u.s. house representative cori bush photo courtesy of cori bush

Congresswoman Cori Bush's favorite St. Louis restaurants

St. Louis’ recently elected U.S. House representative Cori Bush (D) – the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress – is acclimating to living and eating in Washington, D.C.; she’s found a place where she can get chicken and waffles and a diner she likes. But she admits that when she’s at work in the nation’s capital, she spends a lot of time missing St. Louis’ restaurants. “Every day I’m here, I miss my St. Louis food,” she confessed. “I have a few places that I always go as soon as I come back to town.”

Knowing how hard local food businesses were hit by the pandemic, Bush is thrilled that she and her colleagues were able to pass the relief package that included the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, but she also worries that owners of food businesses that aren’t restaurants don’t realize they also qualify to apply for funds. “I just want to make sure that people know that it’s not just [for] restaurants; it’s food trucks and food stands, food carts, caterers, bars and lounges, snack bars. It’s bakeries, it’s tap rooms, breweries, microbreweries, wineries, distilleries, it’s inns that do food sales – these places can receive up to $10 million,” she said. “So people should really, really look into this.”

Though Bush loves home-cooked food and remains her family’s go-to for the Thanksgiving turkey – “I need not come anywhere near Thanksgiving dinner if I didn’t bring the turkey,” she said, laughing – these days, she doesn’t have time to cook as much as she’d like. She shared with us a few places that she always looks forward to visiting when she’s back home in St. Louis.

pasta with shrimp, turkey and lobster from kingz turkee shack // photo courtesy of kingz turkee shack

Kingz Turkee Shack
Kingz Turkee Shack is a Black-owned restaurant – they have turkey everything. It is wonderful – you feel like you’re at home. I mean, I didn’t know you could do so many things with turkey. Cajun shrimp and turkey pasta. So many great things.”
3623 Page Blvd., St. Louis, 314.925.8860, kingzturkeeshack.com

Burger 809
“I love sandwiches – I don’t do very many. But I also love salmon, and Burger 809 on Cherokee Street has a salmon melt. And then I always get the greens and macaroni and cheese to go with it. Oh my gosh, it’s so good.”
2619 1/2 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.899.5959, burger809.com

original palestine with chicken shawarma at medina mediterranean grill // photo by carmen troesser

Medina Mediterranean Grill
“I love going in Medina Grill, and they’re like, ‘Hey Cori!’ as soon as I walk in the door. I love how they’re just so wonderful in the community. I get the Original Palestine, I get the shawarma with chicken. And then I always get one of the salads like the Aigosthena or something to go with it. And I have to get extra sauce too, and extra pickles.”
1327 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.1356; 5 Maryland Plaza, St. Louis, 314.240.5301, medinagrill.com

La Vallesana
“And also on Cherokee Street, La Vallesana. I love to sit outside, especially early evening, because you have the ambiance and the lights. I remember the very first time I went there, they had a mariachi band – well it wasn’t a full band, it was just one person, but he was serenading people, and it was so beautiful.”
2801 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.776.4223, neverialavallesana.com

salmon stuffed with spinach and cheese at prime 55 // photo courtesy of prime 55

Prime 55
Prime 55 is owned by somebody that I’ve been knowing for years, just a wonderful person in the community. They have a salmon stuffed with spinach and cheeses. And they have these great wings, great lamb chops. It’s a great place.”
6100 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314.553.9595, prime55stl.com

Mom’s Soul Food Kitchen & Catering
“I’m definitely a soul food girl. At Mom’s, I order the beef ribs, mac and cheese and the collard greens with turkey.”
4909 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314.328.1333; 1507 Goodfellow Blvd., St. Louis, 314.389.0916, momssoulfoodkitchen.net

Merhaba Restaurant
Merhaba Restaurant on Olive – it has East African, Ethiopian food. It’s an Eritrean-owned restaurant. Absolutely so good. I go there and I get a chicken plate – that’s what I call it. It’s chicken, and I get the greens and cabbage, and then being able to just rip apart the bread just makes it so good.”
6665 Olive Blvd., University City, 314.833.4477, merhaba-restaurant.business.site/