fried green tomatoes at the midwestern photo by madison sanders

2019 Best New Restaurants // No. 10 The Midwestern

When a new barbecue spot opens in St. Louis, you think you know what to expect, but you go anyway. 

Ambling to your seat, you don’t notice much beyond the general vibe. You move through wafting smells of smoked meat, pit beans and melted cheese, sit down and order some food. A beautiful tartine of smoked trout, dill, radish and smoked egg arrives in front of you, joined by a buttery petite gem salad. Wait, what?

You look around again and notice the most magnificent long-leaf pine bar. Clean, attractive tables line the inviting space. Your favorite bygone jams – mainstream rock from the ’90s and early ’00s – billow out of the speakers.

managing partner and executive chef ben welch // photo by izaiah johnson

A delicious set of fried green tomatoes with tomato jam, tomato aioli and ricotta arrives. You take a sip of the Old Flames cocktail: a perfect blend of mezcal, Ancho Verde liqueur, blueberry, honey, jalapeno and lemon. This is not what you expected. This is The Midwestern. 

With food from esteemed chef Ben Welch, The Midwestern is an elegant oasis in the middle of an often chaotic grid of baseball games, parades, corporations and family attractions. Go with an open mind, and you will be surprised. Oh, and the barbecue is great.

Adam Rothbarth is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine.