos hard not to feel cool inside Olio. Built inside a renovated 1930s gas station, this modern Israeli restaurant has both old-school charm and a contemporary edge, thanks to the design and decor. The food, too, alternates between modern and rustic &mdash you can get a bowl of hummus with pita bread made in-house, or you can be a little fancier and go for something like the smoked trout tartine. What makes the restaurant perfect is that it&rsquos great for any time of day, whether it&rsquos a quick lunch, happy hour and snacks, or a romantic dinner out. Seriously, Olio&rsquos bar program (especially the daily "spritz hour") is not to be missed.

Parisian Pastries: La Patisserie Chouquette

It only makes sense that city with French roots should have French pastry shops. The folks at La Patisserie Chouquette serve up a mix of French classics, like the pain au chocolat and canele, plus mountains of their own French-inspired creations. Their Darkness croissant, made with chocolate butter and chocolate dough, and filled with chocolate, is famous nationwide. Their macaron offerings range from the delicate Cream Earl Grey to wild flavors like Horchata Rum, Bey (Lemonade) and Funnel Cake. If you&rsquore looking for something more substantial, their custom cakes are literally edible art. You will almost certainly leave with more than you intended to buy, but hey, you only live once.

Foodie Haven: Sidney Street Cafe

Looking to impress a visiting foodie? Sidney Street Cafe, winner of 2017's Best Chef: Midwest James Beard Award, is the place you need to lock down a table at. Chef-Owner Kevin Nashan and his team have been pushing the boundaries of contemporary American cuisine for over a decade. The less adventurous can opt for a classic like the filet bearnaise stuffed with lobster or the steak encrusted in wasabi, but where's the fun in that? Start with the lightly grilled Gulf Coast shrimp served with tomato salad, sliced grapes, pickled onion and white gazpacho, follow it with the rabbit porchetta with mustard jus and then finish with the deconstructed carrot cake. If you've never had cheesecake puree with carrot-passionfruit sorbet, you haven't really lived.

Casual-Chic: Louie

Every once in a while, a restaurant comes along that is perfect. For St. Louis, that restaurant is Louie. The team behind it has created a space that is modern yet classic, inventive but traditional, formal and informal all at once. Stop by with friends for a pizza and beer or celebrate a special occasion with great wine and a multi-course feast. Louie believes that simplicity is key, but don&rsquot let the barebones menu trick you: the food here is incredible. The roast chicken is the best roast chicken you will have in your entire life. Seriously. Get the chicken. And the prosciutto. And some pasta.

Bakery: Nathaniel Reid Bakery

If St. Louis had a Happiness Index like Bhutan, it would have seen a massive increase in pure joy when Nathaniel Reid Bakery opened in 2016. It&rsquos a guarantee you will not leave with just one thing. The Kouign Amann, a traditional, buttery pastry from Brittany, will make you wonder why you&rsquove been eating normal croissants all these years. His sandwiches are addictive. But it&rsquos their entremets (a.k.a. fancy cakes) that will really wow you. They look as good as they taste, and that&rsquos saying something. The chocolate, hazelnut and vanilla creme bruleé Sambava is a classic, but if the pistachio and berry Jarmo is in the case, you are required to get it.

Sandwiches: Gioia's

For over a century, the staff at Gioia&rsquos has been slinging sandwiches in St. Louis&rsquo historic Italian neighborhood, The Hill. They&rsquore known for their signature hot salami, a terrine-like mix of pork shoulder and head, but their sandwich menu goes much deeper. Most options stick to the Italian genre, with things like coppa, meatballs and various salumi, but chicken, turkey and roast beef make appearances too. Order like a pro and go off the not-so-secret menu. You&rsquoll be thanking us when you&rsquore scarfing down your Hill Topper or Porknado 2.0. Most importantly, you can get any sandwich on garlic cheese bread &mdash which you obviously should do.

Meat and Three: Grace

St. Louis isn&rsquot part of the South, but it&rsquos close enough. Grace pairs the simplicity of a "meat and three" joint with the talents of James Beard Award-nominated chef Rick Lewis. That means you&rsquore not getting boring fried chicken and mac 'n' cheese that&rsquos been sitting in a pan all day you&rsquore getting the best fried chicken in St. Louis, made to order. Cornmeal fried catfish, St. Louis-style ribs, and a sweet-tea-brined turkey leg are some mains that are not to be missed, but good luck picking a side. Cracklin' cornbread or sweet-and-sour greens? Chicken livers or fried green tomatoes? Picking might feel impossible, but you really can&rsquot go wrong. Don&rsquot forget to save room for the banana pudding.


Missouri: “The Show Me State”

The Candle Fusion Studio: St. Louis has long been one of our favorite cities. It’s brimming with history, fun and lively neighborhoods, and a strong appreciation and support of hardworking small businesses …

One St. Louis neighborhood not to miss is the Central West End. Just minutes west of downtown, the CWE is where you’ll find scores of shops, historic architecture, and establishments for food and drink. On McPherson Avenue a few blocks south of Delmar Boulevard is a festive, hands on small business we’re excited to introduce to State Gifts USA readers … The Candle Fusion Studio.

