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Food and Drink

Meet Chris Goodson, founder of Fields Foods

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  Joe O'Toole Fields Foods Chris Goodson

Few would argue with CWEnder Chris Goodson (photographed with CWEnder Gwen Sims) who describes himself as a risk taker. Opening a 9,000 s.f. grocery store at the corner of Delmar and Euclid was risky business, but the decision was not out of the ordinary for Goodson, the founder of Fields Foods. Two other stores (and soon to be a third) are in neighborhoods Goodson describes as having few if any options to purchase fresh foods.  Though Aldi is at the corner of Kingshighway and Delmar, Goodson said, “We are not in competition with nearby grocers, we are filling a need.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Goodson continued, “I want to make a profit, but I also want to help bridge the divide and drag the excitement from the CWE’s central corridor across Delmar to Fountain Park and beyond. This corner is the definition of diverse and we want to be part of that.”

Fields Foods is also committed to hiring employees from the neighborhood who can walk or take the bus to work.

During our meeting in the store’s dining area, Goodson added that Cullinan Properties, who renovated 625 N. Euclid (Fields Foods is on the ground floor) were fabulous to work with. The renovation of what is now called Lofts@Euclid into 87 apartment units was top-notch and now includes a tenant-only entry to the grocery store, touting the tongue-in-cheek (I hope) possibility of picking up a latté and hot breakfast sandwich or rotisserie chicken dressed in your pajamas. Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  Joe O'Toole Fields Foods Chris Goodson

Getting into the grocery store business was not on Goodson’s radar when he, his wife, and 4 daughters lived in Lafayette Square years ago (they have since moved to the CWE). He got into development fixing up abandoned churches and converting them into condos, and then tackled the renovation of the former City Hospital which was slated for demolition. The main hospital building was converted into 104 condominiums, an event space, a rock climbing gym and a facility for a catering company.

Goodson soon realized that the surrounding area, which includes the Darst Webbe housing project, lacked basic amenities such as a grocery store, and this might be a deterrent to the success of his project.

“Black, white, rich, or poor, everyone wants the same things. A roof over your head, food in your belly, and a feeling of safety,” Goodson said. Fields Foods, his 38,000 s.f. foray into the grocery store business in Lafayette Square, which opened in 2014, brought an amenity to an area that was blighted, and spawned the expansion of the business into other neighborhoods. A second Fields Foods opened earlier this year in Downtown West, followed by the recent opening of the CWE store, and very soon a 4th Fields Foods will open on the site of a former lumber yard in Dogtown.

Over the years Goodson has given back to St. Louis in other ways as well. In 2005 he was appointed to the Board of Police Commioners by Governor Matt Blunt, and he served on the board of the city’s Land Clearance Reutilization Authority for 20 years. He is currently a member of the 22nd Circuit Judicial Commission appointed by Governor Parson. Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  Joe O'Toole Fields Foods Chris Goodson

The CWE store was designed to evoke an old-fashioned corner grocery. The main section includes fresh produce, including lots of organic selections, a large carryout section, cheese case and a small selection of bulk foods.  There is also seating in the front window or at a counter (see top photo). Basics are toward the back of the store, see below left.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  Joe O'Toole Fields Foods Chris Goodson

Fields Foods’ CEO Joe O’Toole was able to fit everything the 38,000 s.f. Lafayette Square store stocks in the 9000 s.f. CWE store, just in smaller quantities. Goodson said that Fields Foods is known for its wide selection of craft beers.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  Joe O'Toole Fields Foods Chris Goodson

Most of the items in the middle of the store’s take-out section are made on site. Alpheia, above, is the pastry chef whose specialties are cakes and sweets for any occasion, see display case below. As you can see in the top photo, there is a coffee bar, beer on tap and wine available by the glass for those inclined to sip while they shop.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  Joe O'Toole Fields Foods Chris Goodson

Meet Glenn, a Fields Foods butcher, above. The store makes several flavors of seasoned bacon and sausages. I understand the chicken wings and rotisserie chickens are hot items at the CWE store.

 

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  Joe O'Toole Fields Foods Chris Goodson

Fields Foods has a large selection of wines, liquor and the aforementioned craft beers.

Improvements to come: Awnings have been ordered for the windows along Euclid and Delmar, which will help identify the store; parking should be available once again on the lot directly across the street on Euclid; and Fields Foods will be accepting food stamps (EBT) any day.

Cullinan Properties and Fields Foods have done a masterful job bringing new vitality to the southwest corner of Delmar and Euclid. There is a lot going on north of Delmar too. I have been reporting on that progress over the past year. If you missed one of those recent posts, read it here.

Fields Foods, 625 N. Euclid, (314) 944-2940. Open 7 days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

 

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.”