In Our Radius: A Walk Down Cherokee Street
By Leigh Maibes
An eclectic mix of St. Louis’ past and present, Cherokee Street is home to the city’s artistic renaissance.
Cherokee Street has been a busy shopping district since the 19th century, but scores of artists, writers, and other creators have set up shop in this historic neighborhood over the past ten years. The result: a community that strikes a winning balance between tradition and innovation, where the minds sculpting St. Louis’ future reside amongst reminders of the street’s rich history.
Renters or buyers looking to immerse themselves in a creative culture should strongly consider Cherokee Street as an option. Need convincing? Learn more about this unique neighborhood:
A Mexican Cultural Mecca
Cherokee Street is revered all over town for its authentically delicious Mexican restaurants. In fact, a section of the street was recently dedicated as “Calle Cherokee” to recognize Latino residents’ contributions to the area since the 1980s.
Stop by Chaparritos for Torta Tuesdays, where you can enjoy a classic Mexican sandwich for just $5. Larger groups may prefer Taqueria El Torito, celebrated for its vibrant dining room, spacious patio, and delectable dishes.
Cinco de Mayo
In keeping with tradition, Cherokee Street’s Latino community stages a spirited festival every Cinco de Mayo to celebrate their heritage, as well as the neighborhood’s diverse and talented artistic community. Attendees enjoy featured performances that reflect the multicultural backgrounds of the area’s artists and residents while partaking in authentic Mexican food and drink. Cinco de Mayo coincides with the People’s Joy Parade, a celebration of spring weather and the prevailing sense of creativity that makes Cherokee Street unique.
Cherokee Antique Row
The ghost sign says "shoe repair" but today, this brick cutie is the home of @murphysmuttsandcuts. (2307 Cherokee) Does Fido need a summer do? Are ya low on dog food or treats or toys? Stop by and pamper that pet! . . . #murphysmuttsandcuts #cherokeeantiquerow #cherokeestreet #dogdays #groomer #STL #supportlocal 📸: @somethingaboutella
Lined with graceful mansions, vintage clothing stores, and cozy restaurants, Cherokee Antique Row offers a charming slice of St. Louis’ past. Though this six-block stretch of Cherokee Street is well-known for antiques, locals and tourists alike also visit to check out the specialty shops full of local goods, as well as the historic architecture.
Consider taking a tour of the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion, one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the entire city, before enjoying a meal and a cool drink at one of the Row’s many cafes. The annual Cherokee-Lemp History Walk features free historical tours of the street, trolley rides, and book signings by local authors.
“We do our best to connect our community with the city’s French and Spanish heritage,” says Ted Atwood, the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion’s board president. “We incentivise local residents to visit and hold events in our space, in part to demonstrate that this history belongs to them, too.”
Cherokee Street Jazz Crawl
The Cherokee Street Jazz Crawl is the neighborhood’s contribution to the Nevermore Jazz Ball, St. Louis’ annual celebration of jazz. In the midst of four days of live music, the street’s bars and restaurants host performances, community dance lessons, and local business showcases. Unlike the Nevermore ball, the Crawl is free and open to the public, so residents and visitors can easily jump in, hear some music, or take a class.
This adventurous local brewery regularly offers eight to ten beers on tap, and their names — like “Tax Evader Double IPA” and “Chicken and Waffles Blonde” — vary as much as their flavor profiles. Though the company started small, the team realized after three months that they quickly needed to grow.
Owners Stuart Keating, Rebecca Schranz, and Jeff Siddons took it upon themselves to transform the old Cherokee Brewery stock house into a modern, multi-story brewery and taproom. The new facility, which opened in September 2017, combines historic architecture with delicious beer and eats.
A incubator for local talent, the Luminary is committed to exhibiting St. Louis’ most original and thought-provoking artists. The organization describes itself as “a physical site that opens onto a larger cultural and conceptual space,” a gallery that challenges visitors’ (and fellow artists’) ideas and expectations of art with groundbreaking projects. The Luminary has much to offer for local artists looking to be pushed by other creative minds.
STL Style House
Founded by brothers Jeff and Randy Vines in 2001, this local t-shirt shop has grown from a basement operation to a cornerstone of Cherokee Street. The store offers unique print-to-order tees featuring St. Louis neighborhoods and landmarks in a variety of styles. Buyers can also order custom merchandise by submitting orders through their website.
Offering customers everything from necklaces to cat toys, this small retailer defines itself by its commitment to local vendors. While it takes its inventory from fair-trade partners throughout the world, it frequently hosts pop-ups featuring handcrafted products from local jewelers and designers. Its warm environment and friendly staff make it the perfect place to find something special for your new home.
Since its opening in 2016, Vista Ramen has become, as the Riverfront Times puts it, “one of St. Louis’ most exciting new restaurants.“ Chef Chris Bork’s unique interpretation of ramen transcends the humble origins of this staple Japanese dish; he pulls flavors from a number of other cuisines to create something memorable. The restaurant offers many other dishes besides ramen, including a standout smoked scallop plate with pickled beets. Housed in a sleekly modern space, Vista Ramen dares residents to expand their palates and their perceptions of what ramen can be.
Cherokee Street offers a rich cultural experience like nowhere else in St. Louis. To learn more about this neighborhood, contact one of our expert agents today.