The Ten Most Important St. Louis Restaurant Openings of the Aughts #8: Iron Barley (2003)

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Iron Barley (2003)

Tom Coghill's laidback -- but decidedly not quiet -- restaurant has enjoyed a recent surge in interest thanks to its appearance on the Food Network's megapopular Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It's the rare case when I don't want to kick host Guy Fieri in his Rocky Mountain oysters: Iron Barley deserves publicity for its incredible selection of oak-roasted meats, "sammiches" and cast iron-seared fare. And it demands praise for being a forerunner of one of this decade's best trends: restaurants that sate our love of unassuming neighborhood spots yet offer us something different from and, yes, better than the typical bar menu. Think Blues City Deli, Stellina Pasta Café and the late and much-missed Pitted Olive. It's almost enough to make Fieri's goofy mug tolerable. Almost.

5510 Virginia Avenue; 314-351-4500; website

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