The 5 Best Menus at Downtown Restaurant Week 2014

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Inside Hiro Asian Kitchen downtown. | Jennifer Silverberg

If you haven't been downtown in a while for anything other than a ball game, here's your chance. Downtown Restaurant Week celebrates all the food the neighborhood has to offer. From August 11 to 17, 25 downtown restaurants are offering three courses (sometimes more) for just $25. It's pretty impossible to hit that many places in just a week, so we've picked the five menus we think are the most promising.

See also: Two for Peru: Mango sallies forth from Shrewsbury with a loft-district outpost

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Non-Profit Rallies to Save the World's Largest Catsup Bottle

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Save me! | Google Street View

Earlier this week we reported that the World's Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville is for sale (along with a warehouse) for $500,000. There is a non-profit organization that doesn't own any of the landmark but advocates for it and holds the annual festival. We spoke to president Mike Gassman about why saving the catsup bottle is important and what he hopes will happen.

See also: The World's Largest Catsup Bottle is For Sale

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Art Saint Louis Kicks Off "Food, Glorious Food" With a Block Party and Food Trucks

Categories: Art

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Slice of Summer | Alex Paradowski

Art St. Louis' (1223 Pine Street; 314-241-4810) newest exhibit will interest foodies and art lovers alike. Some 76 new works from 51 local artists will be on display and for sale, and they're all food and drink-inspired.

See also: The Art of Food Brings St. Louis' Top Chefs Together for Slow Food St. Louis

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The 10 Best Restaurant Bathrooms (AKA the Finest Loos in the Lou)

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Nathalie's | Caroline Yoo

Every detail of dining out -- from the food to the staff to the music -- subtly, or not so subtly, affects your overall impression of a restaurant. So it's safe to say we can all appreciate a little style when we need to go, ahem ... talk to a man about a horse.

Be sure to check out the "loo chic" of these ten St. Louis restaurants the next time you visit.

See also: 10 of the Best (and Most Beautiful) Salads to Try This Summer

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Square One Builds its Cocktail List Around House-Distilled Spirits

Categories: Drunken Vegan

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The "Fitzgerald." | Patrick J. Hurley

The Drunken Vegan, a.k.a. Patrick J. Hurley, is a full-time barman at the Civil Life Brewing Company and cocktail enthusiast about town. He's an unapologetic drunkard, a vegan and a bon vivant, and, no, he doesn't think those last two terms contradict each other.

More and more bars have been touting their housemade syrups, mixers and their fresh juices, but how many make their own booze? Missouri has a few micro-distilleries now, but the first was Square One Brewery and Distillery (1727 Park Avenue; 314-231-2537). The Drunken Vegan enjoyed some unique cocktails based on some of its house spirits.

See also: Modesto Puts a Spanish Spin on Classic Cocktails

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Giovanni's Kitchen Has Quality of the Hill without the Bill: Review

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Lasagnette a.k.a. an individually baked lasagna. | Jennifer Silverberg

Giovanni's Kitchen
(8831 Ladue Road, Ladue; 314-721-4100)
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Sat. (Closed Sun.)

Several years ago, my friend and I got all gussied up and treated ourselves to dinner at Giovanni's on the Hill. Clad in semi-formal attire, we wined and dined in exquisite style as tuxedoed waiters prepared our dinners tableside, flambéed our desserts and served us warmed cognac. Don King was at the bar. It was fabulous.

The superior food and service came at quite a price, though, and no matter how strong a hankering I get for "Pappardelle alla Bella Oprah," I can't fork over that kind of cash on a regular basis.

Frank and Carmelo Gabriele seem to understand this sentiment. Their father, Giovanni's on the Hill patriarch Giovanni Gabriele, taught the brothers all about fine Italian dining. He also taught them business savvy, and the duo saw a market for a dressed-down version of their dad's upscale flagship. The result is the comfortably elegant Giovanni's Kitchen.

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15 Must-Drink Events at St. Louis Craft Beer Week 2014

Categories: Beer

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Firkin Fest 2013. | Theo Welling

It's the most wonderful time of the year -- no, not Christmas. St. Louis Craft Beer Week begins this Saturday, July 26, and is sponsoring events all over town until August 3. It can be hard to whittle it down to something manageable (more power to you if you're trying to hit every single one), so we've picked the ones we think are can't-miss.

See also: Your Pick for St. Louis' Most Underrated Craft Beer Is...

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Blueprint Coffee Collaborates with Local Photographer for Short Film

Categories: Java Enabled

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Outside Blueprint Coffee. | Nancy Stiles

Blueprint Coffee (6225 Delmar Boulevard; 314-266-6808) brews hand-made coffee every day in the Loop under the principle of "beauty in precision." St. Louis photographer Andrew Koh first worked with the collaborative brewers while taking an advertising course at Washington University. After doing some design work for Blueprint, he decided to cap it off with a documentary short in collaboration with Sprudge, a coffee news site.

See also: First Look: Blueprint Coffee in the Loop

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The World's Largest Catsup Bottle is For Sale

Categories: WTF?

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The World's Largest Catsup Bottle as seen from Route 66. | Google Street View

The world's largest catsup bottle is located in the St. Louis area -- well, Collinsville, Illinois, to be exact. It was built atop a water-tower stand in 1949 as a roadside advertisement for the G.S. Suppiger Catsup Bottling Plant. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

And now, it can be yours for just $500,000.

See also: Collinsville Catsup Bottle Celebration Named One of World's Ten Quirkiest Local Festivals

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Spare No Rib Lands on Zagat's 15 Hottest Barbecue Restaurants

Categories: Restaurant News

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The pulled pork at Spare No Rib. | Jennifer Silverberg

When Zagat compiled its list of the 15 Hottest Barbecue Joints in America, we would have been pretty miffed if nobody from St. Louis was included. We figured Pappy's, Sugarfire Smokehouse, maybe Bogart's. But Zagat chose to include the excellent, if new, Spare No Rib (2200 Gravois Avenue; 314-202-8244).

See also: Spare No Rib's Mexican and barbecue are an (unlikely) match made in heaven

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