Ian Froeb's STL 100

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Southwest Diner

When Southwest Diner opened in 2012, the New Mexican restaurant already looked and felt like an established neighborhood spot. Crowds soon descended, especially on weekends. Owners Jonathan Jones and Anna Sidel haven't taken the popularity for granted, and from year to year, my appreciation for the cooking here has only grown. The green-chile cheeseburger has transformed into one of the best of St. Louis' skinnier, lacy-edged burgers, a distinction for which there is some competition these days. From carne adovada, posole and other signature dishes to seemingly slight but actually ingenious fare such as faux Tater Tots made from stone-ground grits, cheese and jalapeño, Southwest Diner hasn't simply fulfilled its neighborhood-spot promise — it has transcended it.

Hours: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Last year's ranking: Rest of the Best

Opened: 2012

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