taste of st. louis returns to downtown stl for the 2019 event. photo courtesy taste of st. louis

Taste of St. Louis returns to downtown Sept. 13 to 15

Taste of St. Louis will be better than ever when it returns to its birthplace in downtown St. Louis Sept. 13 to 15 at Soldiers Memorial Plaza. 

“Moving the event back to the downtown area was top priority for us and, had that not been an option, Taste It Productions would not have acquired the event,” said Chuck Justus, executive director of the festival, which was held in Chesterfield the past several years. “We wanted the new programming to reach a greater audience and give everyone something to take home and make a positive difference in their lives.” 

Many elements, like the Chef Battle Royale (eight chefs competing throughout the weekend) and Sauce Magazine’s Restaurant Row (about 40 hand-picked restaurants like The Midwestern, Kimchi Guys and The Cup showcasing the best of The Lou), remain the same as previous years, but there are new aspects too, like the Heathy@Home area. 

watch returning champ chef thu rein oo defend his title at the chef battle royale culinary competition // photo by jon gitchoff

“Studies show cancer, obesity and diabetes all have ties back to what we eat,” Justus said. “We believe people want healthy options, but with fast-paced lives, there is a conflict. Healthy@Home is the place where we hope everyone walks away with something useful they can implement in their routine to improve health. They can also catch one of the cooking demonstrations or sample new products made right here in St. Louis.” 

Through its new motto, the free event, now in its 15th year, will help “educate, elevate and celebrate” the community. 

“We ‘educate’ on healthy meal prep plans and where to find locally sourced meats and produce at Healthy@Home,” he said. “We ‘elevate’ our local, food-centric entrepreneurs, small businesses serving healthy options and great local organizations like Lift For Life Gym and St. Louis Area Foodbank, both financially and through exposure. And we ‘celebrate’ what our town has to offer and bring people together with one thing we all need: good, healthy food.” 

In addition to myriad tasty bites, the event boasts an improved beverage selection this year, featuring craft and frozen cocktails, a unique wine selection and plenty of staple and craft beers. 

“This year, we are not selling water,” Justus said. “You can bring an empty, reusable water container and fill it for free at one of our hydration stations. We are also reducing single-use plastic. No plastic bottles will be sold, and fountain soda and draft beer will be sold in compostable cups.” 

A great lineup of musicians rounds out the festivities, with local faves like Cara Louise, Al Holliday, Illphonics and many more serenading the crowd throughout the weekend. 

“I don't believe you will be able to see this many local artists in one place for free anywhere else in St. Louis,” Justus said. 

And if downtown parking is a concern (although there is plenty of free parking available), the festival is held just steps away from the Metrolink station at Enterprise Center, where there will be a ride-share drop-off and pick-up area. 

For more information and a list of what is allowed in the festival, visit tastestl.com.

Lauren Healey is associate editor at Sauce Magazine. 

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of Taste of St. Louis. 

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