Ian Froeb's STL 100

Photo by Laurie Skrivan (Post-Dispatch)

The Last Kitchen

A great hotel shouldn't just be for tourists. In a dense, urban setting, it should also be an essential civic space. The new Last Hotel in the former International Shoe Co. building in downtown west seems to understand this. The stunning lobby doesn't offer another perfunctory hotel restaurant and bar; it invites you into a showcase for rising star Evy Swoboda, former chef de cuisine of Pastaria. At the Last Kitchen, Swoboda impresses with casual bar fare (plump toasted ravioli with boudin, the signature smoked and fried Buffalou Chicken Bites), wood-fired pizzas and more formal dinner plates (on my visits, the highlight was a dry-aged duck breast over smoked-mushroom spaetzle). The kitchen also provides bites for the hotel's rooftop bar.

Hours: Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily

Last year's ranking: New this year

Opened: 2019

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