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

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Juniper's "Mr. Macgregor's Garden Salad." | Caroline Yoo

While temperatures have cooled this week, the mercury is set to soar again before long. A scorching St. Louis evening is not the ideal time for a heavy, hot, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal. You're more likely to go looking for a beautiful, light and fresh salad. And just because it's good for you doesn't mean it has to be boring.

Gut Check called around to some of our favorite spots and found ten salads we think are must-tries before the season is over.

See also: 10 Places to Take (and Impress) Your Visiting Foodie

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10 Places to Take (and Impress) Your Visiting Foodie

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A feast for eyes and stomach at Niche. | Greg Rannells

Many have said that St. Louisans have an inferiority complex about our fair city, but there's nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to the culinary clout in our kitchens. St. Louis is increasingly being recognized nationally for its chefs and burgeoning restaurant scene. What better way to help spread the gospel than to do it up big when your friends and family come to stay.

If your summer out-of-towners are foodies, they'll want you to show them what we have to offer beyond great barbecue (although our barbecue is unbeatable, let's not forget). Here are Gut Check's picks for the restaurants that are sure to impress your guests' palates and send them home talking us up.

See also: 10 St. Louis Restaurants Growing Their Own Food

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The 5 Best Restaurants to Celebrate the Fourth of July in St. Louis

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Fireworks at Fair St. Louis. | RFT Photo

The Fourth of July celebrates everything great about summer -- being outside, pools, beer, hot dogs, setting off illegal explosives, oh, and freedom. You already know about the annual Fair Saint Louis, but some of our favorite restaurants are throwing parties and serving up special holiday eats just for Independence Day.

See also: Sugarfire Smokehouse's Crack Pie: A Gooey, Buttery Treat Perfect For the Fourth of July

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10 St. Louis Restaurants Growing Their Own Food

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Brian Hardesty

Cooking with produce, meat and dairy from local farms and growers is a growing trend across the country, but there are several restaurants in St. Louis that are taking this a step further. Gut Check spoke with ten local restaurants that are actually growing their own produce, cooking seasonally, saving money and having fun while they're at it.


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The 5 Best Bars for Pride Fest 2014

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Pride Fest 2013. | Steve Truesdell

Pride Fest is extra sweet this year -- Mayor Slay helped four couples flout the state's ban on same-sex marriage this week. It's a step in the right direction, so let's celebrate. Of course the parade is downtown, but check out where you should be before and after.

See also: Concerts and Cocktails and Hipsters, Oh My! An Updated Guide to the Grove

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The 10 Most Beautiful Bars in St. Louis

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Grand Hall. | Jonathan Pollack

Sometimes you just need a drink. And sometimes...you need a drink somewhere beautiful.

We at Gut Check are not immune to the romanticism that comes from a beautifully appointed bar, so we've decided to share our most favorite immersive spots with you. From whimsical to merely gorgeous, here are the ten most beautiful bars in St. Louis.

See also: The 10 Best Places in St. Louis for a First Date

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5 St. Louis Foods You Have to Eat This Summer

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The lavender lemonade pop at Whisk. | Nancy Stiles

Summer in St. Louis is not always pleasant. The heat, the humidity, the frequent visits from cicadas -- the list goes on. But there are plenty of yummy treats to make your summer amazing. We know you already know the icons like Ted Drewes, so we've got some lesser-known eats to complete your ultimate St. Louis summer.

See also: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

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The 10 Best Places in St. Louis for a First Date

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Olio's patio. | Sara Graham

Picking a place for a first date is a loaded proposition -- so much to say in one seemingly simple decision. Luckily, Gut Check knows exactly how to impress that special someone, whether you're going for "casual but sophisticated" or "I'm trying to wife you up, boy." Follow our lead with these ten perfect first-date locations and you'll be golden.

See also: The 10 Best Sushi Bars in St. Louis

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