A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Proud Locals

 

We spent a day in STL's most livable neighborhoods to show you the defining traits that make each of them great. Just around the corner from each, we found residents of neighboring 'hoods who are fiercely proud of where they live. Meet each of these proud locals and find out why they think they've got the best digs in St. Louis.

Claire Wolff and Sean Riches photos by Brooke Dainty; Emily Koplar photo by Heather Waraksa; Jeff Wright photo by Lance Tilford Photography; Beth Barr photo by Fresh Art Photography.

 

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Old North

Claire Wolff, 27

What makes you proud to call Old North home? Pride is a big thing for my neighborhood. If anyone says anything negative or ignorant about Old North, residents defend it like it’s their own mother.

What is the community spirit like there? I’ve got the best neighbors in town, hands down. I can’t walk down the street without stopping several times to talk to people I know. Neighbors definitely look out for one another and take care of each other. We also have eight community gardens, monthly neighborhood open meetings, a social outreach committee and our fair share of community barbecues, potlucks and bonfires.

Some of your favorite hangouts? I am definitely a La Mancha Coffeehouse regular‰ÛÓI need my morning coffee! In the summer, I go to the North City Farmers’ Market every weekend for the local veggies and great atmosphere. I also can’t go too long without stopping in Closet Repeats, the new vintage clothing store in the neighborhood.

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Clayton

Sean Riches, 29

What makes you proud to live in The Grove? I really enjoy being an active citizen in a city neighborhood that is making a strong comeback after many years of heading in the opposite direction. The Grove’s wide array of residents, businesses and buildings lends itself to a vibrant and diverse atmosphere‰ÛÓone that I’m proud to be a part of.

What are some of your favorite hangouts? The one place I am truly a “regular” is Sameem, which lays claim to the title of the only Afghan restaurant in the city. It is an absolutely amazing place with wonderful owners, and you can never go wrong ordering the Chicken Tikka Masala.

If The Grove were a person, who would it be? Rather than any sort of celebrity or famous athlete, I would go with someone’s cool grandmother. She’s seen her ups and downs, but still always maintains a positive outlook. Her house is open to all, and even at her advanced age, she knows how to show all of her guests a good time. She may no longer be in peak physical form, but her smile and passion for life are unwavering.

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Southampton

Jeff Wright, 38

Why do you choose to live in SOHA? The location is convenient to so many great restaurants and attractions‰ÛÓnot to mention all of the major interstates. I also love the architecture, the nearby parks, the safe environment‰Û_all of it!

What is the community spirit like there? The residents here really take pride in the neighborhood, their homes and yards, and each other. Southampton bumper stickers, flags and t-shirts are frequently seen around the neighborhood and other parts of the city. We also have block parties, the annual Macklind Days celebration, Rams games with tailgate parties, neighborhood yard sales, garden tours and more.

What are some of your favorite hangouts? I have several favorite local spots and dishes: the steak sandwich or burger at The Mack, the chicken parmesan sandwich and tomato basil bisque from Macklind Avenue Deli (and of course the diverse beer selection), the pizza from Onesto, the BLT from Mathew’s Kitchen‰Û_to name a few. Also, the very awesome SOHA Studio and Gallery, which features rotating exhibits from local artists‰ÛÓjust down the street!

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The Grove

Sean Riches, 29

What makes you proud to live in The Grove? I really enjoy being an active citizen in a city neighborhood that is making a strong comeback after many years of heading in the opposite direction. The Grove’s wide array of residents, businesses and buildings lends itself to a vibrant and diverse atmosphere‰ÛÓone that I’m proud to be a part of.

What are some of your favorite hangouts? The one place I am truly a “regular” is Sameem, which lays claim to the title of the only Afghan restaurant in the city. It is an absolutely amazing place with wonderful owners, and you can never go wrong ordering the Chicken Tikka Masala.

If The Grove were a person, who would it be? Rather than any sort of celebrity or famous athlete, I would go with someone’s cool grandmother. She’s seen her ups and downs, but still always maintains a positive outlook. Her house is open to all, and even at her advanced age, she knows how to show all of her guests a good time. She may no longer be in peak physical form, but her smile and passion for life are unwavering.

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Webster Groves

Beth Barr, 40

What makes your neighborhood unique? Social diversity. I love that my children are growing up in a community full of people from all walks of life‰ÛÓfrom college students, to families in homes large and small, to retired folks who have called Webster Groves home for generations.

What makes you proud to call Webster Groves home? Hands down, no city celebrates the Fourth of July like Webster Groves. It’s truly Americana at its best‰ÛÓthe entire community is involved‰ÛÓand it’s a time for Webster Groves to really showcase the rich history of the community and the wonderful people who live here. Also, Webster Groves is rich in the arts‰ÛÓfrom the Art and Air Festival and the Jazz and Blues Fest to St. Louis Opera Theatre and historic home tours.

What are some of your favorite hangouts? Robust Wine Bar, Abode Coffeehouse, Llywelyn’s Pub, Euclid Records, Blackburn and Larson parks and the farmers’ market.

If Webster Groves were a person, who would it be? Norman Rockwell.

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