Monday, August 21, 2006

A Better St. Louis

Almost renamed the blog this morning after reading the latest editorial in the STL Business Journal.

The Business Journal editorial was about civil discourse in St. Louis and being a friendlier, more civil place: a Better St. Louis.

I hesitated, thinking that perhaps the idea might continue to feed our negative regional self-esteem.

Last nite, we ate out at themed restaurant, one last hurrah before the back-to-school grind kicks in. The theme of the restaurant involves having an entertaining chef cook at your table. It's a proven restaurant formula repeated throughout the country.

Matt just returned from a 2-week stay in California. While there, he dined at a similar place. Unfortunately, at the California spot, the chef didn't entertain much; in fact, he hardly uttered a word. When the shrimp was done, he put some on your plate, and said, "Shrimp".

His show continued in similar fashion: "Chicken." "Vegetable." Etc.

Last nite in St. Louis, our chef put on a real show. He was relaxed, funny, and in to it. His jokes had good timing; his cooking tricks worked. Plus, the dinner was tasty, the price was moderate, and the service was excellent.

We can be a better St. Louis, but we need to remind ourselves that St. Louis is already pretty darned good, getting better, and a place where you can find 10,000 years of happiness if you try a little.

Sure, we might not all agree that opening a themed, chain restaurant in the City of St. Louis, say at the new Loughborough Commons shopping center, makes us a better St. Louis, but at least we'd have some interesting discussions about it!


Michael Allen said...

As someone who will only leave town unwillingly, I think that your advice is excellent. This city's cultural scene is much more exciting than Chicago's. We may not have that handy Dunkin' Donuts on every other corner, or a downtown H & M, but who needs those with World's Fair Donuts and the cool little downtown boutiques?

Too many "City X is better than us" arguments seem to come from people who don't like particular local culture and who measure progress in how much St. Louis looks like other places, not in how much it looks like itself!

Urban Review said...

Oh great, a themed restaurant for Loughborough Commons. You put that in there just to get my goat!!!

We do have a great local scene for food, music and such. So much so that I seldom find myself at the chain places we do have. Still, I see no problem with a chain here and there --- part of the mix.

Travis Reems said...

"Blessed are the peacemakers," or so goes the line from The Godfather, part III. Rick, it appears that you've been able to tame the savage urbanism beast within Steve. Three cheers for Gulliver! But seriously, we need more level-headed realists, like you, writing about how wonderful St. Louis is, even with its foibles.

Anonymous said...

The whole world revolves around Steve and Travis?