Its flagship store in the Central West End at 399 N. Euclid remains open.
Left Bank Books the 45-year old independent St. Louis bookstore, announces that it is closing its downtown location by May 31, 2013. Its flagship store in the Central West End at 399 N. Euclid remains open and continues to operate its robust schedule of author events and school services. Its corporate sales program also remains unchanged.
“We loved being part of the revival of downtown St. Louis. There is a lot happening downtown that is promising and it will continue to grow,” says Kris Kleindienst, who co-owns Left Bank Books with her husband, Jarek Steele. “We were in negotiations for several months with our landlord, but ultimately could not reach an agreement.”
Kleindienst and Steele will continue to evolve Left Bank Books’ operating model to meet the changing needs of the community it serves. A few of the plans under consideration include: expanding the CWE location, opening a second store either downtown or in another St. Louis neighborhood, and adding a coffee or a wine and beer bar to the Central West End location.
“We depart our downtown location with respect for our landlord and his vision," says Kleindienst. “He is a great advocate for a livable downtown, and while we will no longer be in this space, we wish him the best.” Left Bank Books employs 21 people, both full and part-time, including the owners Steele and Kleindienst. There are no current plans to make significant reductions in staff levels. “Our walk- in traffic, online store, growing author event programming, institutional, and school services require a dedicated staff in the backroom as well as on the floor,” says Kleindienst.
Left Bank Books has a membership-based loyalty program and also operates the Left Bank Books Foundation, a 501c3 corporation. The Foundation’s primary program is River City Readers, a project to bring books and authors to St. Louis Public School students. “River City Readers is one of the programs that we are proudest of,” says Kleindienst. “We are excited to be able to involve our customers to make real changes in the lives of St. Louis kids.” Left Bank Books also hosts several in-store fundraisers for area schools and non-profits.
Left Bank Books was founded in 1969 and collectively run in the Delmar Loop neighborhood by a group of Washington University graduate students. Kleindienst was hired as a bookseller in 1974. In 1977, the store moved to its current location in the Central West End and Kleindienst, along with Barry Leibman took ownership. Steele, who has worked at Left Bank Books since 2002, assumed co-ownership in 2006. Leibman retired in 2010.
Walking to a neighborhood restaurant for a meal is about as easy as can be, but there are times when you just can't muster the energy - or are just too busy - to head out the door. Enter The Food Pedaler, Timothy Kiefer above. Along with his crew of three bicyclists, they'll pick up meals at many neighborhood restaurants and deliver them to your apartment, conference room, or wherever you're hanging your hat at mealtime.
Neighborhood restaurants that participate in The Food Pedaler's delivery service include Herbie's,which just recently introduced a new cafe menu featuring old favorites from the Balaban days.
The Food Pedaler's hours of delivery are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Areas serviced include zip codes 63112 (DeBaliviere), 63103 (SLU), 63108 (SLU), 63108 (CWE) and 63110 (Hospitals, Medical Schools, BioTech). The website is very easy to navigate. Select the time you want delivery, the restaurant du jour and menu items. The cost of service is quite reasonable, $3.99, credit card or cash. It's easy to add a gratuity (always appreciated) too. If you tweet, use this: @foodpedaler.
The possibilities are limitless - lunch for yourself or your office-mates, dinner waiting at your door at the appointed hour, or a gift certificate for someone just home from the hospital (a thoughtful client arranged for breakfast to be delivered to her husband recuperating at home from surgery while she was away on business), or to welcome a new friend to the neighborhood.
Timothy has made entertaining videos of a couple of Food Pedaler restaurants in action, including Gamlin Whiskey House featuring Chef Ivy Magruder, and Evangeline's Bistro & Music House starring Don Bailey and Maggie Ducey below.
Alright, that's it! There are calls and faxes being made, dispatchers dispatching, Pedalers on bikes gearing up, chefs cooking, hostesses wrapping your food up pretty and perfect like a Christmas present, and you can just relax. A bicycle is pulling up and a Food Pedaler will be right there very soon!
Visit the The Food Pedaler website, for questions email firstname.lastname@example.org or text (314) 329-1213.