Established in 2016, The Candle Fusion Studio is housed in bright, vibrant surroundings that heighten your sense of creativity. The studio celebrates the art of candle making and encourages guests to create their very own signature scent …

The studio’s on site “candle bar” is always available for guests to pour candles, which are clean burning and soy based. And in addition to candles, you can create other home fragrance products, like room sprays, body sprays, and spa salts. Choose from 100 different scents to suit your individual preferences, or to create a special, personal gift for anyone on your gift list …

Choose From 100+ Premium Fragrances

Also not to be missed are the Studio’s Mediterranean spa salts and wax tarts. Add a few spoon fulls of the spa salts to your bath for a soothing, relaxing experience. Freshen any living space with their unique wax tarts, which fragrance your home for up to 8 hours without the worry of an open flame …

The Candle Fusion Studio also offers private labeling and corporate branding / client appreciation opportunities – click through to their website to discover all they offer … and if you live in the greater St. Louis area, stop in for a visit and find the perfect personal gift.

Hendrickson’s Gift Box

On a recent trip to south central Illinois, we visited a specialty grocer and brought home a variety of products from surrounding states to try. We found a real gem in Hendrickson’s Original, a unique salad dressing and marinade that’s made in St. Charles, MO.

Family owned and operated since 1931, Hendrickson’s flagship product is their Henrickson’s Original, a sweet vinegar and olive oil salad dressing that’s equally adept as a marinade and seasoning. Made with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and a special blend of spices, it’s a dressing with a one of a kind sweet, healthy flavor profile …

Use it on a fresh garden salad, or experiment a little. We marinaded a few chicken breasts with Hendrickson’s and loved the flavoring and tenderizing effect. Pour it over sliced tomatoes for a healthy treat or add it to vegetable medleys for a delicious finishing touch …

Hendrickson’s also produces a Classic Italian Dressing and if you live locally, you’ll find a Store Locater tab at their website. Single serve pouches are available too!

Check out the Hendrickson’s Gift Box (shown) – a great gift for the chef on your list or anyone who appreciates healthy and fresh!

Smokehouse Barbecue: Smokehouse BBQ has been a Show Me State tradition for almost 30 years … they’re fun, casual spots located in four Missouri locations – Kansas City, Gladstone, Columbia, and Independence. Best known for their Rib Platters, Smokehouse is also a destination for brisket, burnt ends, pit beans, cheesy corn, and sweet potato fries. They also serve a very underrated cheeseburger! Bottom line, you won’t go hungry here …

Somkehouse BBQ is perfect whether you want to dine in, carry out, or have it delivered across the country. They’re one of the few KC style BBQ joints with a thriving online ordering system that allows you to experience great BBQ no matter where you live.

Smokehouse offers over a dozen different packages to allow you and your group to get your KC BBQ fix. We like the Holiday Feast package, which includes just about everything – ribs, brisket, pit beans, burnt ends, cheesy corn, and sauce. It feeds about 10 people and makes a great gift!

Go to their site and click on the “Gifts” icon … you’ll see all the packages to choose from. You can’t go wrong with Kansas City barbecue!

Best of the Best From Missouri Cookbook: Looking for an economical gift for someone special from The Show Me State? Consider this compilation of Missouri’s best cookbooks put together by the good folks at Quail Ridge Press …

This soft cover beautifully photographed volume contains over 400 Missouri-centric recipes on almost 300 pages. The recipes are compiled from cookbooks old and new and include traditional dishes plus new takes on old specialties. A few of the state favorites you’ll find on the pages are barbecue specialties, Southwest Missouri Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins, Ozark Pudding, and more …

A great gift idea for anyone who holds a warm feeling for Missouri, it’s available for order directly at the Quail Ridge Press website. This company has been doing a great job putting together cookbooks profiling each of the 50 state’s best known recipes.

Provel Cheese: If you’re a pizza fan, you probably already know about the various styles from across the country. There’s Chicago style, New York style, and so on. When I worked for my dad in St. Louis many years ago, I was introduced to St. Louis style pizza and the key ingredient that makes this style special …

It’s provel cheese, which isn’t necessarily unique to St. Louis although it’s not easy to find. Provel is a blend of provolone, swiss, and cheddar cheese. It has a low melting point and an unbelievably smooth and creamy texture. It’s used on pizza here and on many other dishes calling for cheese because it’s so good.

We particularly love provel cheese grated into salads. It brings new life to deli sandwiches and casseroles too! An iconic company on Shaw Boulevard on The Hill ships provel across the country to anyone longing for this unique cheese. They’re J. Viviano & Sons, and at their website you’ll see the wide variety of sauces, condiments, and cheese they sell. They’ve been around since 1949 and definitely know what they’re doing …

The provel is packed in 5 pound packages and if you’ve never tried it, believe me it won’t last long! Try making your own pizza with this stuff and you’ll be a fan for life …

Millie’s Barbecue Sauce: A well deserved shout out here to America’s farmers markets – they’re where you’ll find not only fresh farm produce but also locally made products that might otherwise fly under the radar. On a recent visit to St. Louis, we became acquainted with one such product, courtesy of the iconic Soulard Market just a skip and a jump south from the downtown core …

Locally owned by Craig & Toni Brown, Millie’s Barbecue Sauce is based on the sauce created by Craig’s mother Millie. The couple developed the company from the ground up and are now partnering with a local firm to bottle and help keep up with demand …

This small operation makes two varieties of sauces – Sweet & Tasty and Sweet & Spicy. They’re both excellent! A perfect balance of sweet and tangy, the Sweet & Spicy adds a pleasing jolt of heat for those who like a little kick. As good as these sauces are on pork sandwiches, do yourself a favor and mix a spoonful or two into potato salad! We admit we did it by accident at first but the results are something special!

