Lona's Lil Eats

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Lona Luo hails from a small village in China’s southwest, a region that shares historical ties to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The cuisine that she and husband Pierce Powers serve at this small Fox Park restaurant — and have also offered for several years now at Soulard Farmers Market — nods at each of these cuisines, yet it still tastes unique. You build a plate or burritolike rice-paper wrap by pairing smoky grilled meats (or, if you prefer, stir-fried shrimp or tofu) with complexly seasoned sauces. Be sure to try Lona’s potstickerlike dumplings stuffed with steak and mushrooms or just mushrooms.

From the owners

Lona’s LiL Eats is home to the Giant Rice Paper Wrap. We specialize in fresh Asian-bent cuisine with a soul-food flare. St. Louis Post-Dispatch food critic Ian Froeb describes us as the “preview of a possible future for American dining.” We serve delicious food, tea from Lona’s village, and have a full bar.

We focus on more than just flavor; we focus on feeling and physical sensation. We use fresh ingredients just chopped, absolutely NO MSG, make all our seasonings and sauces from scratch, from peeling the garlic, roasting peanuts, on up. Our food is filling but won’t leave one feeling heavy, with flavors so grounded in excitement that the last bite is the most delicious, for real!

The menu comprises of options that were formed organically through participation with Soulard Farmers Market patrons. So while Lona’s LiL Eats serves food in several novel forms, these forms were not creations obsessively planned, but rather obsessively intuited from the social experience between Lona, Pierce, and creative (demanding? Is there a difference?) fans.

Lona’s LiL Eats began in 2008 as an experimental project using just one gas-grill in Soulard Farmers Market. The name, Lona’s LiL (little) Eats, is a literal translation from Chinese for roughly “a hole-in-the-wall selling stop-and-go food place.” The original intention was to bring a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant into the market. Well, not really Thai in any familiar sense, but this is the United States; you gotta have an eye-catcher!