Old North | St. Louis Public Radio

Old North

The restaurant contest provided two years free rent, along with a nearly finished 4,464-square-foot space equipped with walk-in freezers, food-prep areas and a ventilation system.
Good Life Growing

A St. Louis urban farming operation is getting ready to open a grocery store and takeout place across from Crown Candy Kitchen later this month, nearly two years after winning a startup contest.

In August 2017, Good Life Growing won the competition with an idea to offer locally grown produce and takeout meals at a new enterprise, Old North Provisions.

But construction and marketing challenges delayed the opening at 2720 N. 14th St., now planned for late June. The experience has been more complicated than the “if you build it, they will come” mindset that many contestants had, according to co-founder James Forbes.

Good Life Growing operates 20 "hoop houses," which are a kind of greenhouse.
File photo | Provided | James Forbes

An urban farming nonprofit is the winner of a competition for a free restaurant space in St. Louis’ Old North area.

James Forbes and his partners at Good Life Growing will open Old North Provisions, a restaurant, grocery store and co-op at 2720 N. 14th St.

They’ll offer their own and other local produce on store shelves, a buffet line and take-out packages. Forbes said his operation will provide an alternative to neighboring Crown Candy Kitchen, known for its ice cream and hearty sandwiches.

File photo: Customers line up outside Crown Candy Kitchen, which sits across from 2720 N. 14th Street. (June 5, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Contestants in the Fantasy Food Fare competition have been sweating it out in overtime to see who would make the final-three list for a free restaurant space in St. Louis' Old North neighborhood.

The list was set to be released on Tuesday. But Nos. 3 and 4 were too close to call. Finally, Wednesday night, the six judges decided to the only thing to do was expand the list to four finalists for the 2720 N. 14th St. location, across from Crown Candy Kitchen.

File photo: Customers line up outside Crown Candy Kitchen, which sits across from 2720 N. 14th Street. (June 5, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Some lucky St. Louisan is one step closer to winning a free restaurant space in the Old North neighborhood, across from Crown Candy Kitchen.

The Fantasy Food Fare Business Competition has announced its top 10 finalists for a package worth $100,000. Lynette Watson of the St. Louis Small Business Development Center said the list represents a wide variety of concepts. (See the full list below.)

“We have everything from French fusion, all the way to desserts and soul food,” Watson said.

The Fantasy Food Fare Business Competition winner will be open a restaurant at this location at St. Louis Avenue and North 14th Street in St. Louis' Old North area, seen in this file photo.
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.

Firecracker Press Finds Use For Legos Beyond Stacking

Feb 13, 2015
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.

Youth In Old North Organize To Fix Parks

Jan 14, 2015
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, Dec. 26, 2011 - Old North St. Louis Restoration Group continues to make strides toward turning a once-declining neighborhood into a sustainable community. That effort won Old North recognition this month from the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA honored the north side community as one of five nationwide for using "smart growth to become dynamic places to live, work, and play."

Love and the city

Aug 12, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 12, 2011 - With all the pens, sharpies, post-its and large sheets of paper scattered across a dozen tables where small groups busily work creating, one might think Peter Kageyama is running an art seminar as he paces the front of the room.

Of course, in a very real sense that's what he's doing. But Kageyama's canvas is a more abstract landscape than most -- a very urban and very personal one that rests somewhere at the nexus of marketing, art, civics and ... well ... love.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 6, 2011 - Crown Candy Kitchen sits at the corner of St. Louis Avenue in Old North St. Louis. Inside, time feels like it's on pause, with old booths filled with families, a soda fountain and a glass display filled with freshly made candy.

Outside, though, much has changed since Harry Karandzieff and Pete Jugaloff first built here in 1913.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 30, 2011 - When people come to visit LaShawnda Jones at her new home in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood, they're usually shocked with what they find -- new homes, rehabbed older homes and shops.

It's not quite the picture many in St. Louis have of the north side of the city.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 28, 2011 - Around 3 on a Tuesday afternoon, people fill the tables and form a line at the door at Crown Candy Kitchen in Old North St. Louis.

Barbara Zid steps outside with her sister and family as another June storm rumbles overhead. Zid, from Swansea, Ill., has made the trip here her whole life. Nothing inside the famous candy shop and restaurant has really changed.

But outside, things are quite different.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 30, 2010 - Odessa Willis had been hearing about the redevelopment of a two-block section of North 14th Street where she once shopped on Saturday evenings, during a heyday that had become a memory, in a place that had become a symbol of failed urban renewal. She came to the party for the new Crown Square development Thursday afternoon to see for herself these historic buildings that have been reclaimed, rebuilt and reborn -- once again.