I’ve lived in St. Louis for 17 years now, long enough to answer the high-school question with its equivalent in my hometown, to open my heart — occasionally — to the gooey charms of a Provel-topped pizza, to forget how to zipper-merge and to nod noncommittally whenever I hear the next starry-eyed vision for Laclede’s Landing.
Do I need to enumerate the reasons visiting the Landing’s cobblestoned entertainment district is such a pain? Those cobblestones, for one, are hell on your tires as you look for parking, which in turn is an exercise in fabulist cost-benefit analysis. Until the renovation of Gateway Arch National Park, accessing the Landing on foot was dire even by St. Louis’ Grand Theft Auto-level pedestrian unfriendliness.
Yet the appeal of these historic, riverfront blocks in a city mostly content to let the Mississippi meander by is obvious. Even now I’d happily undertake a journey to the Landing by car, foot, public transit or passing barge if compelling restaurants awaited me there. Gradually, over the past year, I’ve come to think at least one does.