Help out a small St. Louis business who are making some really good sauces – if you don’t live in the area you can buy directly from the Web Store located at their site. Show Me the good sauce!

Two Men & A Garden: This small company was formed when two families decided to combine their backyard gardens and share the tasks of planting, weeding, tilling soil, and enjoying the seasonal bounty!

It’s Two Men & A Garden, located in the St. Louis suburb of Fenton. The combined gardens began producing so many cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers that a business idea was hatched – make salsa and pickle the cucumbers and sell the products locally. The idea was a big success, and now this small business is partnering with local farms to help keep up with demand …

They make a line of ultra fresh salsa, in mild, medium, and hot varieties. Another variety is their unique Strawberry Salsa, using locally grown strawberries, along with Peach and Hot Mango flavors …

As for the cucumbers, they’re made into Dills, Spicy Dills, and Sweet Pickles, all of which are now available directly at the Two Men & A Garden website. They’ve also begun offering a couple of nice gift packages you can mix and match between your favorite pickles and salsa!

To learn more, click through to their site where you can see all their products and order …

Sandhill Farm: Everyone seems to have a favorite condiment, and ours is mustard. It’s fair to say we’re always on the lookout for great tasting mustard and we love introducing them to you here on State Gifts USA!

Our latest mustard discovery is produced by Sandhill Farm, an income sharing egalitarian community in rural Scotland County in the northeast corner of the state. The community practices organic and sustainable farming and market their products locally in Missouri in addition to their online store …

Sandhill Farm is best known for their sorghum, a natural sweetener that’s used as a table syrup or in baking and sauces. You can purchase it at their site along with their mustard, which we found in a store in Columbia. It’s a spicy natural brown mustard, made with their own sorghum, vinegar, and garlic grown on the farm. Excellent as a dipping mustard, it’s also really good on deli sandwiches!

Try it for yourself and see. The Farm has a list of retail outlets in Missouri and farther afield on their website, or just order it online. Great stuff from Northeast Missouri!

5 Gen Salsa: One of our favorite pastimes when traveling is poking around local grocery stores. Not only will you find some terrific local products but you’ll also meet some really nice people! On a drive through the heart of Missouri not long ago, we discovered 5 Gen Salsa at a Hy-Vee store in Jefferson City …

We should’ve bought more than just one jar! This happens to us a lot, but we were nonetheless pleased to learn about and sample this fantastic salsa. We don’t know a whole lot about the company, but it’s called 5 Gen because the recipe has been passed down through five generations – and we can understand why!

We bought their Original Sweet & Spicy variety (they also make a Chunky style). This stuff is so good you can use it as a condiment instead of strictly a salsa – we spooned it on a burger instead of ketchup and the next morning it went on our scrambled eggs. Needless to say it also works well on tacos or any Mexican style dish.

The company also makes a Bloody Mary Mix, and just introduced a gourmet ketchup based on their original family recipe. All the products are available directly at their website. Very flavorful and direct from the heart of The Show Me State!

Driver’s Foods: Better known in the Jeffeson City and mid Missouri area as Driver’s BBQ, this specialty foods company is family owned and overseen by Annette Driver. Her father Clarence was a well known Missouri Barbecue Champion and opened the family’s first restaurant in 1989.

Annette has taken the company to a new level, including marketing the famous Driver’s BBQ Sauce. The sauce is available in Original and Spicy varieties, and if you like good barbecue you’ll love this sauce! We came across it recently on a trip through Missouri and used it on our pulled pork and as a dipping sauce with roasted potatoes. With a touch of sweet and deep, rich flavors, this stuff is the real deal!

Driver’s BBQ Sauce is legendary in The Show Me State and makes a perfect gift for anyone who loves Missouri. They also make Steak & Condiments Sauces and their Dry Rub, all of which you can order from their website.

Discover just what we’re talking about – bring some Driver’s into your home!

Try A Genuine St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

If you’re not familiar, let’s start off by saying this is a distinctly St. Louis thing. We’ve not seen this style of cake anywhere else in the United States. Basically, St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake features a dense yellow cake like crust which is then filled with a mixture of eggs, cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. It’s available in dozens of different flavors like Traditional, Pumpkin, Chocolate, Lemon, Key Lime, Chocolate Raspberry, and countless more …

This iconic dessert treat has finally expanded outside the environs of The Lou, courtesy of the fine folks at Park Avenue Coffee (linked above). Not only to they bake these cakes daily and sell them at their Lafayette Square and other locations, but they’ll also ship them to those longing for their distinct flavor. They’ve been featured on The Food Network and won the competition for the best Gooey Butter Cake in the city …

They also sell mixes to make the Gooey Butter Cake at home, and if you like to bake, the recipe to create your own is pretty simple. Click through to their site, and under the Shop tab you’ll see all the varieties you can order. Take our word for it – it’s one of the best cakes you’ll ever have!

Pappy’s Smokehouse: Whenever we travel, we’re always on the lookout for great barbecue. No matter where you visit in the U.S., you’re probably not too far from some good Q. On a recent trip through St. Louis, we discovered a really good BBQ joint a couple miles west of downtown on Olive Street near the St. Louis University campus. It’s called Pappy’s Smokehouse and the locals have discovered it – the restaurant sells out almost every day!

