Photo by Katherine Bish


Pappy's Smokehouse

Pappy’s Smokehouse changed everything. Few, if any, St. Louis restaurants can stake such a hyperbolic claim, but for the barbecue-obsessed, the years cleave neatly between BP and AP, before Mike Emerson and John Matthews opened their midtown joint — and after, when a city known for how pork ribs are butchered, not how they are seasoned, smoked and sauced, could suddenly stand alongside Memphis, Kansas City and other ’cue capitals. In year 7 AP, Pappy’s blockbuster success seems preordained. The Memphis-style barbecue is championship-caliber, especially the ribs, smoked over apple and cherry wood and so perfectly seasoned that they need no sauce. (Though if you do love sauce, the regular, sweet and hot varieties are all excellent.) Pappy’s also sets a standard for hospitality from which many white-tablecloth restaurants could take lessons.