Cherokee Antique Row in south St. Louis is full of surprises.
Whether you’re looking for a fresh conversation starter to go with your new kitchen make-over or the perfect gift to make him or her smile, you’ll head home with something one-of-a-kind.
Every shop and restaurant on Cherokee Antique Row is also someone’s passion project, and you’re very likely to meet the owners when you visit.
The storefronts in this historic neighborhood have been home to all kinds of businesses since the 19th century.
Today, behind the historic brickwork and cast iron facades, Cherokee Antique Row has a diverse mixture of general stores, barber shops, taverns and lunch counters.
Cherokee Antique Row spans six blocks of Cherokee Street from Jefferson to Lemp avenues.
Mini-histories are displayed in the windows, on fences or facades for 26 buildings from DeMenil Place west to Jefferson Avenue. The mini-histories tell about the charming Victorian architecture lining these streets, and about the children who grew up on Cherokee and about the families that ran the businesses from the 1800s through the 1950s.
John Klynott and Janet Maevers started Retro 101/Cherry Bomb Vintage 15 years ago at 2303 Cherokee St.
Maevers initially started selling vintage clothing, which has long been her passion. She later met Klynott, who earlier owned a mid-century modern furniture store.
Klynott and Maevers have since merged their two businesses and created one business, which is recognized as a vintage clothing empire and has become world-wide known for having the best collection and quantities of all decades of vintage clothing from the 1920s through the ’80s. The store attracts an array of customers, ranging from dealers to fashion to designers who come from every state and country you can imagine, even from Japan, Finland and England.
Klynott believes the most unusual item Retro 101 might have acquired would be a turn of the century silver mesh bag with Russian writing on it.
“How this bag made it to St. Louis, Mo., is beyond me?” Klynott said.
But when it comes to high fashion, one of the store’s unique items might be a black strong hat from 1950s with a Christian Dior label from New York. The hat is in impeccable condition.
If you are looking for a unique gift, you might also want to visit DeMay Ltd. at 2020 Cherokee St.
Shirely DeMay opened her shop in 2001. But she has been in business since 1991.
“When I moved to my Cherokee Street location in 2001, almost all of the area’s businesses on the side streets had their windows boarded up,” DeMay said.
Now, almost all of those store fronts are filled.
A furrier by trade, DeMay also sells antiques. She said she started to collect antiques as a hobby.
“That gave me an excuse to buy more,” DeMay said and smiled.
You might even see DeMay shopping at The Purple Cow Antique Shop at 2010 Cherokee St. The interior of this store, owned by James May, features a collection of vintage Roy Rogers and Hopalong wallets. Smith is even trying to sell a 70-year-old sign from the old Webster Record Store in Webster Groves, Mo.
“If you really want (the sign), you can buy it for about $23,000,” he said.
Antique shoppers might also want to stop at Elder’s Antiques.
A family-owned store, Elder’s Antiques features two store fronts at 2016 and 2124 Cherokees Streets. Family-owned and operated for 35 years and four generations, both locations specialize in fine antiques, furniture and collectibles.
Sherri Elder now owns the business, which her mom started after she was laid off from AT&T. After her mom lost her job, she started a small resale store, which evolved into the current antique store.
“We always liked history in our family,” she said.
Where to eat
When you visit Cherokee Street, you’ll notice the amazing food in this area, too. It’s sort of the Mexican food capital of St. Louis.
If you are just looking for a good pizza and a deluxe salad you might want to stop at Kevin’s Place at 2111 Cherokee St. Kevin McGinn also sells gourmet burgers, sandwiches, deluxe salads, and seven flavors of chicken wings. Cream pies, fruit pies and cheesecake round out the meal.
However, if you have a sweet tooth, you might want to visit Whisk: a sustainable bakeshop, at 2201 Cherokee St.
Kalen Wissinger opened Whisk about four years ago. Whisk carries homemade cupcakes, muffins, pastries and cookies. They also like to carry homemade versions of classic treats like Pop Tarts, Ding Dongs, Twinkies and Popcycles. Their most requested item on their menu might be their Pop Tarts, which appeal to kids of all ages.
“We sell a number of different flavors,” she said.
Whisks makes all of its baked items from scratch daily.
“I think there is something to be said about that,” Wissinger said.
Cherokee Antique Row is located 10 minutes from downtown St. Louis. Take Interstate 55 to the Arsenal Street exit. Go west one block, turn left on Lemp Avenue and right on Cherokee Street.
From Highway 40 or 44, exit south on Jefferson Avenue, then turn left on Cherokee Street.
▪ Bella Antiques, 1934-38 Cherokee St. Features two buildings full of antiques, collectibles, home accents and a bit of the unusual. Choose from furniture, linens, artwork, transfer ware, pottery, lamps and more. Bella Antiques is located at the East end of Cherokee Antique Row.
▪ Brent’s Antiques & Collectibles, 1954 Cherokee St. Features furniture, watches, clocks, pocket knives, swords, military items, fishing lures, duck decoys, antique firearms, lighting fixtures, jewelry, and paintings.
▪ China Finders/Interior Accents, 2125 Cherokee St. Sells china, crystal and collectibles. Offers complete sets, individual pieces, and replacement service. Carries unique home accessories, custom upholstery, rugs, occasional pieces, and case goods.
