No Reservations? No Problem
So you dropped the ball on dinner reservations for graduation. Maybe your parents have been hounding you for weeks and you just ignored them (in which case you’re really in trouble) or maybe you didn’t even think about it until all of your friends started talking about the reservations that they made two months ago. Either way, chances are you’re feeling totally screwed and are gearing up to break the news that your celebration dinner will be taking place at Chipotle. (Hey, it could be worse—at least they serve booze.)
Lucky for you, not every nice restaurant in St. Louis is completely booked; there are actually some really great restaurants that don’t take reservations at all. So before you lose all hope, here are a few top-notch options for those who have taken senioritis all the way to graduation.
St. Louis, MO 63103
Pappy’s may not be anything fancy, but it’s a St. Louis institution. With cheap BBQ ($6-9 for a sandwich), long picnic tables and a fun, relaxed atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to go with a large group. Just be prepared to get there early and stand in line for what could potentially be quite a while—and if anyone complains, just tell them it’s “part of the experience.” Works every time.
Pomme Cafe & Wine Bar
St. Louis, MO 63105
Although Pomme Restaurant in downtown Clayton does take reservations, the adjacent Pomme Café & Wine Bar conveniently does not. More casual but still tasty, Pomme Café offers a variety of entrée salads and sandwiches for around $10, and entrées such as gnocchi with butternut squash and wild mushrooms or trout almondine for $17.50. The fare is simple but good, the atmosphere cozy and the location close to campus—can’t really go wrong there.
Chesterfield, MO 63005
Widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in St. Louis, Annie Gunn’s fills half of its dining room with reservations, but keeps the rest open for walk-ins. This might mean waiting in line for a bit, but since it’s a bit of a hike out to Chesterfield, the chance of battling for a table with another Wash. U. family is significantly lower than at restaurants in the city. Locally sourced entrées range from $27-40, including uncommon dishes like Braised Marcho Farms Veal Cheeks with natural pan gravy and white bean cassoulet ($35) and a variety of steaks. For a more reasonable price, try one of the many sandwiches or hamburgers. And of course, don’t forget to take a peek at the award-winning wine list, featuring more than 700 options.
The Shaved Duck
St. Louis, MO 63118
Located in Tower Grove, The Shaved Duck is the place to go if you’re looking for a livelier scene. Specializing in “rustic American cuisine,” the restaurant offers creative flatbreads like pulled pork with apple, crispy bacon and Vermont white cheddar for $10, as well as a variety of chili for $7 and house-smoked barbecue platters and sandwiches ranging from $9-20. There’s also an extensive craft beer list and live music Tuesday-Saturday nights—a perfect combination.
Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar
St. Louis, MO 63130
After opening downtown just last year, Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar is already a St. Louis favorite. If your family is into beer or wine, this is definitely the place to get your celebration on. But be forewarned: With more than 200 beers (55 on tap) and more than 100 bottles of wine (over 20 served by the glass), you’re in for some tough decision-making. Oh, and the food is excellent as well. For lighter fare, design your own cheese and charcuterie board ($4-10), or go for a unique salad like the roasted pork and ruby grapefruit with mixed greens, apple-poached apricots, fresh goat cheese, candied almonds and blood orange vinaigrette for $9. For something heartier, try one of the “pots,” such as the mac and cheese with roasted poblanos and tomato for $9 or the coffee-braised beef and sweet potato orzo for $12.