Photo by Gabe Hartwig, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Kitchen Sink

Late last year, Anthony Ellerson Jr. opened a second Kitchen Sink in a sprawling space at the corner of North Sixth and Lucas streets downtown — this, only three years after the original restaurant debuted without fanfare in a modest storefront by the Forest Park MetroLink station. (That location moved a year later to much bigger digs nearby.) The speed of the Kitchen Sink’s growth might be remarkable, but its success isn’t. Ellerson Jr. serves crowd-pleasing fare that also conveys a distinct voice. At a time when shrimp and grits appears on every other menu, his version — the restaurant’s namesake dish: shrimp and andouille on cheese-larded grits, the whole shebang smothered in a tasso-crab gravy — still manages to be unique, and his more-is-better approach to traditional Cajun and Creole fare as well as burgers, sandwiches and breakfast is never too much.

Opened: 2012

Must order: The Kitchen Sink ($13)