Photo by David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Three Flags Tavern

It’s difficult to convey exactly what makes Three Flags Tavern so special. Even naming it the best new restaurant of 2014, as I did, doesn’t quite capture it. The menu looks familiar, though the quality of Three Flags’ versions of such ubiquitous dishes as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, lobster rolls both hot and cold and, of course, a burger, sets it apart. The space, decked out in dark wood and warm colors, overseen by a large historical map of the United States, is a significant part of the charm. More so is the spell of hospitality cast by chef John O’Brien, his wife, Cathy, and their staff. (Though the staff is now without talented chef de cuisine Scott Davis, who left in February.) In my original review, I said Three Flags was close to the perfect neighborhood restaurant. I believe this more now. The O’Briens make Three Flags feel like home, no matter where you’ve come from.

Last year's ranking: Unranked

Opened: 2014

Must order: Lobster beignets ($12.75)