heavy metal

Eat, Drink, Bang Your Head, and Be Merry: The Top 5 Most Metal Restaurants/Bars in St. Louis, Missouri

Heavy Metal Crowd When you think of American cities that are rich in metal culture, chances are St. Louis isn’t one of the first places to spring to mind. It has never spawned a revolutionary scene like San Francisco or Tampa has, nor an annual metal festival that draws headbangers from across the nation, let alone the globe. In fact, there aren’t many bands that you can rely on to make a stop there every time they do a North American tour. Luckily, what does make this Midwestern river town stand out from the pack is that it has a small handful of restauranteurs who have infused their love of metal into the local dining scene. Sure, you’ve probably seen Kuma’s Corner on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” or dined there on a trip to Chicago, but you can’t find these kinds of businesses just anywhere in the United States. To find several metal-themed restaurants/bars in a metropolis with less than a million people in the city limits is nothing short of miraculous! Read up on these fine businesses to discover why The Gateway to the West is a destination that every metal fan should visit at least once!

5. Blueberry Hill (University Hill/Delmar Loop)
Located on Delmar Boulevard, which was named one of the best streets in America by the American Planning Association in 2007, Blueberry Hill is an anchor for this particular business strip. First established in 1972, it is more known for hosting monthly Chuck Berry concerts for a number of years than for any nod to the metal genre. It is drenched in pop culture in general. You'll find Simpsons, sports, and music memorabilia all over the walls. The reason for its inclusion on this list is because of the photos that owner Joe Edwards has taken with metal legends Slayer, Judas Priest, Motorhead, King Diamond, and Anthrax. I would not recommend the food, not because it’s your typical American fare, but because you can certainly find better versions of these dishes throughout St. Louis. Nevertheless, you could certainly stop in to have a drink, play some darts, and enjoy the work of art that is the restaurant’s decor.

4. Rock Star Tacos (The Hill)
If you can picture the Hard Rock Cafe as a small dive bar, that vision will come to life the moment you set foot inside Rock Star Tacos. The Hill, the city’s legendary Little Italy district, might not seem like the best fit for this kind of spot. Nevertheless, it is pretty amazing when the first business you see upon driving into the neighborhood has Metallica and Motorhead tapestries on display in their front windows. It has plenty of Black Sabbath decor on the walls, including concert ticket stubs and a photo of Geezer Butler. Like the remaining establishments on the list, their menu items are full of puns on various band names or songs, including the “Number of the Beef” taco, the “Little Rocker QuesaDio” on the kids’ menu, and the “Cannoli Diver” dessert (a cannoli inside of a fried flour tortilla). They played Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Black Sabbath during my visit, too. As the name might indicate, it is more of a rock n’ roll-themed restaurant, rather than a full-on metal mecca.

3. Terror Tacos (Tower Grove South/South Grand)
If you were hoping that we were just getting warmed up with those first two rock/metal hybrid restaurants, you’ll be happy to know that that’s exactly what we were doing. The top 3 restaurants have a much deeper and stronger focus on metal, and not just the bands that are played on VH1 either. Horror and metal go together like chips and salsa, and those two dark themes are at the forefront of this vegan Mexican eatery. During my first visit, I wasn’t super impressed. I was prepared for something more brutal than Type O Negative, and the PG-13 comedy/horror film “House” on the tube. However, the gal at the front counter advised that they toned it down during their Sunday brunch. The second time I went, I heard death metal playing at a loud volume the moment I went in and it felt like I was walking into a concert venue while they were playing intermission music. The food exceeded my expectations, their vegan meats have an excellent flavor and their portions are large. I would highly recommend the chorizo-mango quesadilla and citrus mistress taco. If you want to order something named after a metal song, you could order a “Cowboy From Hell” taco with an “Angel of Death” or “Raining Blood” cocktail. They display flyers for upcoming metal concerts in St. Louis on their front windows, and there are Nile and Goatwhore stickers on the bathroom wall, too.