Pappy’s calls themselves Memphis style barbecue but what struck us is how they smoke their meats. Instead of the traditional hickory wood, they use softer apple and cherry wood for the slow smoking process. Hickory can sometimes be harsh and smoking over apple and cherry imparts a faint fruity flavor which we enjoy. In our estimation they’re perfect for the process of slow smoking pork!

We also really enjoyed Pappy’s barbecue sauces, all of which you can buy online at their website. Pappy’s Original, shown, is indeed a Memphis style sauce with a peppery kick. Holly’s Hot is as it sounds – a hot bbq sauce that’ll wake up your taste buds and Jane’s Sweet is a thicker Kansas City style sauce with a sweet flavor we loved.

Next time through St. Louis, stop here for lunch. You won’t go wrong and the place is easy to find – if you happen to not see it, you’ll probably catch a whiff of slow smoked barbecue driving by! Otherwise, visit Pappy’s Smokehouse online to order any of their sauces and cool logo items …

Ozark Pickle Pantry: There’s nothing quite like a fresh, crunchy pickle, and that’s what you’ll get from the folks at Ozark Pickle Pantry based in the Lake of the Ozarks. This small company makes four varieties of specialty pickles that are renowned in this area and now shipped nationwide …

Their best selling variety is Ozark Sweet Tangy Dills, which start with a burst of sweet flavor. Then, you’ll get the traditional dill taste, followed by a tangy kick at the end. The company also makes a hot version of their Tangy Dills which won a first place award at the national Fiery Food Challenge.

Ozark Bread & Butter and their new Pickles & Peppers round out the product line. The Bread & Butter Pickles have a nice sweet flavor – perfect for livening up your lunch time sandwich!

Enjoy the fresh taste of Missouri! You can order directly at the Ozark Pickle Pantry website …

Old Vienna Red Hot Riplets: A real St. Louis institution, Old Vienna Red Hot Riplets are barbecue flavored potato chips made with hot sauce. In the summer of 1980 when I worked at my dad’s meat packing plant in St. Louis, I remember eating small bags of Riplets at lunch with a co-worker who loved them …

The company is based in Fenton and has been around in one incarnation or another since the mid 1930’s. They’re most famous for the original Red Hot Riplets, but they also make a Cheesy version, hot corn chips, cheese and hot cheese popcorn, and several other flavored chips. If you’re dealing with another ho hum sandwich for lunch, spice it up with some Old Vienna snacks!

At the Old Vienna online store, you can order any of their snacks in cases of various sized bags. Believe me, it will be hard to eat just one small bag, they’re really good!

A great gift for someone with a soft spot for St. Louis and you can be certain anyone born and raised there will know about Red Hot Riplets!

Hensley’s Honey Farm: Located in the St. Louis area, Hensley’s Honey Farm is a great source of local raw honey for local residents as well as those (like us!) who enjoy tasting honey produced in different parts of the country …

As you probably know and as we emphasize here on State Gifts USA, not all honey is the same. Local honey that is raw and unpasteurized offers significant health benefits, including a natural energy boost, more restful sleep, relief from allergy symptoms, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and many more. In contrast, the mass produced grocery store bought honey has been overly filtered and pasteurized which removes all of the helpful ingredients (like pollen) found in natural honey …

Hensley’s markets their honey as Missouri Honey and also makes honey related products like skin and lip balm, milk and honey soap, and of course their natural honey. The honey is found in many stores in the St. Louis metro area and also online at their website in various sized containers. See their site for more information and to order …

And did you know … honey is the only food product created by insects eaten by man??

Wicked Cactus Gourmet Sauces

Last time we were in The Show Me State, we discovered a St. Louis area company creating a specialty line of gourmet hot sauces. They’re known as Wicked Cactus Sauce, and if you like trying different hot sauces, make it a point to check them out!

We were fortunate enough to try two of their line of nine hot sauces, all of which are profiled and sold at the Wicked Cactus Sauce website. The first we tried is called Cobra Venom, a great addition to stir fry dishes that’s not as dangerous as the name implies. A mix of Thai peppers, lime juice, coriander, and garlic gives Cobra Venom a moderate heat that adds a bit of zip to rice based meals. It’s also great with Mexican dishes!

The second sauce we tried is Viva La Raza, a milder green sauce made from tomatillos, serranos, and jalapenos. Try this one with tacos or on pita bread sandwiches … also adds an interesting dimension to chicken salad! And for those of you who like your sauces hot, Wicked Cactus has you covered. At their site, you’ll find descriptions of all their currently available sauces, including a heat level rating of one to five. “Show Me” the hot sauce!

Click through to their site to order via PayPal …

Preacher Boy’s Secret Sauce: Preacher Boy’s Secret Sauce is a line of six different all purpose sauces developed by a Lebanon, MO minister by the name of Don Anderson. After making his specialty sauce for family and friends for years and garnering rave reviews, Don decided to take his sauces public in 2011 …

These sauces can be used as traditional barbecue sauce but are much more versatile. They can be used for basting, as a marinade, or simply as a dipping sauce for your favorite foods. Flavors currently available include the Original, Sweet Onion, Sweet With Heat, Sweet Chipotle, Peach, Sweet Inferno, and Pineapple Secret Sauce.

