Ian Froeb's STL 100 (2018 archive)

Edibles & Essentials

Over its not-quite three years, Matthew Borchardt’s modest St. Louis Hills cafe has reached the point where he can call half of the menu “staples” and not be overstating. His fried ribs, which are smoked over cherry wood before being breaded and deep-fried, are one of the area’s best barbecue dishes not from a barbecue restaurant, and the french fries with garlic and grana padano have deservedly spun off their own food truck, Essentially Fries. Monthly specials make up the rest of the menu. A visit last summer featured an ideal BLT with thick slices of a juicy tomato that truly tasted like a tomato.

Hours: Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday

Last year's ranking: New this year

Opened: 2015

Must order: Fried ribs ($9)