▪ DeMay Ltd. Furs & Antiques, 2018 Cherokee St. Specializes in custom design, cleaning, and alterations. Carries new and pre-owned furs. Offers fur and leather cleaning, repairs, alterations, and cold storage. The shop also features antique furniture, china, crystal and artwork.
▪ Elder’s Ltd., 2016 and 2124 Cherokee St. Features mahogany, walnut and oak furniture. Also available are silver, prints, linen, china, collectibles, glassware and pottery. Specializes in dining room and bedroom furniture.
▪ Hammonds Books, 1939 Cherokee St. Offers over 80,000 books and vintage movie posters. Also carries Gypsy’s costume jewelry.
▪ The Heirloom Room, 2116 Cherokee St. Specializes in antiques, local art and fair-trade items sourced worldwide. The shop’s inventory is constantly changing and evolving.
▪ Lady Jane Antiques, 2110 Cherokee St. Offers mantles, wrought iron and hardware items. Carries a large selection of antique furniture and collectibles.
▪ Martin’s Galleries, 2214 Cherokee St. Features antique furniture, lamps, mirrors, clocks and odds and ends.
▪ Panorama Folk Art & Antiques, 1925 Cherokee St. Focuses focuses on folk art, both vintage and contemporary, mixed with primitive furniture and an eclectic array of antique and collectible home accessories.
▪ The Purple Cow Antiques, 2010 Cherokee St. Features furniture, art glass, light fixtures, architectural, advertising, and more.
▪ Remember When, 1955 Cherokee St. Specializes in vintage gas and wood stoves and parts 1890-1950s, especially Magic Chef. Carries oak and walnut furniture, toothpick holders and costume jewelry.
▪ Retro 10, 2303 Cherokee St. Features mid-century modern furniture, lighting and accessories from the ’50s and ’60s. Also featured is vintage clothing from the ’20s through the ’80s.
▪ Riverside Architectural Antiques, 1947 Cherokee St. Offers doors, mantles, hardware, mill work, trim, lighting, plumbing, architectural elements plus an assortment of odd to unusual items.
▪ Ruth’s Vintage Clothing, 2001 Cherokee St. Features an extensive rotating inventory of vintage clothing from the 1900s to the 1980s. Accessories range from scarves, buttons, jewelry, shoes, hats, patterns and material.
▪ Bob’s Attic Antiques, 1911 Cherokee St.
▪ Bohème Atelier, 2308 Cherokee St. Features a little furniture boutique, just like the ones you might wander into while on the streets of an old European city. Lala Franklin, the everything-Paris-loving owner, hand paints French inspired antique furniture, Rococo style mirrors and stylish decorative accessories to give that distinct shabby look that everyone craves.
▪ Carlson Galleries Fine Lighting, 2016 Cherokee St. Features chandeliers, sconces & fine lighting devices that cover this unique store floor to ceiling. The store is loaded with home decor, designer furniture and gifts.
▪ Flowers to the People, 2317 Cherokee St. Features a full service floral art and gift boutique with a focus on locally and sustainably grown flowers.
▪ Marilyn Girls Unique Boutique, 1958 Cherokee St. Offers a lot of unique items, which means you will never see the same thing twice once sold out. Items you might be interested in include jewelry, custom rhinestone T-shirts, designer jeans, electronics, home-goods, special order items and much, much, more.
▪ Midwest Pasta Co., 2023 Cherokee St. Produces the highest quality product at the most competitive price. Company combines the freshest ingredients with its Old World techniques to create a variety of fresh pastas with distinctive texture, shapes and flavors.
▪ phd gallery, 2300 Cherokee St. Features inventive exhibits that are poised to give the establishment a nice big poke in the eye. The aesthetic tends toward clean and minimal; artists are local and national.
▪ St. Louis Curio Shoppe, 2301 Cherokee Street, (314) 771-6353
Offers locally made souvenirs, memorabilia, books, music, T-shirts, green cleaning products, jewelry, cards, prints, housewares, crafts and one of a kind unique handmade gifts.
▪ Saxquest, 2114 Cherokee St. Specializes in vintage and professional model saxophones and other woodwind instruments. The staff at Saxquest are master-craftsmen in the art of repair and restoration plus the shop offers a full line of mouthpieces and accessories. Visit the Sax Museum.
▪ Tina Jewels, Handbags & Accessories, 1912 Cherokee St.
▪ Don Carlos, 2800 Cherokee St. Offers Mexican cuisine, combining menu creativity, outstanding food and beverage quality, colorful plate presentations, in an impressive courtyard-themed atmosphere. Every dish is made from scratch using only the freshest ingredients.
▪ Kevin’s Place, 2111 Cherokee St. Features pizza and gourmet burgers, sandwiches, deluxe salads, and seven flavors of wings. Cream pies, fruit pies, and cheesecake round out the meal.
▪ The Mud House, 2101 Cherokee St. Offers a breakfast and lunch menu. It features plenty of vegetarian dishes and local ingredients.
▪ The Table, 1821 Cherokee St. Table features classic dishes featuring Chef Cassy’s signature ‘twist’ and delicious cocktails, wines and local brews.
▪ Whisk: a Sustainable Bakeshop, 2201 Cherokee St. Provides sweet treats including from-scratch cupcakes, pies, cakes, Popsicles and doughnuts.
▪ El Torito, 2753 Cherokee St.
▪ Taqueria El Bronco, 2817 Cherokee St.