Old North

The Fantasy Food Fare Business Competition winner will be open a restaurant at this location at St. Louis Avenue and 14th Street in St. Louis' Old North area.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis contest is offering an unusual prize: a nearly fully-equipped restaurant.

Three local organizations are holding a competition in which the winner gets two years of free rent at a restaurant space catty-cornered from Crown Candy Kitchen, on St. Louis Avenue in the Old North area. The prize is a nearly finished 4,464-square-foot space equipped with walk-in freezers, food-prep areas, a ventilation system and even the kitchen sink. The package is worth up to $100,000.

Gina Alvarez elaborates on her work with VSA Missouri and Living Arts
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The publication All the Art continues to try and fill voids they see in the St. Louis art scene. This weekend they tried to bridge the gap between art makers and organizations that show art. 

Richard Reilly

If you took a drive this fall in Old North, along Delmar near Union, or in Dutchtown near Virginia and Liberty streets, you’ve probably seen vast fields of sunflowers waving at you as you pass by. Who is behind these projects to brighten up vacant lots across St. Louis?

Artists and students gather before new Old North mural of Jesse Owens
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The arts education organization Raw Canvas debuts a new mural of Olympic legend and track star Jesse Owens debuts this week in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood. For 17-year-old Arieona Burse, completing the project was emotional.

Printing press from 1927 at Firecracker Press's Old North location
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Legos aren’t just for building anymore. 

Local letter press Firecracker Press is developing an unusual way to use the children’s building blocks as raw material to create patterns for stationary, cards, and wall art like posters. The company runs the plastic blocks through a press that was built in the 1920s.

“You hear Legos and you think maybe childish toys or something like but I think we’re able to come up with some pretty sophisticated stuff,” said press founder Eric Woods.

Old North
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Torn up nets, fading court lines, unkempt baseball fields, smashed slides, broken pavement, crumbling swing sets and a clogged sprinkler filled with trash and dead animals … these are just some of the problems facing a pair of parks in the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis. Problems area children are campaigning to fix. 

The Youth Council of Old North held a meeting Tuesday evening to campaign for the city to fix Strodtman and Jackson parks. The council, which is made up of young men from the neighborhood, was established this fall.

(courtesy Five Eight)

The Old North Restoration Group is holding a benefit concert Saturday that will feature the band Five Eight.

The group out of Athens, Georgia was named by All Songs Considered last year as one of five bands that should be way bigger than they are.

Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the definition for the term "food desert" is  "urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food," meaning that, in a lower income community a grocery store is more than a mile away. Depending on where you live in St. Louis, it may seem that there's a grocery store on every corner.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A shipping container may not seem the ideal place for a fine dining establishment, but Phil Valko knows that sometimes it’s good to think outside the box.

Even if that box happens to be a repurposed cargo storage unit housing a restaurant on a vacant lot.

“Their idea is so insane, it just might work,” Washington University’s director of sustainability told a chuckling standing-room-only audience in the dimly lit basement of Bridge, a fashionable Locust Avenue wine bar.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Old North St. Louis, a roughly 250 acre neighborhood that sits a mile north of Downtown St. Louis, housed more than 13,800 residents at the time of the 1940 census — a community more densely populated than current-day New York City. By 2000, that number had dropped to less than 1,500.

The story, if not cliché, is known to anyone familiar with St. Louis’ history in the 20th century — again and again, a grand past followed by decades of disinvestment. For Steve Marx, Old North's saga is more than just a misty anecdote, but something he lived.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Using his fingers to rake away ankle-high weeds on a plot next to his house, George Banks finally looks up with a smile after spotting something that a visitor doesn't immediately see.

"There," he says as he slowly straightens his stout body. "Watermelon vines. Got some collards coming up, too."

Whenever his arthritis, heart disease and diabetes cooperated last spring and summer, Banks, 63, spent time tending his garden in Old North St. Louis.