If you live in Missouri, you’ll find Preacher Boy’s sauces in grocery stores around the Lebanon and Branson area, or of course you can buy them online at the Preacher Boy’s Secret Sauce website …

At their site, you’ll also find all sorts of combination and specialty tailgate packs – a cool gift!

Circle B Ranch: Circle B Ranch is a hog farm located in far southwest Missouri, about 30 miles east of Springfield. They’re well known for their world class pork products, either fresh or smoked …

While we’ve never tried any of their pork product, they’re reputed to be excellent. But we have tried their signature Big John’s BBQ Sauce (and it is excellent!). It’s got some unique ingredients, like hot sauce, molasses, ground mustard, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, and cider vinegar.

As you can probably surmise, it’s a combination sweet and hot that naturally goes well with pulled pork sandwiches or ribs or any other barbecued meats for that matter …

You can order the sauce online at Circle B Ranch Pork along with a couple of other sauces they make and any of their cuts of pork …

A tasty gift from southwest Missouri!

Topsy’s Popcorn: A Kansas City, MO tradition since the 1940’s, Topsy’s Popcorn is the best known popcorn in the area. They were the very first merchant in the Country Club Plaza and they’ve got locations all over the Kansas City metro area …

Topsy’s is renowned for their many flavors of popcorn packed in colorful tins. Especially popular during the holidays, Topsy’s Popcorn is also an ideal corporate or special occasion gift. You can choose from a variety of tins and flavors – the Caramel Pecan is one of our favorites!

If you’re in Kansas City, be sure to stop at one of their stores and order a flavored limeade drink. They’re made on demand with fresh limes in regular and cherry flavors. We love walking around the Plaza to shop and see the sights and we’re almost always carrying some of Topsy’s products with us!

McGonigle’s Market: If you’ve ever been lucky enough to have dined out in Kansas City and wondered where those magnificent KC Strip Steaks came from, chances are the answer is McGonigle’s Market. They’ve been a Kansas City legend since 1951, located at the corner of Ward Parkway and 79th Street in the city …

Kind of an old fashioned traditional butcher shop, McGonigle’s is a great place to stop for lunch as well. They offer some sort of special every day – it might be something barbecue, it might be a sandwich special, but it’s always something reasonably priced and fantastic …

McGonigle’s ships their famous hand trimmed steaks and other items across the country in special packs with dry ice. Your steaks will arrive fresh and ready to grill and serve! Choose from strip steaks, T-Bones, Filet Mignons, ribeyes, porterhouse, and more. You can also get magnificent beef roasts, lamb, pork roasts, and pork chops.

A one of a kind place in KC, MO!

Blues Hog BBQ Company: Blues Hog BBQ is a barbecue catering and sauce company located in the small town of Perry. The town is in the northeast part of Missouri, northwest of Columbia and southwest of Hannibal …

We found their sauces at our local Garden Fresh Market and promptly bought a jar of each of the three on the shelf. There’s the Original Blues Hog Barbecue Sauce, a sweet and spicy gem that reminds us a bit of KC style sauces. Second, there’s Honey Mustard Barbecue Sauce, which you can also use as a dipping sauce or even a salad dressing …

Finally, there’s Tennessee Red, a spicy vinegar peppery southern style sauce that’s great on a chopped pork or pulled chicken sandwich. Excellent as a marinade as well!

Blues Hog also makes a variety of rubs and gourmet sauces, like their Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. You can buy any of the Blues Hog products directly at their online store – great as a gift from The Show Me State!

Great Gran’s Pickle Company: Jack Williams is the great grandson of an Italian immigrant by the name of Angeline Morrelli-Buzzetti who settled on a southern Missouri farm with her husband. She carried with her from Italy a recipe for canning dill pickles, and the recipe passed to Jack’s grandmother and then to his mother …

Unable to find pickles to his liking, Jack tracked down his great grandmother’s recipe from his aunt and experimented a bit. The result is a pickle company called Great Gran’s Pickle Company which makes dills along with bread and butter chips (mild and hot). The pickles are produced in Olathe, KS but the company is based on the Missouri side of Kansas City and the history of these pickles originated in southern Missouri …

These pickles are crunchy, with just the right amount of vinegar and spices to let you know you’re eating a pickled cucumber. They’re available in stores in metro Kansas City, and also online via a link on the company website.

Jack’s great grandmother is pictured on every jar, so you know these pickles have to be good!

Fine Vines Artisanal Ketchup: If your first thought upon seeing this feature is “why artisanal ketchup?”, you’re probably not alone, but then again, you probably haven’t tasted the 12 flavors of ketchup from this Independence, MO based company …

To directly answer the “why” question, let’s start with what these creative flavors don’t have … no gluten and no high fructose corn syrup like mass produced brands. These ketchups are so flavorful you can use them in recipes – anything from sloppy joe’s to chicken wings to appetizer dishes (check out the recipes on their website).

But Fine Vines Ketchup isn’t too fancy to overshadow your favorite cheeseburger, steak, or french fries. Flavors include Smoked Serrano, Grill Smoke, Savory Sweet, and more. We are partial to the Apple Wood flavor (pictured) and use it frequently with pork dishes as a dipping sauce or glaze. Try it on a grilled pork tenderloin!

You can find Fine Vines Artisanal Ketchup in many food stores in the KC area, as well as across Kansas and Missouri. They’re in some locations farther afield, but your best bet is ordering directly from their website. Order three or more jars and shipping is free!

