Three St. Louis restaurants make list of 100 ‘America can’t afford to lose’


ST. LOUIS– The COVID pandemic has taken a toll on the restaurant industry. Many have had to find ways to adapt to restrictions and offer curbside delivery. Dozens of others have shut their doors due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

Esquire Magazine compiled a list of restaurants it considers are so important to America that we can’t afford to lose them.

Here are the ones that made the list from the St. Louis area:

  • Blueberry Hill: I have been coming down here—to the loop in St. Louis, one of the greatest streets of food and music in America, that is—for (the very best!) burgers and live music quite literally since I got keys to a car. It made me feel like a rebel when I was young, out late hearing new bands, buying my own dinners, and it makes me remarkably nostalgic now that I’m not. Also, Chuck Berry played a monthly show here for 200 months in a row, so if you won’t take my word for it, perhaps his will do.
  • Cunetto House of PastaI know everyone thinks the best Italian food in America is in New York, but I’d argue they haven’t been to the Hill in St. Louis, Missouri. Driving down to these streets and bouncing between the cafes and bakeries and grocers felt like going on an exotic sojourn when I was very young, and the thought of losing any of these mom-and-pop establishments and the culture that goes with them fills me with dread. The crown jewel of the area is Cunetto’s. Aside from being the first place I tried veal (which ended in tears as my parents explained just what veal is), it’s a menu with absolutely no fuss but tons of flavor. Also, they serve amazing toasted raviolis, a St. Louis classic. 
  • Pappy’s SmokehouseWhat is America without our smokehouses and pitmasters? Pappy’s, a casual outpost in STL, has only been open since 2008, but it’s been a heavy hitter since its launch. It’s routinely been voted the best BBQ in town, and its ribs have been recognized as the best in America—by someone other than me. I stop by every time I’m in town, and I send anyone passing through in this direction. It’s the bite of food that, for me, most tastes like home.

You can read the entire list of restaurants on

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