The Best Soups & Sandwiches in St. Louis
38 local faves for this quintessential culinary combo
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Consider that soups and sandwiches go way back in history—and in our own history. As youngsters, they were our first exposure to comfort food: PB&J, grilled cheese, Campbell’s chicken noodle or tomato (made with milk, please). Later in our youth, they became the highlight of our day (no doubt due to the Thermos bottle and those cool, colorful curve-top lunchboxes). For adults, they’ve become the inexpensive, fast-and-filling food that’s now synonymous with “lunch.” So we recommend you graze the following pages, oh, about 11 a.m.
Best Veggie Sandwich
Local Harvest Café
Think globally, eat locally. Order the Morganford Mediterranean and daydream yourself away to the coast of Capri, where you’ll indulge in a bounty of roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese, balsamic dressing, and—the topper, literally and figuratively—Ah!Zeefa, a hummus-like lentil spread made right back in good old St. Louis by Berhanu Organic. Enjoy your trip. 3137 Morgan Ford, 314-772-8815.
“Hot Italian Beef” sounds more than a tad naughty, doesn’t it? It sure does make us perspire: a superspicy giardiniera, plus green peppers and banana peppers, makes up the feisty fixings of this sliced beef-and-provolone behemoth. Still not titillated enough? There’s a spicy au jus on the side that takes melt-in-your-mouthiness to a whole new level. It’s a sandwich that makes us blush. 3108 Olive, 314-371-1706.
Thomas Truong, Owner, Banh Mi So #1–Saigon Gourmet
Quite frankly, at Banh Mi So #1, the freshness speaks for itself, but every time we go, we can’t help smiling when its prideful owner reminds us once again that everything in his restaurant is made to order—unlike those other guys “down the street.” And the banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) are topped with the city’s best nuoc cham (a topping/dipping condiment)… Truong claims other restaurants have been plotting to steal it for years. 4071 S. Grand, 314-353-0545.
Best BIG Sandwich
Lunch—or dinner for four? The size of sandwiches at Adriana’s makes it a tossup. From Nana at the register, who calls you “Hon,” to the original pressed-tin ceiling, Adriana’s is a classic St. Louis Italian-American experience. Recommended: Charlie’s Special, toasted bread dripping with a vinegar–olive oil dressing, heaped with lettuce, black olives, and melted Provel that’s a day’s worth of sloppy, delicious calories—with plenty left over to wear on your shirt. 5101 Shaw, 314-773-3833.
Most Efficient Sandwich Crew
After 20 years in the grocery industry, Steve Lauck and his wife, Mary Kay, turned their attention to the sandwich business and were instantly rewarded with a steady stream of regulars. Part of the reason is Boar’s Head meat and cheese cut to order, and part of it is watching the assemblage: When the line wraps out the door of their tiny shop, the team—which includes two of their sons—will dazzle you with its assembly line of sandwich precision. 1911 Schuetz, 314-995-3900.