Green Dining Never Tasted Better Than Prasino in St. Charles
St. Charles, MO (STL.News) Usually, when looking for a first-rate dining experience including a chef-driven, farm-to-table menu, one instinctively looks to a fine, independent dining establishment. But in St. Charles, that might be looking in the wrong place. Prasino (1520 South Fifth Street) began as the only Missouri location for a small restaurant chain based in Chicago. When the chain restaurant opened in the Streets of St. Charles in 2013, the mission was to offer Prasino-branded green dining here. Although there was a shift in ownership in 2014, the St. Charles Prasino’s commitment to delicious green dining continues.
Saying Prasino is dedicated to sustainability and local sourcing is understating it. The name of the restaurant is the Greek word for green which is at the heart of the restaurant’s mission. To that end, most of the produce served at the St. Charles eatery is sourced within 30 miles of the restaurant. All the meat is antibiotic- and hormone-free. The seafood is all sustainably wild-caught. And this trend goes way beyond the menu. Prasino uses all natural, environmentally friendly cleaning products. The decor reflects this dedication to green dining too—from the upcycled wine bottle drinking glasses and repurposed cardboard light fixtures to the use of Forest Stewardship Council approved reclaimed Missouri wood and environmentally friendly paints and sealants.
Despite its origins as part of a chain, Prasino has always relied on local sources for most of the food prepared in their “from scratch” kitchen. An original partner in the Prasino chain and part of the current ownership group, executive chef Tony Marchetto has developed many of the recipes on the St. Charles menu, including the sweet-sticky Fitz’s Root Beer-infused glaze on the thick and juicy St. Louis-style pork steaks. This dedication to deliciousness extends to every meal on the menu, including breakfast. In fact, it’s worth the drive to St. Charles from all over the metro area to experience the weekend brunch at Prasino. In 2016, Lee Brian Schrager highlighted Prasino’s pretzel croissant French toast (topped with caramel and white chocolate sauce) created by Marchetto, in his book America’s Best Breakfasts, and also for a USA Today roundup highlighting his ten top picks. The delectably sweet and salty dish is one of five kinds of French toast on the menu—each delicious in its own right.
This focus on variety, sustainability, and local sourcing is evident in the beverage selection as well. More than a dozen locally produced craft beers are available on tap. Many more, along with a broad selection of national labels, are available in bottles and cans. Small batch spirits and house made flavorings feature heavily on the cocktail menu. The well curated wine list focuses on organic, sustainable, and biodynamic wines from small, family-owned wineries—including products from Greece and Austria, as well as a few Missouri wines.
Since opening here in 2013, Prasino St. Charles has been rolling in accolades, which only intensified after Marchetto took the reins. Prasino was #4 on our Best Burgers Top 10 back in November 2016. Most recently (December 2017), they were the only restaurant in the entire Saint Louis area and one of only three in the Midwest to be named one of OpenTable’s Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in America.
Prasino is open Monday – Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, they’re open until 11:00 p.m., Sunday until 9:00 p.m. They open early on weekends for breakfast and brunch from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The bar is open a bit later than the kitchen, until 1:00 a.m. Friday – Saturday, and midnight on Sunday. They offer Happy Hour specials from 3–7:00 p.m. on weekdays, and late night Happy Hour from 9–11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Free valet parking is available during peak dinner hours 5–9:00 p.m. Besides the ample dining room and large bar, Prasino also offers two private dining rooms for parties and corporate events. They also do off-site catering.
“Prasino” is an oasis among the mass market chain restaurants in St. Charles. It earns its “green” moniker deliciously with its seasonally conceived menu of local, organic, and sustainably sourced ingredients. From the bar to the table, Prasino offers fresh, healthy food at affordable prices in a pleasantly modern, environmentally conscious setting. And they make really good burgers. That’s green dining at its best.