Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Hole In the Wall Pizza
One of the best things about St. Louis are all of the out of the way places, some of which turn out to be right under your nose. One such place is just across the city line, on a back street in Lemay, at the entrance to the old Stupp Brothers steel mill (similar to the place in the image above).
Weber Road is the northernmost South County interchange on Highway 55, just south of the city proper. Weber runs diagonally from Highway 55 to the River Des Peres at Carondelet Boulevard. The old Stupp Brothers plant is the largest landholding in the area. For decades, the Stupp Brothers forged steel bridge components at the mill.
Closer to Highway 55, the Stupp property has a large green space and newer warehouse buildings. But down in a low-lying area, near the intersection of Bridge Street and Weber at the eastern end of the site, you find the original entrance to the old steel mill. A familiar, US Steel sign hangs from the outside of one of the rusted mill buildings. The scene is reminiscent of something you'd see in the mountains of western Pennsylvania.
Up at the corner of Weber and Bridge, you're in a time warp. Some buildings date back eighty to ninety years. One appears to be an old tavern in the front part of an old home. It's easy to imagine a crew of grimy steel workers at the bar, knocking down a few cold ones just after the sounding of the 5:00 o'clock steam whistle. And at 3662 Weber, there's Monte Bello Pizza.
As a casual observer, it's hard to tell whether the place is still open for business. It is. The owners live above the restaurant. A peek through the window gives the impression the dining room might be in the basement.
Back at the intersection of Weber and I-55, standing in the gap of a possible eminent domain challenge, a homeowner has posted a "House Not For Sale" sign on the front porch. Developers are looking at the area for a large scale commercial project.
Whether new development comes to the area remains to be seen. However, for the time being, you can still explore a tiny corner of St. Louis County that hasn't changed much in over fifty years.