I was in St. Louis last week and was delighted to see that the restaurants have grown in selection and variety tremendously since I lived there 15 years ago. As it always was, the best restaurants are still in the Central West End and Clayton areas but restaurateurs are discovering great spaces in the downtown and midtown areas. St. Louis always had a glut of great old buildings that were either abandoned or under-utilized but which had incredible architectural features that modern restaurants pay big bucks to try to replicate.
In the historic Missouri Pacific railway building downtown is The Alumni restaurant which is the perfect lunch spot for business. This iconic building at 1220 Olive St. is one of the tallest buildings around and the elaborately carved rooftop is a very unique and visible feature on the St. Louis skyline. The building is a mix of offices and condos and the view from the rooftop deck is dramatic. It reminded me of the rooftop scenes in the Ghostbusters movie with the Staypuft Marshmallow man crawling over the top….
The Scottish Arms Public House in the Central West End is located in a similarly historical building, though not nearly as dramatic. Under the glow of the gigantic new IKEA building down the street, this small, unassuming restaurant has retained most of its unique architectural features like a tin ceiling, wooden floors and a gorgeous long wooden bar that now houses a staggering selection of whiskies.