Chef Gerard Craft. Photo courtesy of Greg Rannells Photography.
As the World Series heats up between the Red Sox and the Cardinals, baseball fans can drink and eat their nerves away at some fantastic local restaurants. Empire builder Barbara Lynch has shared her favorite spots in Boston. Here, chef Gerard Craft —whose restaurant Pastaria often hosts Cardinals players—divulges his hit list for the St. Louis area.
Sump Coffee: “If I have a day off, this is where I want to start it. I’ve never met someone as obsessed with coffee as the owner, Scott Carey, a lawyer turned coffee artisan. I always start with an espresso and then have a cappuccino, but you can’t go wrong if you let Scott pick your beverage for you.”
Salume Beddu: “Owner Mark Sanfilippo has worked under chefs Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton at Mozza in Los Angeles, and now he makes some of the best salumi in the country. For lunch, I order The Beast, which is an awesome sausage sandwich with roasted peppers.”
Mai Lee: “Tucked away in the shopping mecca of the Brentwood neighborhood, Mai Lee is easy to miss, but the Tran family puts out awesome Vietnamese food. I crave their pho ga—it’s like the best chicken soup in the world—and while mom Lee Tran still runs the kitchen, her son Qui is the entertainment of the dining experience. This is also a favorite date night spot for my wife, Suzie, and I.”
Farmhaus: “Chef Kevin Willmann (a Food & Wine Best New Chef 2011) shares my passion for pushing the St. Louis dining scene and supporting our local farmers. His use of whole animals is amazing. Ordering anything with fish or market vegetables is a guaranteed winner.”
Sidney Street Café: “Chef Kevin Nashan is really showing St. Louis that we can do some pretty interesting things with the product in our backyard, and we both share the goal of making fine dining unpretentious and fun. His charcuterie is really impressive as well.”
Perennial Artisanal Ales, Urban Chestnut and The Civil Life: “Since Anheuser-Busch was sold a few years ago, we’ve been seeing some really cool microbreweries pop up all over town. These are three of my favorites, and we’ve even been lucky enough to collaborate with Perennial Artisanal Ales to do a specialty beer. We use Urban Chestnut's Zwickel Bavarian Style Lager—my favorite beer—in one of our gelatos at Pastaria. I also love The Civil Life’s British Bitter pale ale. The lager and the pale ale are both light drinking beers that I can have a few of without falling over.”
Pint Size Bakery & Coffee: “My two young daughters, Ellie and Olive, both have a major sweet tooth, so this bakery from pastry chef Christy Augustin had to make my list of favorites. Her oatmeal cookie cream sandwiches bring me right back to my childhood.”