Fitz’s Root Beer, A St. Louis Icon!

The Walk of Fame is similar to Hollywood’s famous Walk of Fame. Stars are embedded into the sidewalks honoring famous St. Louis citizens well known to the world. Chuck Berry, Tina Turner, Stan Musial, and actor Kevin Kline are just a few who are honored with a star along the Walk of Fame …

One of our favorite St. Louis restaurants is located in the heart of the area, Fitz’s Root Beer. Fitz’s actually bottles their root beer and specialty sodas on site – the bottling line is visible from every seat in the restaurant. It’s a fun casual place where you can enjoy great sandwiches, salads, appetizers, pizza … and of course root beer floats!

If you ever get to Fitz’s, you’ll grow to love it like we do. Recently, Fitz’s established Fitz’s Online Store where you can buy their famous root beer and their many other flavors. They sell variety packs too in case you can’t make up your mind!

There’s other Fitz’s swag available too, like t-shirts, hats, key chains, bottle openers, etc. Discover Fitz’s – A St. Louis icon!

The farm is located in Lampe, a small town just north of the Missouri-Arkansas border and not far from Branson. They’re probably best known for their gourmet blueberry muffins, affectionately known as Thunder Muffins. These huge muffins are bursting with blueberries grown on the farm and sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar topping. Just warm them up a bit and serve!

Persimmon Hill Farm also creates gourmet jams, shiitake mushroom products, barbecue sauce, syrups, and other specialty foods. Their gift baskets are very popular gifts for holidays, thank you presents, or just about any occasion!

Order the fresh taste of the Show Me State directly at their website!

/>Missouri Northern Pecan Growers: Pecans are typically grown in southern states like Texas, Mississippi, New Mexico, and so on. So it was a surprise to learn about Missouri Northern Pecan Growers, based in Nevada, Missouri …

Nevada (pronounced “Ne-VAY-da”) is located in far western Missouri, not far from the Kansas border. It’s due south of metro Kansas City and northwest of Springfield, MO. In the area, there several pecan groves maintained by growers who formed the cooperative. This is the farthest north pecans grow in the U.S. …

These pecans are similar to pecans you’d find in the grocery store, with two exceptions. First, they are slightly smaller. Second, they have a sweeter, richer taste than traditional pecans. The first time you try them you’ll notice the difference!

Missouri Northern Pecan Growers sell their pecans online in packages, gift boxes, and a handy sprinkle jar if you plan to use them for baking or salads. These pecans are organic, meaning no herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides are used on the pecan trees.

A great gift idea from Missouri! Check their website for additional details …

Imo’s Pizza, St. Louis Style Since 1964

Most everyone knows about the various regional pizza specialties … there’s Chicago style deep dish, New York style thin slices, and Detroit style thick rectangular shaped pizza. But what about St. Louis style?

There is indeed a St. Louis style of pizza. Traditionally, it’s made on a yeast free very thin crust with Provel cheese instead of the more standard mozzarella. It’s also cut into squares or rectangles instead of wedges. Most of the other ingredients are the same … the key differences to other styles is the very thin crust and the use of Provel cheese …

One of the first originators of St. Louis style pizza is Imo’s Pizza, which started in 1964 and has now grown to over 80 locations. There are locations all over the St. Louis area, the state of Missouri, and all the way to Kansas City …

As long as your area isn’t serviced by an Imo’s location, you can get their pizza shipped to you. They’re shipped every day to people across the country craving the unique taste of a St. Louis style pizza …

Check their website and click on Out of Town Shipping at the page bottom for all the details …

Missouri Trivia and Fun Facts

1). The 1904 World’s Fair, held in St. Louis, is remembered as the birthplace of the hot dog, iced tea, and the ice cream cone …

2). Missouri borders eight states. It shares this distinction with Tennessee. Ironically, the two states share a small border with one another. The seven other Missouri neighbors are Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Oklahoma …

3). The Eads Bridge in St. Louis, which spans over the Mississippi River, was the first arched steel truss bridge in the world …

4). In 1818, St. Louis University became the first university founded west of the Mississippi River …

5). America’s first wine region was established in Missouri in the 1830’s and 1840’s by German immigrants in and around the town of Hermann, about 50 minutes west of St. Louis …

6). The famed Gateway Arch was completed in October, 1965. It is anchored by foundations sunk 60 feet into the ground and is built to sway 18 inches in extremely high winds …

7). The 33rd U.S. President, Harry Truman, was born in Lamar. His former home and presidential museum are located in Independence …

8). The highest point of elevation in the state is Taum Sauk Mountain at 1,772 feet …

Syberg’s Wings Are Great … Try The Sauce!

For a casual meal and a fun happy hour, it’s hard to top Syberg’s. They’re famous for their pizza, shark bites, and especially their wings. Syberg’s has several locations in the metro area … we like the one on Market Street adjacent to downtown.

Their wing sauce and how they cook their wings is what sets them apart. The wings are served crispy and the sauce is an eye opener but not over-the-top-burn-your-mouth hot. Their restaurants are family owned, friendly, and everything is fresh. In short, a great gathering spot!

If you can’t make it to St. Louis, get (or give) a taste of the city from the Syberg’s website. They sell bottles of their famous wing sauce and will ship it anywhere in the U.S.!

Brick City STL: Do you know someone with a soft spot for the city of St. Louis?

