3 new restaurants you must try this June

1. Big Baby Q and Smokehouse
: 11658 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, 314.801.8888

Follow the smell of wood smoke in Maryland Heights to Big Baby Q and Smokehouse, co-owned by Ben and Bennie Welch. This father-son duo knows its way around a bird. As a thousand Thanksgivings can testify, turkey breast is notoriously dry. However, at Big Baby Q slices of white meat remain moist and tender without requiring a sauce. Likewise, the smoked chicken manages both crisp, flavored skin and meat pink from smoke. Billed as an appetizer but perfect as a meal, the loaded smokehouse potato piles a fluffy baked russet potato with butter, baked beans, chipotle sour cream, cheddar cheese, your choice of meat and house barbecue sauce. If red meat is more your game, order a pastrami sandwich with Carolina Gold mustard barbecue sauce. The brisket is dry rubbed and smoked and the tangy sauce makes for an ideal sour bite cut with unctuous fat. Round out your meal with a mini pecan pie, which combines crunchy nuts with sugary filling in a crisp buttery crust. You could share, but you won’t.

2. Five Aces Bar-B-Que: 4000 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, 314.489.3481 

The Mama Josephine’s sign may still hang out front, but there’s no denying the Shaw institution serves up more than comfort food these days. Five Aces Bar-B-Que has been serving up hickory- and oak-smoked fare in the space since late April. Both the pulled pork and pulled chicken special use a secret seasoning blend that complements rather than overpowers the meat. The chicken is juicy, tender and melts in your mouth faster than the peanut butter cup you left in your car. Five Aces still serves up Mama Josephine’s classics like the chicken and dumplings. Fluffy dumplings and chunks of chicken swim in the creamy, peppery broth. Sides like sweet, moist cornbread, pillowy biscuits and crispy onion rings complete the soul-satisfying meal.

flight at stubborn german // photo by michelle volansky

3. Stubborn German Brewing Co.: 119 S. Main St., Waterloo, Illinois, 618.504.2444

Chris and Tammy Rahn pay homage to their hometown’s German heritage with Stubborn German Brewing Co., the first brewery to open in Waterloo, Illinois since Prohibition. Despite the lederhosen-clad curmudgeon on the tap handles, the brewery/tasting room welcomes with the warm glow of string lights, exposed brick and multi-toned wood paneling. Grab a seat at the bar and sample a flight of six 4-ounce pours. Don’t miss the Fountain Creek Kölsch made with a touch of local honey, the balanced Bean Tree coffee stout and the hilariously named Munich dunkel, Schitzengiggles.