The Lab Takeaway. Best humus in St. Louis. Known for their family-style spreads. Try the meat logs, smooshed potatoes, and upside-down rice. Atmosphere can be hectic, but it is good for families. Only costs a six-pack. Parking is easy in front or side streets. Tip: Put everything you can on a pita - hummus, tzatziki, or baba ganoush. Invite Only.
The Lab Experience Summary
One of the best-kept secrets, this family-run establishment is an excellent place for a family outing on a Saturday night.
I've been coming to this location for the last several years after they upgraded post-pandemic. I never actually got to see the inside of their old place.
Their food has Middle Eastern undertones - from their best-in-class humus to the sumac-seasoned meat logs.
Usually served family style, The Lab is known for gorgeous appetizer spreads. You'll also find unlimited bubble water, plenty of beer, and strategically located snacks for kids.
Speaking of kids, it's a great place to bring the family for a Saturday night outing. They have several dedicated toy areas for kids aged 3 to 8. And when it's warm enough outside, the patio has several more features to keep the kids occupied until dinner is served.
Parking hasn't ever been a problem on the street or around the side.
The Food At The Lab
The signature spread at The Lab is a chopping board filled with local, seasonal eats. Our most recent meal included fall leaf cookies, chocolate pretzels, several cheeses, salami, chocolate raisins, baguettes, mango, nuts, pita, crackers, and, most importantly, two types of hummus.
The hummus at the lab is the consistent star of the show. You'll find several types, including plain, spicy jalapeño, and some other flavors I'm forgetting.
Topped with olive oil and paprika, the hummus is thick yet smooth. Paired with the toasted pita, it's a Middle Eastern flavor explosion.
I've also had the baba ganoush, labneh, and tzatziki. Basically, anything that you can put on pita can be found here.
And it's all delicious.
I also thoroughly enjoy the Greek salad with a block of feta on top. Whatever spice they add to the feta brings me inner joy.
On occasion, I've had to bring my own side salad to The Lab. Although some may say it's shitty, it always satisfies.
While the goto at The Lab is a burger, they once had a sumac spiced meat log that blew me away. I've tried replicating it at home several times, but it never lives up to my memory.
All of the meat is grilled and comes out juicy and tender.
I'm not a fish person, but that's what my wife usually gets. They make a simple baked fish, usually a fine piece of salmon, that looks like it came out of a magazine. Topped with their standard herbs and spices, my wife says it always satisfies.
My kids appreciate the kids hot dogs and burgers. They also enjoy the free access to snacks as long as you know where to look. The owners always hand out some kind of granola bar or treat, as long as you ask nicely.
For sides, my personal favorites are the upside-down rice and smooshed potatoes. I've been told the potatoes are smashed, not smooshed, but potato potato.
Like all dishes here, the rice and potatoes come seasoned to perfection. They make the rice have a solid layer of crunch that adds to the mouth-feel experience.
The smooshed potatoes must be put through a quick broil at the end because the outside is crunchy, but the inside is still silky smooth.
The whole meal is filling but never heavy. It is as close to the Greek food I had in Greece without the thirteen-hour plane ride.
Overall, the Lab probably has the best Middle Eastern / Mediterranean food I've had in St. Louis.
The Lab Atmosphere And Miscellaneous
There's an authentic, down-to-earth, friendly atmosphere at the Lab. The owners do an excellent job of making everyone feel welcome.
Even if you're wearing sweatpants.
You get to know the regulars over time, and they all start to be family. There's always a conversation going on about local politics, extensional questions on the meaning of friendship, or third-grade UCity soccer.
There are plenty of activities for small children; it's almost like the place has more kids every time you go. The trampoline, marble run, and playground are my kids' favorites.
There's even a dog that greets guests with warmth and affection.
The service can be a little slow, but when you're paying in beer, you get what you get.
Parking At The Lab
Parking is easy in front or on the side streets. They have a dedicated lot, but it seems closed to guests for most seasons.
The Lab Receipt