the cider shed at eckert’s​ in belleville photo by michelle volansky

3 new St. Louis-area places to try this month

The Cider Shed & Mr. E’s Cider Donut & Custard Shop
Two fresh offerings give both first-time visitors and habitual fruit-pickers ample reason to pay a visit to Eckert’s this summer. The Cider Shed showcases the fruits of the Belleville farm’s foray into hard cider, produced in partnership with Brick River Cider Co. Standouts include the apple Roadcider and the strawberry-infused Well Red. In addition to five Eckert’s ciders on draft, there are ciders from other family farms across the country. The Cider Shed also offers a menu of appetizers and dishes, including cider-braised hot dogs, pretzels with hard cider fondue and brisket nachos, while the covered beer garden and stage can host live music shows for hundreds of guests.
A few yards away is Mr. E’s Cider Donut & Custard Shop, where Eckert’s cider doughnuts are now available year-round in addition to a variety of frozen custards and concretes. Kids of all ages will enjoy the doughnut sundae, which features Eckert’s frozen custard between a sliced doughnut.
951 S. Green Mount Road, Belleville, 618.310.2758,

eckert’s cider doughnuts from mr. e’s cider donut & custard shop // photo by michelle volansky

While ‘Ssippi’s more playful decorative elements will make you smile, the white wall tiles, tables and bar top establish a neutral ambiance that sets the stage for the wine. Ten natural wines are available by the glass in a vibrant assortment of colors that may surprise you if you’re trying natural wine for the first time. Dive in with something like Slovenia’s cloudy and bubbly Kobal Bajta Muscat, or ask for a recommendation. If you feel like committing, there are bottled wines that you can take home or open at the bar for a corkage fee. You may want to have dinner before your visit, but don’t overlook ‘Ssippi’s tight selection of bar snacks; it would be a shame to miss out on the buttery Sicilian Castelvetrano olives and Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery sourdough with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.
2926 Cherokee St., St. Louis,

'ssippi co-owner brogan drissell // photo by michelle volansky

Cleaver & Cocktail
The space at Cleaver & Cocktail, furnished with plush chairs, cool light fixtures and a sunken bar, is reason enough to visit. Choose from classic cocktails like a French 75 or Manhattan. On the food side, the menu features seasonal produce like the heirloom tomatoes, a salad with juicy pieces of tomato over puréed avocado, topped with Parmesan cheese, radish and edamame. A drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette added sweetness and punch to this fresh dish. The crispy fried rock shrimp with pickled peppers and spicy remoulade was crunchy, briny, spicy and salty; it's a dish that wants a cocktail. The whole menu comes across as thoughtful, which is no surprise considering chef-owner Marc Del Pietro (who also owns The Block) has experience working for acclaimed chefs like Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud.
13360 Clayton Road, Suite 104, Town & Country, 314.530.9700,

Editor's Note: This story was edited on April 26, 2023, to update 'Ssippi's contact information.