I am an absolute believer that every single person looking to visit a city (or get to know their area better) should embark on a culinary tour. For the cost to take part, you’re getting anywhere from three to five samplings of fabulous restaurants, getting behind the scenes access to restaurant staff and then history on a location. Not convinced yet? You never leave hungry or without a brain chock full of new knowledge, not to mention the cost is a lot less than a night out on the town for two people. Even if you’ve lived in an area, these tours are a far cry from the usual touristy attractions. An absolute must for foodies, time crunched individuals, visitors to the area, locals wanting date night, or just a fun day out and about, this is something not to miss!
Savor St. Louis Food Tours is a company that newly started giving tours in the Central West End of St. Louis this past year. Heralded by Jennifer (Smith) Schmid and Susie Smith, this family is no stranger to St. Louis or the food scene. The family itself has a passion not only for spreading the St. Louis gospel, but also that of the culinary treasures found in their neighborhood. The family owns and operates the Royale, a very retro, but utterly cool locale hangout (which I’m now dying to try) which is also located in the Central West End.
Like most culinary tours I’ve embarked on, this tour showcases some hidden gems but also places to not miss when you’re in St. Louis. Even though these places are ones in which you can visit on your own, the tour itself gave a wonderful recap on the rich history found within the Central West End too. I came into the tour very biased thinking there wasn’t a whole lot more to learn about the area, and boy did I get humbled quickly. While Jennifer and Susie led the beginning and end of our tour, their friend and colleague Margaret Kelly quietly gave her recap on the bizarre stories of old, but of modern day happenings in and around the neighborhood. Margaret has lived in St. Louis for many a years, but is known by practically everyone in the Central West End. She was a waitress at the iconic Duff’s where she nonchalantly recounts her time with Hollywood stars on their visits to town.
I loved the care that each of the stops played into the tour, helping to design specific tastings for the tour (some of the items we sampled weren’t even on the regular menu and could only be had by taking part in the tour). Many of the restaurants even mixed things up on the tour so while you may be sampling one thing from Bar Italia one day, the next tour would be having something completely different. It’s absolutely one of the better ideas I would have for out of towners- you don’t have to feed them and you get entertainment to boot.
After our three or so hours spent with the group, I feel like I left with some amazing contacts and some good friends of who to enjoy St. Louis more.
To full plates and eating your tarte out….. get yourself on the Savor St. Louis Food Tour!