The Veggielante has had it up to here with people bitching that St. Louis restaurants are vegetarian unfriendly. Sure, we'd like to see more restaurants offering more meatless dishes, but there are excellent choices out there if you take the trouble to look for them. We're not here to proselytize about greening up your diet. Our only motive is to spread the word about places where you can order good grub that ain't got no meat. To enhance your reading experience, we've settled on a handful of criteria we'll use to suss out a restaurant's vegetarian friendliness.
Destination: Baileys' Range (920 Olive Street; 314-241-8121)
Cuisine: American, Burgers
Overview: Baileys' Range slaps the words "burgers and shakes" beneath its name, letting you know right away what this restaurant is all about. Fellow veggielantes might be skeptical about the menu options, but don't worry -- Baileys' Range has got the meat-free minded covered.
The burger menu includes a hearty veggie burger; it's a black-bean and chipotle patty with apple-jalapeño salsa and cranberry sour cream. If that's not your style, you can substitute the black-bean veggie patty for any of Baileys' other burgers absolutely free of charge. Some of the notable options include the "Blackened Blue" and "PB&J." "The Blackened Blue" is served with oven-dried tomatoes, danish blue cheese and lemon aioli. The "PB&J" doesn't involve any peanut butter or jelly; this is a sandwich for grown-up tastes. The P stands for pesto made with arugula, and the J is for the house-made tomato jam, all slapped on top of your burger with a generous portion of goat cheese.
All the sides are sold a la carte, and there are plenty of options that are sure to please veggie-lovers and relieve them of the boring-sides blues. The vegetarian-friendly sides include items such as Billy Goat chips, creamy coleslaw and potato salad. However, in Gut Check's opinion, the most interesting side offered is the quinoa salad. It's sweet, served cold with candied nuts, sweetened red onions and dried cherries, all with a nice vinegar dressing.
While we must admit that fries are our usual side of choice for a juicy burger, we appreciated the healthier and more creative options. Of course, if you're feeling slightly more gluttonous than health-conscious, Baileys' Range would be happy to serve you up a side of fries along with some of its famous sauces such as rooster, chipotle mayo, beer mustard, ginger ketchup and cheddar sauce -- just to name a few.
A trip to Baileys' Range would not be complete without one of its most popular beverages. The restaurant has a seriously impressive variety of bottled sodas, boozy lemonades, shakes and old-fashioned milkshakes. Its large milkshakes include two ice-cream flavors of your choice. Gut Check was a little overwhelmed with excitement when faced with the beverage decision, but we went with a strawberry-butter-pecan milkshake in the end. The shake was thick, creamy and absolutely worthy of being portrayed so prominently on the menu.
Gut Check left Baileys' Range feeling very satisfied indeed. This is a great place for a laid-back vegetarian who's looking for a thick burger and a indulgent dessert.
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