If so, turn them on to Brick City STL, a small St. Louis shop which also sells their cool prints on Etsy …

Pictured is a hand made high quality print of the St. Louis flag … it’s very reasonably priced and would make a great accent piece in someone’s home (St. Louis or not!).

There are several other prints to choose from as well, including maps of the city and rapid transit prints …

Jack Stack Barbecue: Officially known as Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, this is one of the revered names in the Kansas City, MO (and KS) bbq scene …

We first went here to the original location at 135th and Holmes in 1995. It’s in a south suburb of Kansas City called Martin City, and it’s on the Missouri side so that’s why we have it listed here. Three other locations abound in the KC area, two of which are in the Show Me State …

Jack Stack Barbecue is known for doing lots of things well … pulled pork, ribs, sausage to name a few. We suggest trying the burnt ends, a KC bbq tradition which are basically what they’re called … slightly burnt and crispy edges of meat that create a taste sensation like no other!

Jack Stack is one of a few KC BBQ establishments that will mail order ship a BBQ feast anywhere across the country. They offer a create your own super sampler package which lets you pick out a lot of one thing or a little bit of everything …

If you love barbecue, try Jack Stack! If you’re ever in the area, it’s one of the most comfortable, casual, really good eating spots you’ll find …

Blue Owl Sweet and Sour Dressing: The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery is located in historic downtown Kimmswick, and they’re famous for baked goods, but we want to introduce you to another of their creations …

Blue Owl Sweet and Sour Dressing has been a staple at the restaurant since they opened in 1985. As the name implies, it’s a sweet and tangy dressing that’s not only good on salads, but as a sandwich condiment as well …

Kimmswick is a great little town to visit, just a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River just off Interstate 55 …

Zia’s on The Hill Sauces – St. Louis

On every block, you’ll find well known Italian restaurants on The Hill, as well as interesting independent shops (we profile on of them below). You really can’t go wrong at any of the restaurants, although passions run high as to which is “the best”. One that certainly makes our list is Zia’s, located on Wilson Avenue …

You can buy Zia’s sauces online, and there’s one in particular we recommend. It’s Zia’s White Wine Lemon Sauce, which can be used as a marinade, dressing, or drizzled atop pasta, fish, or meat. Zia’s also sells their pasta sauce and other dressings from their online store, so you can give a taste of St. Louis to the chef in your life. And if you’ve never been to The Hill, add it to your travel destination list!

Chase Candy Co. – Cherry Mash

The Cherry Mash bar has a soft cherry flavored center containing maraschino cherries, topped with chopped roasted peanuts and covered with chocolate. If that sounds great, let us assure you … it is!

You can buy Cherry Mash bars and other Chase Candies online at the Chase Candy Shoppe … they ship all over the country.

Peculiar Spice Chicken Salad Mix

The company markets a line of appetizer dips, soup and dessert mixes, and sandwich mixes. We like the Hawaiian Chicken Salad mix (shown). All you need is a can of crushed pineapple, Miracle Whip, and 3 cups of diced chicken or turkey. Mix it all together, refrigerate to let it all meld, and you’ve got a tasty lunch!

You can order any of the mixes Peculiar Spice offers online at PeculiarSpice.com …

Swiss Meat and Sausage Company Gift Box

Founded in 1965, the company is known as the official bratwurst supplier to the University of Missouri, as well as for their summer sausage, German bologna, and cheese.

A great gift for anyone seeking a taste of Missouri is the Swiss Pride Gift Box (pictured), which includes all three of the aforementioned products.

Order online and have any of Swiss Meat and Sausage Company’s products shipped directly …

Volpi Foods – St. Louis: Another of our favorite businesses on The Hill in St. Louis is Volpi Foods, known for their specialty Italian meat products since the early 1900’s …

Volpi makes old world styles of salami, prosciutto, capocolla, and artisan cheese. Check out their site, VolpiFoods.com to see their entire product line and order online …

Float Trip Pickles Spicy Relish

On a recent trip to Missouri, we were able to try Float Trip Pickles Sweet and Spicy Pickle and Jalapeno Relish (pictured).

The name describes the taste … it’s a combination of sweet and spicy pickles mixed with jalapeno peppers and fine cut into a relish. Try it on hot dogs!

You can order Float Trip Pickle products online at their website, linked above …

Gates BBQ: Kansas City is well known as one of America’s primary destinations for barbecue. There are hundreds of bbq restaurants in the metro KC area, and ample debate as to which is best. While it’s literally impossible to quantify “best”, there are no Kansas city barbeque locations as well known as Gates …

Gates BBQ is actually a small local chain, with six locations in the area. Whenever you enter one of their restaurants, you are immediately greeted with the Gates standard, “Hi, May I Help You?”, as well as the wonderful aroma of ribs, pulled pork, and more.

Gates makes four varieties of their signature sauce, which offers the Kansas City style sweet flavor (delicious!). Choose from Original, Sweet and Mild, Mild, and Extra Hot. A gift pack of Gates BBQ sauce makes an ideal Missouri gift!

Watch this page for more Kansas City and Missouri BBQ products …

“Soapy” from Herbaria Soap – St. Louis

When you visit their location, chances are you’ll be greeted by the Herbaria mascot, a wonderful dog named Soapy. Of course, Herbaria also makes a dog shampoo bar!

