Metro-East News

St. Louis is great, travel writer says, and the best part is the City Museum

City Museum in downtown St. Louis was the highlight of a trip by travel writer Chris McCoy, who published a story about the city in Memphis magazine recently.
City Museum in downtown St. Louis was the highlight of a trip by travel writer Chris McCoy, who published a story about the city in Memphis magazine recently.

St. Louis is getting some good publicity from Chris McCoy, a Memphis magazine travel writer who has published a lengthy first-person account of a trip he and his wife took to St. Louis last fall.

The piece, called “St. Louis’ Charm Offensive,” touches on restaurants, neighborhoods, attractions, baseball and, of course, The Gateway Arch.

The Tennessee couple stayed at The Hotel Majestic, a historic, boutique hotel in downtown St. Louis. They ate at Rooster, World’s Fair Donuts, Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar and Charlie Gitto’s On the Hill. At the latter, they got to know a server named Don who had been working at the restaurant for 34 years.

“Charlie Gitto’s is one of those restaurants that runs like a Swiss clock,” McCoy writes. “It has a dark, comfortable interior and an international clientele — the family at the next table was having a spirited conversation in what sounded like Hebrew. I had the veal saltimbocca, which was simply incredible, and the rest of the menu is a greatest-hits compilation of pastas, raviolis, gnocchi, chicken, and steak dishes.”

The couple surveyed some of St. Louis’ most well-known neighborhoods and walked down South Grand, where they chatted with the owner of Rocket Century, a store that specializes in mid-century modern furniture and home furnishings.

It seems fitting that to get to the top of the most retro-futuristic monument in America, you have to ride in a mini-capsule.

Chris McCoy on The Gateway Arch

The magazine piece mentions attractions such as St. Louis Art Museum and Missouri Botanical Garden, but McCoy devotes a whole section to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

“It seems fitting that to get to the top of the most retro-futuristic monument in America, you have to ride in a mini-capsule,” he writes. “The Gateway Arch is the epitome of mid-century modern style: a simple, swooping shape rendered in stainless steel towering over the city. Since it was completed in October 1965, it has become the symbol of the city, visible everywhere in official iconography.”

McCoy acknowledges the importance of Cardinals baseball to St. Louis, calling it “a cornerstone of civic identity.” But he doesn’t spend much time on the subject because he isn’t a big sports fan and the season was over by the time he visited.

The highlight of the couple’s trip was City Museum.

“Almost impossible to describe in conventional terms, this sprawling complex is a functioning museum, with space for traveling exhibits and a collection of primarily architectural artifacts from St. Louis’ long history,” McCoy writes. “It’s also an outdoors art project gone totally wild, allowed to grow into a crowd-pleasing monster.”

To read the Memphis magazine story, visit http://memphismagazine.com/travel/st-louis-travel-charm-offensive/.

Teri Maddox: 618-239-2473, @BNDwriter

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