Kalle Evjen '23

The city of St. Louis is home to some of the best restaurants in the country.

STL’s Hidden Gems part 3

May 11, 2023

The third installment of the prominent De Smet Mirror series of hidden gems offers culinary comforts from Grassi’s, Olive + Oak, and Fitz’s. The delightful restaurants were pondered by two hungry young men sitting in front of computers, drooling over recollections of tasteful food. As amateur food critics, we not only highly recommend these restaurants, we stand by our accounts.

Grassi’s Ristorante & Deli – 10450 German Blvd, Frontenac


Clark Chamberlin

Grassi’s on German Blvd

Sheltered in a small strip off the chaotic Lindbergh Boulevard lies Italian cuisine so delectable that you may risk being transported to its country of origin. Within the walls of a quaint brick building lives food louder than the average Italian argument. In a buffet style, Grassi’s food is prepared before one’s watering taste buds. 

Taking a drug test after eating one of their salads might be a bad idea. Now, I’m sure that there’s nothing in there that doesn’t adhere to and go beyond the food safety qualifications of the FDA guidelines, but at the same time, the salads are so incomprehensibly good that I wouldn’t be too surprised if I found out they put addictive additives in the dressing, nor would that deter me whatsoever from continuing to eat the light, crunchy delectability of the Grassi’s salad.

The best pizza in St. Louis to me changes based on what day of the week it is. Grassi’s usually wins on five out of seven of them. Their delicious disk dish is heavy with deeply satisfying meats, soft, fresh cheese, and simply inslanderable sauce, baked onto a beautifully barely-burnt crunchy cracker crust – Grassi’s is the real “square beyond compare.”

But if you have wrung out your love for an incredible square of pizza, no worries. Grassi’s whips up a sandwich that stands alone in sheer excellence. The roast beef sandwich was sent from above. Try it. 

Olive + Oak: 216 W Lockwood Ave, Webster Groves


Colby Quinn '24

Olive and Oak on Lockwood Ave.

Nestled in the bustling downtown Webster is one of St. Louis County’s most decadent restaurants. Subway tiles encapsulate the prestigious dining room where excited conversation floats above, held down only by the 20-foot ceilings. Modern accents dash across the room, where blue, white, and brown paint an elegant picture.

Even still, the dress code is as relaxed as Grandpa in his favorite chair. An experience alone is the atmosphere, and the cuisine is fortuitous. Still, your taste buds will thank you afterward.

Before the time to order arrives, bread via Union Loafers is served fresher than clothes pulled out of the dryer (although we can’t recommend eating clothes), and, trust me, order the chicken wings to appetize. Once the time comes to divert the snacking away from delicious bread and butter, Olive and Oak supplies an entree menu from heaven. A lamb sandwich that will take you to euphoria, and a burger crafted by angels, who pull the ingredients from the most serene farm the mind could imagine. These two sandwiches, I admit, are as deep as I’ve gone into the menu. They are that good. And once you have finished your feast, wash it down with the memory foam-soft coconut cake, which transports your taste buds to cloud nine. 

Fitz’s: 6605 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis


Clark Chamberlin '24

Three frosty sodas and a plate of fried pickle chips on a plate at Fitz’s of the Delmar Loop

Fitz’s Root Beer is one of my biggest reasons for not having plans to move to another city. Even while producing some of the greatest drinks known to man, they still find the time to run two incredible restaurants that any St. Louisan simply must eat at.

At either of the Fitz’s locations (the original in the Delmar Loop and the superior in South County) there is available an array of food featuring burgers, sandwiches, platters, and more. Personally, I always go for the Loop Deluxe Burger and the House Smoked BBQ Sampler Platter, both of which feature generous portions of tender meat and crispy, salty fries. I don’t usually get appetizers at restaurants, but the pickle chips are an exception: These fried, unbreaded pickle slices take everything good about pickles and make them somehow even better, turning them into light, greasy, salty, crispy circles of absolute delectability.

These two meals have one crucial commonality: Fitz’s Root Beer Barbecue Sauce. This alone is reason enough to go, just so that you can taste this unfathomably delicious condiment: It’s a perfect blend of the two tongue-shatteringly delicious flavors of BBQ sauce and Root Beer, taking every bite from simply “good” to “mouth-obliterating.”

Of course, the food isn’t that important. It’s some of the best in St. Louis, but there’s a reason they’re named “Fitz’s Root Beer”. Four fizzy flavors are available in frosted bottomless steins: Root Beer (diet and regular), Cream, Cardinal Cream, and Orange. In addition to bottomless drinks, you have available all sorts of bottled flavors that are an uncommon sight outside of the restaurants, and If you have a passing interest in ice cream, you need to see a Fitz’s float. They’re Shaq-sized.

As you leave you’d be a fool not to take something with you, available in the restaurants are a variety of delectable dietary destruction devices: sodas in packs that require a finger, a hand, or your whole body to carry, and on special occasion even bottles of the sweet nectar of the almighty Root Beer BBQ Sauce. Every time you go to the restaurant, always ask if bottles are being sold that day- once you try it for the first time you won’t want to go a minute without some on hand.

Fitz’s is an establishment that requires a visit from anyone with taste buds and insulin.

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