While Joe’s Chili Bowl at The Terrace View draws inspiration from Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C., it seems to aspire to be a Shake Shack - St. Louis native Danny Meyer's burger and hot dog joint that holds court on the southern side of Madison Square Park in New York City.
In addition to the menu similarities, both share similar locations as well: strategically situated in inspired urban settings - recently reinvigorated city parks to be exact - in neighborhoods surrounded with well-healed office dwellers, locals who call it home and visitors making their way to the local attractions.
So for lunch or a snack before a Cardinals' day game, what should visitors to Joe's Chili Bowl be on the look out for? For starters, the chili. Ground beef and beans swim in a thick sauce that is hearty, yet lacks the spice some look for in chili. Of note: if you enjoy testing the upper limits of the Scoville scale when you tuck into a bowl of chili, you'll probably find yourself asking of the the hot sauce. Four-alarm chili this is not.
While a bowl of it stands on its own as meal, it shines when paired with a quarter-pound all-beef frank, served open faced in a basket. The well-dressed among us would do well to knife and fork this chili dog, though, as it is almost impossible to pick up and eat.
The Downtown Dog pays homage to Chicago with neon-green relish, chopped onion, sport peppers, pickles, tomato and celery salt, but varies from the Windy City staple by foregoing the steamed bun in favor of a lightly toasted poppy seed bun. Cardinals' fans hesitating to down a Cubs dog on game day can opt for the "Arch" Dog, topped with grilled onions and peppers on garlic and cheese bread.
It's spring St. Louis - one of the best times of the year to eat outside - and there may be no better outdoor lunch spot than a seat with a garden view at Joe's Chili Bowl.
808 Chestnut Street, 314.241.7070, joeschilibowl.com