The Seven Best St. Louis-Based Chain Restaurants

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        A nighthawk's paradise. | Mabel Suen

There are plenty of national chain restaurants in St. Louis, but go to any Midwestern city and you'll find a similar selection. Locally-based chains, however, are unique -- places we can claim as our own, and that usually end up defining (like it or not) St. Louis' culinary identity. Here's a list of some of our favorite restaurants with local origins that are doing their part to de-stigmatize the word "chain."

See also: The Ten Best Mexican Restaurants in St. Louis

Courtesy Diner (three locations)
Now that a third Courtesy Diner has officially opened, it's clear that world domination is on the horizon -- that Dr. Dan Drake, the pancake guy, is now a minor celebrity is exhibit A. This late night, greasy spoon institution has cured many a hangover, serving slingers with glee. Sit at the counter after midnight and you're guaranteed to overhear an interesting (ahem, drunken) conversation and enjoy ridiculously good diner food.

Lion's Choice (multiple locations)
In every way possible, Lion's Choice is way better than Arby's. The chain's signature roast-beef sandwich is technically fast food, but it doesn't taste it: tender and juicy, with thinly sliced beef that practically melts on the tongue. Founded in 1967, you can choose from over 23 different locations, all serving real-deal roast beef.

Location Info

Courtesy Diner

1121 Hampton Ave., St. Louis, MO

Category: Restaurant

Imo's Pizza

2916 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, MO

Category: Restaurant

Charlie Gitto's-The Hill

5226 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, MO

Category: Restaurant

Llywelyn's Pub-CWE

4747 McPherson Ave., St. Louis, MO

Category: Music

Lions's Choice-St. Louis Hills

6630 Chippewa St., St. Louis, MO

Category: Restaurant

Cecil Whittaker's Pizzeria-Ballwin

15338 Manchester Road, Ballwin, MO

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
7 comments
dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

How can Imo's be included? Their "pizza" is an embarrassment to the region

jzavist
jzavist topcommenter

Pi Pizza?  Llewellyn's?  Sweetie Pie's?  The Block?  Lester's?

jzavist
jzavist topcommenter

Hardee's?  Tucker's!  Schlafly!!!

jcthelilly
jcthelilly

How in the world did the RFT leave the Gerard Craft empire off this list?  


ut_4_me
ut_4_me topcommenter

Imo's is like coagulated cum on a stale matzo. 

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