One of my favorite places in the city. Of course, I am a little biased as this is the neighborhood that I call home.
TGS has gone through quite a transformation in the the last twenty years. What was once an example of urban blight is now a wonderful example of the city’s renewal. The latest positive change being the South Grand Business District.
Instead of focusing on the quantitative statistics for this area (age, race, income, etc.) as other blogs feature, I would like to focus on what makes this neighborhood unique. Why someone would want to call this home.
Nestled between Tower Grove park, the South Grand Business District and the business districts of Kingshighway and Gravois, TGS has one of the best locations in the city. In fact the Riverfront Times just reviewed it as THE best place to live in the city for 2012.
Let’s start with the South Grand Business District:
Just a few years ago, the South Grand Community Improvement District (CID), the City of St. Louis, and the Great Streets Initiative started to work together on improving South Grand between Arsenal and Chippewa. The main problems with the area were heavy traffic, non-pedestrian friendly sidewalks & street crossing, lack of available public parking and mass transit stops, inadequate lighting, and an aging infrastructure. What they came up with blends the needs of the mass transit, the public, the environment, and local businesses.
Below is a simulation of the one section of the end result as well as the original plans for the transformation.
With a lot of the construction finished from Arsenal down to Utah and the new trees starting finally starting to grow, South Grand is starting to rival the Delmar Loop as one of the best streets in St. Louis.
The sidewalks have been relayed with a permeable concrete mixture that allows water to filter through and extended corners feature native Missouri plants to avoid annual re-plantings
Let’s take a look at some of the businesses on South Grand:
On the corner of Wyoming and Grand, you will find some of the best gelato in the city (as well a the local cleaners). Gelateria del Leone make their incredible product right out back in a converted garage and have recently started roasting their own coffee. What was once just the first floor and shaded back patio has expanded to include the entire second floor (a favorite study spot for college students). Try the pistachio gelato!
Right next store you will find Pho Grand, a well established Vietnamese restaurant favored for their reasonable prices and large portions.
Moving to the north along the strip, you will come across one of the many multi-use buildings in the city. Below the apartment (with phenomenal balconies for people watching), you will find a row of businesses. One of my favorites for this block is Basil Spice, serving some of the best Thai food around (try the Panang Seafood). Another new find is Rocket City, a vintage furniture and accessory store.
Another great Thai food restaurant is only a block down the street (The King & I).
Another great addition that has added to South Grand is the The Vine, a Mediterranean restaurant and market that features hookah on the front patio during the warmer months. The Falafel and lentil soup are a must on any order.
One of the great dive bars along the strip is CBGB’s, occasionally featuring live music. Drop by for a Blue Ribbon
One of the few businesses that has survived since “the old days” is the City Diner which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. This place for a middle of the night snack after the bars close or a quick lunch.
Every neigborhodd needs a good Italian restaurant and South Grand has Mangia Italiano – make sure and get the bread pudding or creme brulee for dessert.
On the other side of the South Grand Business District (towards Gravois) is Cafe Mochi, a delicious sushi restaurant with a nice outside patio.
Parallel to South Grand and right in the middle of Tower Grove South, you will find the up and coming Morgan Ford strip. This is another great example of urban revitalization. What started with a bar here and business there has grew into a wonderful Business district that not only caters to the locals but draws visitors in from all of St. Louis.
Close to Arsenal, you will find Local Harvest Grocery, an independent grocery store featuring organic products and local foods.
Right down the block of Morgan Ford is the sister (or brother) business, Local Harvest Cafe. This emphasized fresh local foods and does a tremendous job in doing it.Morgan Ford is home to many great restaurants and bars. Three Monkeys (pictured below) offers one of the best brunches around.
Tower Pub is one of the newer pubs to hit the strip
Stella’s Blues Bar (towards the end of the Morgan Ford Business District) offers some great live music and delicious food.
Feel the need for Speed? Drop by South City Scooters and check on the new and used motorscooters.
One of the many great local business on the strip is Grove Furnishings
Another is the Vintage Haberdashery
Making the western border of Tower Grove Park is the ever busy Kingshighway, where you can find not only some great local flavors but also some major businesses such as Home Depot, Starbucks, and Walgreens.
One of the great local restaurants along Kingshighway is The Royale. Here you will find some great drinks, conversation, and food (try the fish tacos).
Now that we have explored some the main streets, let’s take a look at what’s inside the middle.
Blackthorn Pizza (corner of Wyoming & Spring) offers some of the best deep dish pizza in the cityA Walk in the Park (Wyoming & Gustine) is the local pet grooming business
Gustine Market just opened few years ago and is a great addition to the neighborhood. Offering everything from upscale wines and Kakao chocolates to a good selection of microbrews and frozen Shakespeare’s Pizzas.
Hartford Coffee is one of the main coffee shops in the area. Offering a good selection of bakery items (scones, mini flavored breads, cakes, cookies, etc). Hartford brews roosts their own coffee. After the recent addition of the back patio and second building for the quieter crowd, this coffee shop is a local favorite.
Friendly’s (corner of Roger & Potomac) is the local sports bar and one of the last havens for smokers.
Tower Grove South features a broad range of architecture for its residential properties. I highly recommended spending a day walking (or biking) through this neighborhood discovering the great features of these historic homes. I have always considered TGS to be a great melting pot of homes – from the grand mansions of Utah place to the 2 bedroom / 1 bath flat roof bungalows located throughout the neighborhood. Some of the mainstay features of these homes include hardwood floors, stained glass windows, and plastered walls.
Let’s take a look at some of homes in the neighborhood (all either listed, purchased, or sold by Circa Properties):
This 2-story home features the classic all-brick structure with additional brick design work around the windows and roof. The oversized windows exemplified on the front of this home are very sought after for the abundance of natural light they allow into rooms.