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I’d Love An Eataly St. Louis

February 18, 2015 Featured, Retail, Travel Comments Off on I’d Love An Eataly St. Louis
Eataly Chicago is 63,000 square feet on two levels.
Eataly Chicago is 63,000 square feet on two levels. Clock image for website.

During my nearly week-long visit to Chicago I shopped at three very different grocery stores: local chain Treasure Island, national chain Whole Foods, and Italian-based global chain: Eataly.

The only other Eataly in North America is in NYC. Most are in Italy, other cities with a location include Tokyo , Dubai, and Istanbul.

The Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti opened the first Eataly in an old vermouth factory in Turin, Italy, in 2007. Twenty-six outlets later, the word Eataly has been spoken so many times from Turkey to Tokyo—and now in River North—that you may have forgotten how silly it is. An Italian superstore called Eataly! That would be like an American food bazaar called United Plates. [Chicago Magazine]

Investors such as Mario Batali are looking to expand to cities like Boston, Philadelphia, etc.

i doubt we’ll see an Eataly in St  louis, but I also didn’t expect us to get an IKEA  The best location for an Eataly in St. Louis would be Ballpark Village because it offers a high concentration of people much of the year. However, Eataly seems to prefer going into existing buildings.

— Steve Patterson


Local Pizzeria Returns To The Delmar Loop, Located Between Two National Chains

Eight years ago many people were upset when Noodle’s & Company and Chipotle Mexican Grill, both chains, were granted approval to move into a building that long-housed a record store — the lease expired.

Late last month the University City Council granted conditional-use permits to the eateries, a decision that fomented a swiftly organized revolt to place a cap on the number of formula restaurants and retail chains that can be allowed to do business in the Loop. 

Such rebellions are nothing new among the Loop’s specialty set. When Qdoba Mexican Grill moved to Delmar a couple of years ago, sound and fury ensued. But this time, some merchants insist, the stakes are higher. (RFT)

I don’t recall if a cap was put into place or not.

Locally-owned Racanelli's Pizza is located between twi national chains.
Locally-owned Racanelli’s Pizza is banjo on the Delmar Loop — now  located between two national chains.

I was very glad to see Racanelli’s return to the Delmar Loop  — it began just down the street in 1994. Since first opening, this has been among my favorite local pizza places. Hopefully the Loop has achieved a local/chain balance.

— Steve Patterson


Market Open Across From Emerson Park Light Rail Station In East St. Louis

January 23, 2015 Featured, Metro East, Retail 1 Comment

St. Louis has had very little success with transit-oriented development since our original light rail line, MetroLink, opened in 1993. From the start the Emerson Park station in East St. Louis, which opened in May 2001, was different. The station includes some storefront space and around the station homes & apartments have been added over the years, a recent addition is Eco Jazz, see New Senior Housing A Bright Spot In East Saint Louis.

And a few months ago Jazz Ensemble Market opened for business:

Jazz Ensemble Market believes that food is the connection that brings us all together. When we sit at the dinner table, we share our moments with family, friends and food gives us opportunities to connect.

Serving the East St. Louis Community is our core business philosophy.  We are locally owned. Any purchase that is made in the store, stays in East St Louis. We are locally operated. All employees come from within East St. Louis. We are neighbors serving neighbors, the way it should be.

Our community involvement is vast. We are partnering with local vendors, local producers, local outreach groups to give each other a helping hand up. We are working with other local organizations to develop and implement solutions to their challenging problems.

Jazz Ensemble Market will never be on the side lines of the community.

For far too long East St. Louis has been a food insecure area, and we are the foundation to turn that around.

Let’s take a look…

The Jazz Ensemble Market as seen from the MetroLink platform, it opened last Fall in the ground floor of the new  Jazz at Walter Circle senior housing building
The Jazz Ensemble Market as seen from the MetroLink platform, it opened last Fall in the ground floor of the new Eco Jazz./Jazz at Walter Circle senior housing building
Looking toward the transit station from the market's door we see a WB train
Looking toward the transit station from the market’s door we see a WB train
Inside the market has a small deli
Inside the market has a small deli
Some produce near frozen foods
Some produce near frozen foods
More produce next to dairy
More produce next to dairy
Room for more produce!
Room for more produce!

