Ian Froeb's STL 100

Photo by Hillary Levin (Post-Dispatch)

Gioia's Deli

Uniquely among St. Louis' legacy restaurants, Gioia's Deli has found a way into the contemporary-dining conversation. Or, really, ways: launching a food truck, hyping a “secret” menu, collaborating with Dogtown Pizza on a retail frozen pie featuring Gioia's signature hot salami. All of this is smart marketing on the part of owner Alex Donley, but I would go further and say that what Gioia's has done in recent years — not least, adding locations downtown and in Creve Coeur — is essential to its continued success. Gioia's hot salami is one of the great St. Louis foods, and for Donley and his team and diners alike, the restaurant should be an evolving concern, not a museum piece. Underpinning all of this, of course, is Donley's most important contribution to the century-plus Gioia's tradition. Wherever and however you order the hot salami, it is as perfect as ever.

Hours: The Hill: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday); Downtown: 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday (closed Saturday-Sunday); Creve Coeur: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)

Last year's ranking: Rest of the Best

Opened: 1918

Many St. Louis-area restaurants are closed or limiting their dining options during the coronavirus pandemic.