After a winter hiatus Jennifer Smith Schmid, left, and Susie Smith, middle, are gearing up for another season of fabulous Savor Saint Louis Food Tours in the Central West End. My first post about the Smith family (read it here) occurred after a meeting at Bar Italia that included Steve Smith, right, proprietor of The Royale Food & Spirits on Kingshighway in South City. Before deciding to launch a food tour in St. Louis, the family had done its homework taking food tours offered in other cities around the country. The Smiths felt strongly that the CWE was the best place to initiate the food tour idea because it's a walking neighborhood with a colorful history, interesting architecture, and a surfeit of wonderful restaurants.
I was invited to participate in one of the tours last summer and quickly realized how much fun it was to experience the neighborhood through the eyes of those unfamiliar with the area. Instead of getting on a tour bus, more people than I realized get to know a city through its food.
Savor Saint Louis Food Tours are offered on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 to 2. Other days are available upon request. As you walk from restaurant to restaurant, the tour guide gives a brief history of the neighborhood including the architecture and interesting people who have called the CWE home. The visit to five restaurants, which lasts about 1/2 hour each, includes generous samples of favorite dishes at Dressels, Cafe Osage at Bowood Farms, Pi, Cafe Eau at the Chase (Bar Italia is an alternate if the Chase has a prior event), with a final stop at Bissinger's. Gift certificates are available and are a really different and fun way to entertain out-of-town guests. The cost is $46 per person including tax and gratuities.
Jennifer and Susie have generously offered a gift certificate for two to one of my readers. Here's how this will work: Email me (email@example.com) with the name of your favorite neighborhood restaurant and why you love it. I'll put all the submissions into a hat and choose one. Deadline is 5 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday). ***(the winner!)
Also, readers of the blog can get a 10% discount on Savor Saint Louis Food Tours if booked during the month of April. Use promo code SAVOR10 when you sign up on the website. The tour can be taken any time, the date must be booked in April.
Plans are in the works to initiate a second tour that would encompass the wonderful and varied restaurants located south of Lindell. I'll let you know when Jennifer and Susie get that together.
With alot of thought and a heavy heart I have made the decision to close Dazzle Me Twice, 4632 McPherson (at Walton Row). I have enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people and have helped dress numerous fantastic ladies in the past several years. Most of you I can call my friends!
My last day of business will be Saturday April 26th. During the closing process I will be having a good old fashioned, but very fashionable sale which will take place Thursday through Saturday, April 17th - 19th and April 24th - 26th from 11 to 5.
Should you wish to drop by outside my regular store hours, call me on 314.367.0857 or 314.239.5818 (cell).
Items purchased during the closing sale as always are non returnable! Cash, debit cards or charge only!
P.S. - Here is my first post about Marty and her fabulous cache of great clothing: Dazzle Me Twice.
Rumors that Phil and Tracy Czarnec, proprietors of Wild Flower, plan to open a barbeque restaurant in the former Majestic space across the street at Euclid and Laclede have been confirmed. Though the news had been circulating for a while, the deal wasn't finalized until late last week.
According to Wild Flower manager David Picard, Phil is passionate about barbeque, having won several competitions over the years. He wanted to open his own place somewhere close by, but in David's words "the managment crew is basically lazy" and hadn't done anything about finding a location. The opportunity to open across the street fell into Phil's lap while he was having breakfast one morning at the Majestic and second-generation owner Pete Politis mentioned that he wanted to retire.
Realizing how much the neighborhood would miss breakfast at the Majestic when the restaurant closed, Wild Flower has responded by serving an inexpensive breakfast Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wild Flower's popular brunch menu is still available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 to 3.
David Picard estimates that it will take at least four to six months for the new as-yet-unnamed barbeque restaurant to open. Sounds like another wonderful addition to the Central West End.
For hours of operation visit Wild Flower's website.
Take a deep breath and enjoy this calming start to the week courtesy of Mark Glenshaw, the Owlman of Forest Park.
As found on Mark's blog: ".... The owlets are often perched in Charles' Favorite Conifer. Yesterday was the first day I found all of three of them in this tree. Watch and enjoy the owlets in the breeze, especially their fluffy feathers that my girlfriend, Wendy Schlegel, so accurately calls The Fluff!"
Flora Conservancy Plant Sale Sat. 5/10 8 - 3:30, proceeds benefit not-for-profit organization that landscapes & maintains plantings in Forest Park, St. Louis City Greenhouse, 5600 Clayton Ave. (near Jewel Box bordering Hwy 40/64). To volunteer: (314) 289-5323.