2. The Crow’s Nest (Maplewood)/Eat Crow (Soulard)
This gastropub is known for its Metal Brunch that is available during the weekends. They know their metal at The Crow’s Nest. What other restaurant have you been to where you heard Attacker, Angel Witch, Coroner, Obituary, Toxic Holocaust, Celtic Frost, or King Diamond? This establishment has the good sense to poke fun at itself as well. Their slogan is “Come see what everyone is complaining about” and they even shared a one-star Yelp review on one of their T-shirts where a metal-hating Karen described the place as “just plain offensive”. The future of this establishment looked bleak during the height of the pandemic, but they emerged out of it successfully and even opened up a second location. The bowl of slop is my favorite dish on the brunch menu.

1. The Headless Bat (Tower Grove South)
When I first had the idea for an article on metal restaurants a long time ago, I anticipated I would most likely just cover the entire Midwestern region. I did not know if it would be a Top 3, Top 5, or Top 10 list. However, once I read about this restaurant being in its development stage in March 2023, I knew it would be a Top 5 metal restaurants list strictly covering the St. Louis area. The place was on my mind obsessively since that article was published because it was a marriage of two of my biggest passions--metal and pizza. Owner Rick Giordano and The Crow’s Nest owner Kenny Snarzyk came up with the idea for a metal-themed pizza joint over a friendly discussion of what was needed to complete St. Louis’s culinary scene. Giordano ran with the idea, although Snarzyk chose not to become involved beyond that pivotal lightbulb moment. After months of eager, eager anticipation for the restaurant’s arrival, it finally opened its doors to the public in Dec. 2023, and I'm still obsessing over it. I dined there just two days after its proper opening, and the restaurant was clearly still getting organized and getting its feet off the ground. Headless offers the same variety of metal that you can expect from The Crow’s Nest, and, like Terror Tacos, is very immersed in both metal culture and horror culture (you won't find a better place to catch a horror flick on a Tuesday night, that's for sure!). They serve a thicker New York-style pie. In the spirit of maintaining and sharing my unapologetic honesty with our readers, I will openly admit that there are still just a small handful of places in the city that I feel serve slightly more delicious pizza, though not many. In spite of what I’ve just told you, I would still crown The Headless Bat with the honorary title of my favorite restaurant in the Midwest, and probably the entire world. You see, according to my research/personal experience, very good pizza that is accompanied by metal music is ultimately a greater source of joy than exceptional pizza without metal. Besides, the food tasted even better during my second trip than it did during my first, who's to say it won't continue to improve? During my first visit, they played the promo videos for Annihilator’s “Alison Hell”, Deicide’s “Scars of the Crucifix”, Celtic Frost’s “Circle of the Tyrants”, Sepultura’s “Arise”, Megadeth’s “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due”, Judas Priest’s “Painkiller”, Obituary’s “Dying of Everything”, Candlemass’s “Bewitched”, etc. Are you sold yet? I didn’t even get around to discussing their decor yet, so come check it out for yourself!

As a bonus, I have also included…

The Top 3 Metal in Name Only Restaurants in St. Louis

3. Heavy Riff Brewing Company
So they have a drawing of Lemmy hanging in the men’s restroom. That’s basically where the correlation between metal music and the Heavy Riff Brewing Co. experience ends. With a tame playlist that contains more pop than metal or even hard rock, this poser pub embarrasses itself by operating under the moniker it has. Death to false advertising!

2. Tony Bono’s Pizza and Pasta
If you know it by Bono’s Pizza and Pasta, you might associate it with U2. However, if you know it by its full name and know your thrash, it’ll remind you of the late original bass player from Whiplash. While many pizzerias specialize and stick to one particular approach, Bono’s offers a variety of different pizza styles to suit different tastes.

1. Lombardo’s Trattoria
I was under the impression that you had to abide by at least a business casual dress code to dine here. Sure enough, when I got there, there were plenty of customers there in their casual sports attire. If I had known that, I would have showed up in a Slayer shirt! While we’re on that subject, I think Chuck Billy has ruined our chances of ever seeing Dave return to Testament. In any event, this is the priciest, but also the most delicious, of the metal-in-name-only restaurants in St. Louis.

I guess all we're missing now is a metal-themed barbecue joint, and it would make perfect sense for St. Louis to be the first city to jump on the idea. Have you visited any of these businesses? Which ones will you be drinking and/or dining at in 2024? Is there a metal restaurant bar that you'd recommend in another city? Let us know in the comments!

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Tags:  Metal RestaurantsSt. LouisMetalMetal brunchTop 5

    January 27, 2024

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