A few months ago when I was walking in The Grove, I saw blue painted windows advertising sweet tea and fried chicken. I did a little research and found out that Grace Meat + Three was opening soon.
The restaurant is owned and operated by Rick Lewis, who used to make some of the city’s best fried chicken over at Southern near downtown St. Louis. In fact, some people would argue that Lewis made the best hot chicken in city. After I tried it at Southern, I believed it.
Lewis recently struck out on his own and, along with his wife Elisa, opened Grace Meat + Three. There was a soft opening right before I left town for California and then the restaurant actually opened to the public while I was still traveling. Once I got back and settled in, I stopped by to try it.
I was going to get hot fried chicken or a sweet-tea brined turkey leg. But then the hostess sold me on the sandwich special, a pulled ribs sandwich with B&B pickles, crispy shallots, and whiskey and ‘bama sass (barbecue sauces). I’d had Lewis’ chicken before so I agreed that this was a better choice. I also ordered a side of cornbread because why wouldn’t I order a side of cornbread.
The sandwich and cornbread arrived at my table looking as pretty as a picture. I read that Elisa Lewis was in charge of decorating Grace Meat + Three and her design touches show up in the serving ware. The bright blue of the tray offset the colors in my sandwich and bread. I took as many pictures as I could before I took a bite of the sandwich.
The sandwich is one of the best BBQ dishes I’ve ever tasted. I’m not just saying that. The ribs were cooked to perfection, soft and tender and slightly chewy. They melted in my mouth. The whiskey and ‘bama sauces were tangy and the pickles added some tartness. The crispy shallots paired well with the meat.
I also loved the cornbread but it couldn’t top the sandwich. I guess nothing really could. The cornbread was on the savory side, as it traditionally is, but when it’s not as sweet I like to put honey or jam on top. Maybe I can figure out a way to get a side of honey next time.
ANYWAY. If you’re in St. Louis and you’re looking for the best BBQ, definitely stop by Grace Meat + Three. The menu is extensive and there are even vegetarian options. Still, I think Lewis could turn a vegetarian into a meat eater with his food.
Here’s a song that I listened to on my walk over to the restaurant today. It’s good for weeks when the leaves are changing colors on the trees but it’s still 95 degrees out.