St. Louis' food scene is rich in culture. Wherever you go in the city, you can find anything from authentic Peruvian ceviche at Mango to British scones at London Tea Room. This past summer, however, Chef Mandy Estrella, AKA Plantain Girl, decided to bless the Saint Louis community with a taste of Latin American cuisine by opening up Mayo Ketchup in Lafayette Square. 

I have been a big fan of Chef Mandy Estrella since she started doing pop-up events all over St. Louis, where I first tried her famous Cubanos and was immediately captivated. I was thrilled to hear that she was opening her own spot this past summer. 

Mayo Ketchup, a classic Puerto-Rican staple that is used as a dipping sauce for tostones and just about anything you can think of, is the inspiration behind the restaurant's name. On the menu, you will find a medley of Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto-Rican flavors. 

The Food

The common denominators of the menu include staples of Latin American cuisine, such as plantains, rice, beans, mojo, yucca, avocado, pickled red onions, and cilantro. These flavors are showcased in almost every item on their menu. 

The menu starts with shareable options, where you can choose between anything from beef or cheese empanadas to buffalo tostones or tostones with avocado, to sorullitos (basically corn-meal fritters). You can then choose from a wide array of sandwiches from the classic Cubano with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles, or the steak, pork, or vegan jibarito, which is a sandwich stuffed between two plantains. As a side, you can pick fried yucca, tostones, rice and beans, plátanos maduros, or shoestring fries. All of the sides are paired perfectly with their house mayo ketchup or their spicy mayo ketchup. 

The next items on their menu are their signature bowls. My favorite bowl on the menu is the classic Cuban dish, ropa vieja, which includes rice, black beans, shredded braised flank steak, pickled onions, plátano maduro, avocado, and cilantro. This dish is so flavorful and comforting, and it is perfect with a drizzle of the house spicy mayo ketchup or hot sauce. 

Their drink menu is also very extensive. You can choose from a selection of house-made juices such as fresh passionfruit juice, piña colada, guava lemonade, and fresh mango juice. Finally, their dessert menu offers traditional desserts in Latin American cuisine such as the creamy tres leches, flan, and arroz con leche 

The Environment

Open in historic Lafayette Square in St. Louis, right across the street from Lafayette Park, Mayo Ketchup's location is perfect for families. It fits in with the neighborhood's aesthetic, bringing "a warm, welcoming, casual space" for families to come together and enjoy Latin-american and Caribbean flavors. 

As soon as I walked into the restaurant, I was greeted by the employees with huge, welcoming smiles. There was salsa music playing in the background, and the smell of food was heavenly. I was basically mentally transported to the Caribbean. I went up to the counter and ordered what I wanted, the classic Cuban dish, ropa vieja, with a side of tostones and passionfruit juice

Lissane Kafie

Mayo Ketchup's arrival in St. Louis has filled the gap that the city was missing with its Latin American cuisine and Caribbean flare. If you haven't yet, make sure you try this new restaurant. I guarantee you won't be disappointed! 


2001 Park Avenue, Saint Louis, Missouri 63104, United States

Hours of Operation:

Wed.-Thurs.: 11 AM - 8 PM

Fri.-Sat.: 11 AM - 9 PM

Sun.: 11 AM - 5 PM