The nearest larger grocery store is a Schnuck’s at 25th & State — a 1.5 mile/30 minute walk from the station.  The number of people walking to/from the market and station was encouraging. A seating area up front lets you enjoy your deli purchase while looking at the station, the free wi-fi let’s you stay connected.

This adds up to be a great subject for Good News Friday (#gnf)!

— Steve Patterson


Restrooms Are For Customers Only

December 18, 2014 Featured, Retail 3 Comments

We’ve all encountered businesses that keep their public restroom(s) under lock & key, requiring you to ask for a key at the counter. The other day I had lunch with a couple of friends but the restroom access was simple while keeping out non-customers.

Restroom sign & lock at the Chipotle at the "Flying Saucer" on Grand.
Restroom sign & lock at the Chipotle at the “Flying Saucer” on Grand.

Each receipt has a restroom code, the deadbolt you lock on the inside shows to others if the restroom is occupied or vacant. Great solution! I’m not sure how often they change the code, still probably easier than messing with a key on a stick or letting non-customers use the restrooms.

— Steve Patterson


Readers Want A Trader Joe’s in the City

December 17, 2014 Featured, Retail 13 Comments

On Sunday, as this poll was ongoing, I was shopping at Trader Joe’s — the store I most want to open a location within the City of St. Louis.  TJ’s was the top answer in the poll, followed by Apple Store and Costco.

Interior of the recently expanded Trader Joe's in Brentwood.
Interior of the recently expanded Trader Joe’s in Brentwood.

The results:

Q: Which retail stores, if any, in our region would you like to see open a location in the City of St. Louis? (pick up to 5)

  1. Trader Joe’s 30 [16.57%]
  2. TIE
    1. Apple Store 19 [10.5%]
    2. Costco 19 [10.5%]
  3. Lucky’s Market 10 [5.52%]
  4. Dierbergs 9 [4.97%]
  5. TIE
    1. Crate & Barrell 7 [3.87%]
    2. Macy’s 7 [3.87%]
    3. Marshalls 7 [3.87%]
  6. TIE
    1. Old Navy 6 [3.31%]
    2. Walmart 6 [3.31%]
    3. Other: 6 3.31% [3.31%]
      1.  Target
      2. Rural King
      3. Microsoft Store
      4. Walgreens
      5. Target (downtown)
      6. Dollar General
  7. TIE
    1. Best Buy 5 [2.76%]
    2. Cost Plus World Market 5 [2.76%]
    3. Nordstrom 5 [2.76%]
  8. TIE
    1. Sears 4 [2.21%]
    2. T.J. Maxx 4 [2.21%]
    3. Williams-Sonoma 4 [2.21%]
  9. TIE
    1. Cabela’s 3 [1.66%]
    2. Home Goods 3 [1.66%]
    3. Pottery Barn 3 [1.66%]
    4. Pier 1 Imports 3 [1.66%]
    5. Sam’s 3 [1.66%]
    6. None 3 [1.66%]
  10. TIE
    1. Dillard’s 2 [1.1%]
    2. h.h. gregg 2 [1.1%]
    3. Kitchen Conservatory 2 [1.1%]
  11. TIE
    1. Menards 1 [0.55%]
    2. Ross 1 [0.55%]
    3. Sur La Table 1 [0.55%]
    4. Tuesday morning 1 [0.55%]
  12. American Girl 0 [0%]

I suspected Trader Joe’s would be the top answer, especially considering the reation to my last April Fool’s Joke (see Mixed-Use Building with a Trader Joe’s Coming to Grand & Lindell Corner). Seriously, we need a Trader Joe’s in the city, going out to the suburbs is just to inconvenient.

In the other there were two suggestions for a Target, presumably both downtown. I concur, an urban Target downtown would be great — much better than a traditional department store. Not sure why someone listed Dollar General, there are two within the city.

— Steve Patterson