What’s new in the commercial district

It’s been a while since I’ve assembled information about shop and restaurant news in the neighborhood. There have been occasional comments on the nextdoor website that the neighborhood seems to have lots of vacancies. Yes some shop windows have been covered in brown paper, but that doesn’t mean nobody’s home. In fact, there is lots going on. Here’s the good news:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery Salt & Smoke Left Bank Books East and West Cocina Latina Bluemercury

For instance, The Vino Gallery closed last Friday, August 9th, for “a mini-makeover” that included a few repairs, some fresh paint, and a little rebranding. Proprietor Alex Head also mentioned that they will be adding small plates to pair with their stellar selection of wines. The new art on a post at the entry is a sign of what’s to come. There is a soft opening tonight, but the big reveal is in full bloom tomorrow, Saturday the 17th, starting at 1 p.m.

The Vino Gallery, 4901 McPherson.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery Salt & Smoke Left Bank Books East and West Cocina Latina Bluemercury

East•West. at 387 N. Euclid closed in July for some renovations and rebranding after the business sold to Roy Brady, a customer of the original owner, Brian Simpson. Simpson opened the upscale men’s clothing and furnishings shop in August 2016.

Brady said that as he and Simpson chatted during his visits to the store to shop, they discovered that each was looking for a change in career. Brady wound up purchasing the business. Simpson remains in the background as an advisor.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery Salt & Smoke Left Bank Books East and West Cocina Latina Bluemercury

Owning a shop is quite a switch for Brady, right, who moved back to St. Louis from California and was working with his sister Nora at Blueprint Coffee. Brady said that the transition was seamless, thanks to Trevor Kirkland, left, who had worked for the previous owner.

Brady will be adding more brands over the next couple of months but said he envisions East•West. as much more than a clothing store. He is bringing local designers and makers into the merchandise mix and wants the shop to be a welcoming space for the community, hosting events to attract an eclectic group of people.

The event aspect got off to a great start when the shop reopened earlier this month. A former St. Louisan brought his line of clothing called Huey Lewis USA from LA for the celebration. A Huey Lewis USA design is featured on the mannequin above.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery Salt & Smoke Left Bank Books East and West Cocina Latina Bluemercury

East•West. stocks home goods too, including Boda Clay  pottery created by Brady’s girlfriend, Molly Svoboda. Prices for spoon rests, mugs, bowls and colanders range from $18 to $54.

Branding for the shop, including a new logo and website design, is by CWE-based Visitor Assembly.

East•West. , 387 N. Euclid, Tues.-Sat. 11 to 7, Sun. 12 to 5

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery Salt & Smoke Left Bank Books East and West Cocina Latina Bluemercury

After months of speculation regarding who would succeed Coffee Cartel in the prime corner location at Euclid & Maryland, construction has begun in preparation for a fall opening of bluemercury, a national make-up and skin care chain that has 30 locations around the Midwest and Texas.

There’s been a cry for more retail businesses in the CWE for years, so I was a little surprised when a male neighbor asked, “Do you think this ‘blue’ thing is going to work?”

My response: “Are you kidding? You’ve obviously never had to drive to the Galleria for a lipstick. Make-up in the CWE? I know I’m not alone when I say I can’t wait!”

There are more openings on the horizon. News is expected soon about Barrett Barerra’s (projects+gallery) latest projects on McPherson, where they are re-purposing the former Shelton Davis Gallery at 4724, and Arlene Lilie’s building at 4739, which most recently housed Selkirk until the auction house moved downtown to Washington Avenue last fall. Cocina Latina, a Peruvian restaurant, has opened at 508 N. Euclid. Balaban’s is returning to the CWE and opening on the second floor across from its original location, now Up-Down. Salt & Smoke is opening next to Mission Taco. And Commerce Bank Connect has opened a fully automated facility at 54 S. Euclid, next to Shake Shack.

Good news indeed!

