Talk of the Towns

Talk of the Towns: 9.13.17

Griffin & the Gargoyles will play the final Sunday evening concert of the season at Oak Knoll Park in Clayton. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and snacks to enjoy the live music from 5 to 7 p.m. near the pond. But, Griffin & the Gargoyles? No, they don’t play medieval instruments like, say, the lute. These dudes and dudettes are none other than the metro’s best cover band, according to our friends at the RFT. Want to hear (and dance to) Top 40 hits, like Katy Perry and Bruno Mars? They play that. ‘Hair’ bands from the 1980s like Whitesnake and Poison? No prob. Sinatra or Elvis? Natch. Motown? Of course! Now, to get the chance to hear something you know you’ll like, it might be smart to arrive plenty early and make special requests of Griffin or one of the Gargoyles. Access to parking is off Big Bend Boulevard.

city of creve coeur 
Covenant Place has broken ground on the second part of a three-phase, $86 million project to update and build anew at the senior living facility and resource center in Creve Coeur—a new, national model for affordable senior living and services supported by federal, state, county and philanthropic funds. Covenant Place is uniquely situated in what’s known as a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC): Within three miles are 16,000 people age 65 and above; within five, more than 40,000. When the third phase is complete, the complex will provide 355 units of affordable, universally designed housing and a community center open both to residents and area seniors. Slated for completion in early 2019, the new building (the second of three four story apartment buildings) will contain 102 apartments for older adults with limited incomes. Located on the I.E. Millstone Jewish Community Campus near the northwest corner of Lindbergh and Schuetz, Covenant Place also will be a central county location for seniors to access health care services, affordable dining, case management, life-long learning, socialization and other resources to enable them to ‘age in place,’ delaying the need for costly institutional care. Notably, in addition to its three floors of apartments, this second phase—the Cahn Family Building—will feature 19,000 square feet of space designed to reach out to seniors nearby. Known as Mirowitz Center, it will offer a uniquely comprehensive set of services and amenities, including medical care (primary, audiology, podiatry, dentistry, physical therapy and nursing), social work-related services, and Medicare navigation. There also will be a multipurpose room for movies, speakers and banquets; mobile library visits; a beauty and barber shop; banking and legal services; and classes for wellness, fitness and cooking. What’s more, both residents and members of the community at large can take advantage of affordable, cafe-style dining somewhat like a sports bar, with both table and counter seating. Mirowitz Center will be open to seniors seven days a week.

Prost! Maplewood is crafty when it comes to creating reasons to celebrate, and an upcoming Oktoberfest-style celebration will spotlight craft beers and those from smaller breweries in the metro. (There’s a really, really big one in these parts, you know. Since it’s not relevant to this item, we won’t tell you what it is, but its initials are AB.) A self-guided tour of regionally produced beers will wind through the streets of downtown Maplewood, featuring tastings, food pairings and chats with local brewers … a walking tour, mind you. Mark your calendar for Saturday, Oct. 7, from noon to 5 p.m., and think about procuring a 12-tasting punch card for 15 bucks, which should wet your whistle: VIP status also gets you a souvenir tasting cup. You’re just a casual sipper? You won’t need a VIP ticket to attend. Beer and food will be sold à la carte; beer pours will be in a range of sizes, from ‘tasting’ and up. Also, look for beer-infused products from the “Wood’s makers community, ranging from soaps and beauty products to breads and chocolates. Plus, there’s a special ‘Beer in Books’ section at The Book House.
(Sample: “It was a dark and stormy night. He opened a beer. I’d already had 18 bottles myself, so I hit him over the head with an empty one.” OK, OK, not really.) If you have a taste for food, beer and maybe even literature, below is a list of brews and host businesses, some of which are actually breweries:
2nd Shift—The Living Room
4 Hands—The Crow’s Nest
Augusta—The Blue Duck
Bur Oak Brewing—Larder and Cupboard
Charleville—The Blue Duck
The Civil Life—Bolyard’s
Destihl Brewery—Larder and Cupboard
Earthbound—Maya Cafe
Ferguson Brewery—Vom Fass
Heavy Riff Brewing—Muddled Pig
O’Fallon—The Post
Old Bakery—Tapped
Perennial Artisan Ales—Water Street
Schlafly—Schlafly Bottleworks
Side Project—Side Project Brewery
Six Mile Bridge—Reed’s American Table
Urban Chestnut—Boogaloo

richmond heights
The Esquire, a movie theater that premiered in Richmond Heights at 6706 Clayton Road in 1939, has changed hands. With a going price of $8 million, the recently remodeled AMC theater with seven screens is now in the portfolio of Realty Income Co., a San Diego real estate investment trust. The owner collects individual properties, among them many other AMC theaters and various entities ranging from individual fast-food restaurants to ‘big box’ stores like Home Depot and Walmart. Realty Income which was founded in 1969 and acquired its first property, a Taco Bell, in 1970—tells potential investors that it focuses on businesses that need their physical location and are profitable enough to withstand a significant drop in sales and still cover their rent. OK, but what does any of this mean for movie lovers? Will they finally put current show titles back on the marquee, which has displayed only ‘AMC’ on both sides and nothing in the middle since an extensive, ‘multimillion dollar’ remodel in 2014? The vintage Art Deco cinema is practically an octogenarian, and without the show titles, it just seems abandoned. I reckon patrons nowadays are looking for particular movies online, not being drawn in by a theater’s charm. When the Esquire opened—cue the searchlights—there was a single screen and some 2,200 seats, including a balcony. Today, the overall capacity has been reduced significantly, but the comfort has increased almost infinitely! Each auditorium in the ‘multiplex’ has large, cushioned recliners, and the redo preserved some of the classy detail: Illuminated skylines—of downtown St. Louis, natch—have graced the side walls of the main auditorium since 1989, the Esquire’s 50th anniversary. Auditorium 5 now seats 270 in power recliners and has a screen double its former size. Heck … sounds like it’s almost as nice as some of your basements. (Got Netflix?)

university city
Perhaps the ‘Curse of the Corner’ has been lifted completely, now that Taco Buddha has opened right next door to Cursed Bikes & Coffee, which poo-pooed the alleged misfortunes at Pershing and Jackson when it opened over the summer. People have called it ‘the place where restaurants go to die’ because nice eateries have opened and closed regularly at that spot over the years. Perhaps that’s because they were typically fine-dining options. Remember Perjax or Bici? No? You must have blinked. (Unfortunate note: On its website, the U. City Chamber of Commerce has the street as ‘Perishing’ Avenue … like it needs that kind of karma.) Taco Buddha is casual and quick, and from the dozen or so reviews on Yelp since the place opened Aug. 24—all 5-star—they must be doing something right at 7405 Pershing. This is definitely a different spin on an old standard; besides, the word ‘taco’ has gotten a poor connotation simply because of that fast-food joint with a name that starts with it. After all, there’s Seoul Taco—both the restaurant and much- loved food trucks. Taco Buddha, where one may ‘Eat with Peace,’ had a soft, very gentle, kind of Zen opening in late August and is open Tuesday through Saturday, starting with breakfast. These are real breakfast tacos, Austin-style.
Staff is still training in hopes of a Sunday brunch in the not- too-distant future. There’s room inside for 25 and an additional 25
on the patio, weather permitting, and we can’t wait to return for lunch or dinner. There’s ‘guac’ of course—but who wouldn’t want to try a fried avocado slice, too? Maybe a jerk-chicken taco, or a tandoori chicken taco … got saliva?