Undoubtedly, St. Louis is excited about the opening of the first full-service grocery store in downtown St. Louis since Schnucks abandoned their store on Cass in the 1990s. The Culinaria will open in the Old Post Office garage, nee Century Building, and will be run by none other than Schnucks. The hours are impressive (6am - 10pm daily). Parking is validated on one level of the garage above. Prices, from preliminary reports, will be similar to those at other stores, if not the same.
If the Century Building had not been sacrificed to provide space and free parking for such a store, I'd be unabashedly ecstatic with all the rest. I'm still pleased, despite the resonant negativity, that downtown St. Louis is, with each passing day, becoming a more and more livable neighborhood.
Yet I'm extremely excited that one of my favorite St. Louis neighborhoods will be getting its own market. Pointer's, at 2901 Salena in Benton Park, is set to open in two weeks according to its owner (as reported by Sauce Magazine's blog here). At 12,000 square feet, Pointer's will be a bit less than half the size of Culinaria, but will offer meat, produce, and dairy departments.
Check out their building:
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This is urbanism at its best. Notice that there is no parking above; the building is a mixed use building with apartments on the second story and residential buildings all around. This market has the potential to do at least as much for Benton Park (and surrounding neighborhoods) as Culinaria will do for downtown.
South Siders have little choice but to jump in cars to autocentric grocery stories at unfortunately unsightly and large intersections, such as the Schnucks at Grand and Gravois or the Shop N Save in Gravois Plaza. The markets offer all the same fixings as their suburban counterparts--free and plentiful parking, a big box store, and yes, the same prices. Yet it's walkable neighborhood markets that seem a real value-added to urban neighborhoods. Instead of a depressing shopping experience at Grand and Gravois, I could pay a bit more on goods and spare myself the drive altogether. To me, this experience is truly more valuable than what's on the price tag of whatever I'm purchasing.
Congratulations, Benton Park, at continuing your path towards becoming St. Louis's most urban neighborhood!
Everyone's A Critic
10 hours ago