With all the hustle & bustle evident in the neighborhood, it’s refreshing to stumble across a scene like the one that follows. At its essence, it’s the people who live here that make the CWE such an interesting neighborhood. It was early one Sunday morning when I was delighted to find a dressed-up mother and daughter peering in the windows at Left Bank Books.  Simple pleasures are the best.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery Salt & Smoke Left Bank Books East and West Cocina Latina Bluemercury

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery Salt & Smoke Left Bank Books East and West Cocina Latina Bluemercury

Have a great weekend.

Fields Foods opens Thursday at 625 N. Euclid

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Lofts@Euclid Fields Foods Chris Goodson

Fields Foods is hosting a Grand Opening tomorrow evening for their newest St. Louis location in the Lofts@Euclid building at 625 N. Euclid at Delmar, above. The event begins at 6 p.m. which is 1/2 later than was publicized on other neighborhood websites. 

The CWE location is the 3rd Fields Foods operation within the city limits. The original store is at 1500 Lafayette Ave. in Lafayette Square, a second location opened recently at 1706 Washington Ave. downtown.

Here is Fields’ Foods press release about the CWE store:

“Fields Foods is celebrating the Grand Opening of their third St. Louis location at 625 N Euclid Ave. Thursday, August 15th, starting at 6pm.

Fields Foods’ expansion is part of an effort to bring wholesome, reasonably priced grocery options to the Central West End, eliminating the food desert.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Lofts@Euclid Fields Foods Chris Goodson

” ‘Everyone at Fields Foods takes great pride in offering a variety of healthy food options for our community and for doing our little part to bridge the Delmar Divide. We are very excited to be part of the wonderful neighborhood,’ ” said Chris Goodson, above, owner of Fields Foods.Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Lofts@Euclid Fields Foods Chris Goodson

Fields Foods is locally-owned, locally operated, and a locally focused grocery store committed to creating an inspired shopping experience for every customer. The grocery store is located in the stunning historic apartment building, the Lofts on Euclid, which was developed by one of the premier developers, Cullinan Properties.

The new Central West End location will be a one-stop-shop shop for all of grocery shopping needs and aims to provide everything shoppers want at affordable prices. Fields Foods Central West End will offer a wide selection of products that are pesticide-free, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and natural. Many products offered at Fields Foods come from small and mid-sized farmers and local vendors within 300 miles of St. Louis. Fields Foods will be open to the public from 7am-10pm, seven days a week.

For more information about Fields Foods expansion, locations, and offerings, please follow them on Facebook and visit www.fieldsfoods.com.”

Au revoir Like Home (Comme a la Maison)

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  Like Home Comme a la Maison Clemence Pereur

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  Like Home Comme a la Maison Clemence Pereur

We were charmed when a young chef from Condé Sainte Libiaire in northern France chose to open a café at 3855 Lindell. Clemence Pereur, standing left, and her mother Christine, right (a pastry chef who moved here to help her daughter), delighted patrons with delicious homemade pastries—macrons and almond croissants, etc.—and dishes such as croque madame which drew French expats, who pronounced them “trés délicieux.” Two and 1/2 years later, Like Home, aka Comme à la Maison, has closed.

The unlikely, but nevertheless true, story of how Clemence found herself in  St. Louis in the first place has everything to do with the restaurant culture in France. Female chefs are not as valued as their male counterparts, so when Clemence was offered a job at the St. Louis Club in Clayton she accepted. Because she had never been to the States before, her father traveled with her to make sure the offer was on the up and up. She was lonely in the beginning, but by the time the job ended Clemence had fallen in love with St. Louis, and returned home to raise money to return to open a café of her own at Lindell and Vandeventer near the SLU campus and Grand Center.

Regrettably, Clemence and her mother packed up the end of July and sold the furniture and fixtures to someone who’s opening a restaurant in Ferguson. Word is that the Pereur family plans to open a cafe in a coastal town south of Paris.

There is a lot we will miss about Like Home—including the melodic “bonjour” when you walked in the door and, of course, those scrumptious pastries.