Be sure to visit the Herbaria website to see Soapy touring all the popular St. Louis visitor sites …

Freddie Lee’s Ghetto Sauce: Back in the mid 80’s, Freddie Lee and his wife were outside their home slathering their home made sauce on some grilling meat. Police sirens filled the air from a neighborhood disturbance down their street, and the Lee’s decided to call their special concoction “Ghetto Sauce” …

Ghetto Sauce is one part barbecue sauce, one part grilling sauce, and one part dipping sauce for your favorite foods. Use it on anything … grilled meat, stew, pasta, or drizzled on appetizers. It’s available in mild and spicy versions, and usually you can only find it in the St. Louis area …

We discovered a handy online source for Ghetto Sauce called “It’s A St. Louis Thing” where you can bring this tasty and tangy all purpose sauce right to your door. Try it! It’ll send your taste buds jumping …

Billy Goat Potato Chips, St. Louis

Billy Goat Potato Chips are razor thin and incredibly crisp, with a light seasoning to complement the potato taste.

They’re available in several different flavors, from original to red or green chile dust to a spicy ghost pepper flavor.

They sell in combination packs so you can try all the flavors, or just pick your favorite! A tasty gift direct from St. Louis …

More Missouri Made Products To Come … Tell Us About Your Favorite Made In Missouri Products By Commenting Via Our Contact Us Page …


Federhofer’s Bakery, Affton

Established in 1966 by Bill Federhofer, the bakery that bears his name is as much a staple of St. Louis as the gooey butter cake in which it specializes. In 2016, Federhofer’s Bakery celebrated fifty years of providing fresh, high-quality baked goods to the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Federhofer’s grandson, Tyler May, says his grandfather still bakes at the store each morning, using the same recipes he has used for fifty years.

Located at Gravois Road and Mathilda in the St. Louis suburb of Affton, Federhofer’s features a seemingly endless selection of freshly baked breads, coffee cakes, stollen, pies, and cakes.

Tyler says his grandfather’s recipe for gooey butter cake differs from many others because Federhofer’s doesn’t use cream cheese—a popular ingredient among gooey butter cake connoisseurs.

“We don’t use cream cheese and we don’t put powdered sugar on them unless the customer requests it,” Tyler says.

Federhofer’s offers five flavors of gooey butter cake, including turtle, chocolate chip, strawberry, and plain. The bakery makes about fifteen dozen a week, not including the forty dozen that go to Andoro & Sons Pizza for fundraisers.

At Little O’s Old Time Soda Shop, guest can have a whole piece of gooey butter cake blended in a milk shake.


Where to find St. Louis' best salvage style

Building and decorating with salvaged items creates a storied feel to your home’s interiors, so open the doors and invite history inside.

Owner Don Moore and his wife, Barb, founded Riverside Antiques 39 years ago in a corner building in the Cherokee Antiques District when renovations in the Lafayette Square and Soulard neighborhoods were just starting, and the supply of architectural items was abundant. Moore now sources pieces from all over Missouri and Illinois, attracting plenty of DIY owners interested in restoring or repurposing Riverside’s impressive array of doors, hardware, tables, cabinets, and furniture.

“Authentic floors are the canvas to your home,” says Steve Lauer, a former telecom executive whose passion for antique wood floors led him to start Historic Floor Company. Founded in 2000, the company salvages everything from red oak to heart pine. “Our customers want a floor they can’t find anywhere else,” he says. To that end, the company customizes their services with wood species that are stained and finished by hand and can be tweaked to match almost any shade.

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis Restore, 2117 Sams, Des Peres, 314-678-4596 3763 Forest Park, 314-531-4155 186 Mid Rivers Center, St. Peters, 636-978-5712

New and gently used goods are donated by individuals and corporations then sold to “treasure hunters of every income level for about 50 percent of the price they would pay at retail stores,” says Josh Vaughn, general manager of the St. Louis ReStore locations. Items range from lighting, cabinetry, doors, and mantelpieces to built-in bookcases and lumber.

Tucked inside an unmarked building, Architectural Artifacts has been selling architectural antiques and raw materials for more than 40 years. Much of the material has been salvaged from historic homes. Large pallets of stone and rock are on site as well. If you’re looking for salvaged wood, owner Bruce Gerrie also owns American Timber Salvage, which “recycles old growth lumber and can transition it into things like flooring, tabletops, and wall boarding.”


Where can I get Provel cheese or St. Louis-style pizza around FL?

My girlfriend's parents met and fell in love in St. Louis, and she used to spend summers there as a little girl, visiting her grandparents. They all remember the times fondly, and have spoken highly of ordering from Imo's Pizza, a St. Louis-based pizza chain that has its own unique style: thin-crust crispy pizza cut into squares, with a creamy cheese blend called Provel. I think it is a processed cheese in the sense that Velveeta is, but more authentically "cheesy" with a blend of Italian white cheeses and perhaps cheddar too.

Well, for Christmas I surprised them by overnighting two Imo's Pizzas to their house, half-baked and packed in dry ice. They invited me over last night and we all enjoyed them. It isn't my favorite pizza in the world (I prefer good NY or Chicago pizza), but I thought it was a nice change from the ordinary, and they were rapturous. It is waaaaaaay too expensive to treat them like that too often, so I was wondering if there was any local source (Orlando-based ideally, or anywhere in Florida) to get St. Louis-style pizza like Imo's, or just to find the Provel cheese. If so, it would be most appreciated, and it would cement my title of Best Boyfriend Ever.


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