All Along Cherokee
FASHION DESIGNER BRANDIN VAUGHN ON CULTURE, COFFEE SHOPS, AND CLOTHES
In 2018, fashion designer Brandin Vaughn opened his shop, Brandin Vaughn Collection, on Cherokee Street. He loves the vibrant art and community that he’s found there, so much so that Vaughn is serving as the chair of the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District’s board of directors, a group that’s working to help make the area a great place for residents, entrepreneurs, and visitors.
What do you love about the area? It reminds me of the neighborhood I grew up in as a child. It’s a grassroots business district but still a residential place. I love that I’m surrounded by small businesses and young entrepreneurs, and they are in the same position as I am: just trying to launch a successful career for themselves. And then you have food and entertainment and vibrant people. There’s culture on every corner.
Where do you like to shop? As far as fashion, of course, my store. [Laughs.] But then you have my homegirl Anni [Jones] at Mesa Home. I’ve known Anni for years, and now we have shops across the street from each other. Then you’ve got Profield Reserve down the street. I get a lot of my workout clothes from there, and they throw hip parties. Profield is definitely bringing a lot of culture to the street in terms of fashion and entertainment.
Where do you like to eat on Cherokee Street? Next door at Teatopia. I’m always getting smoothies. [The owner] has a collection of teas—I think it’s over 100 that you can pick from to take home or drink there. I often have meetings there. Also, Saint Louis Hop Shop. When you go in, it’s almost like going to a wine tasting. You are able to talk to them about what’s on tap and try beers before you make a purchase. When I’m hungry and I just want some home cooking like my momma cooked, I definitely have [to go] to Burger 809. [Owner Tasha Smith] has greens, macaroni and cheese, salmon sliders. It’s amazing how she’s doing this in a place that’s so small. Of course, I like all the Mexican places, especially Taco Tuesday at The Taco & Ice Cream Joint.
Are there any coffee shops you enjoy? I’m not a coffee drinker, but Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop is incredible. I threw a coat drive last year where I gave away 200-plus coats. Whisk came down and sponsored about 600 cookies for that event. That’s another reason I love this community. We are in touch with the surrounding residents, and we’re active in the community and helping people.
What’s the best St. Louis gift you’ve ever received?
“My best friend from high school sent me two onesies from Ted Drewes for my new kiddos, which made me smile.”
—Derek Blasberg, head of fashion and beauty content partnerships at YouTube
A Day in Kirkwood
KARR BICK KITCHEN & BATH’S JENNY RAUSCH ON SHOPPING, DINING, AND LIVING IN THE FAMILY-FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD.
Jenny Rausch, president and owner of Karr Bick Kitchen & Bath, has lived in Kirkwood for 16 years, and her whole family—dog included—regularly walks to downtown Kirkwood. For Rausch, a great day spent in Kirkwood includes shopping at some of her favorite stores. She only uses handmade soaps from sammysoap, and she often shops for presents there as well. Down the street, she frequently pops into Rusted Chandelier and Christopher’s for home goods and gifts. “Every year, Christopher’s is where I buy a lot of my employee presents, just because they have a wide variety of things,” she says. “They spend a lot of time finding unique things that are affordable.”
When she’s looking for clothing, Rausch checks out Blush Boutique and MOD on Trend. “I run a business, and I have three children, so I am constantly finding myself with a lack of time,” she says. “The glory of these little shops is you can pull up right at the front door, and they have these curated collections. Only the greatest stuff is on their shelves or on their racks. It just makes it really easy.”
After an afternoon spent shopping, the family’s No. 1 choice for dinner is Club Taco, where they love to sit on the patio with their dog and eat street tacos. For dessert, they often head to Andy’s Frozen Custard or Tropical Moose Shaved Ice—both offer an option for canine companions. Tropical Moose is located at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market, which is where Rausch likes to shop for produce. The family also makes a yearly outing to the farmers’ market to pick out their Christmas tree and get baked goods from the holiday shop.
“Anything that revolves around sugar or chips and cheese, that’s my kids,” Rausch says. “My kids walk around Kirkwood with their friends all the time, and it’s great. There are plenty of places for them to go.”
What’s the best St. Louis gift you’ve ever received?
“I was once given a gift card to Hotel St. Louis on 7th and Olive! I used it to buy a Mother’s Day spread for myself and my mom during the height of the pandemic.”
—Carol Daniel, KMOX
These locally owned shops have settled into new storefronts.
The sisters behind Golden Gems recently moved from Cherokee Street to 3108 Locust Street in Midtown, where they have 5,600 square feet to showcase their custom-made apparel and décor. The cheeky brand’s former storefront has already been filled by Assassin Vintage, which will bring shoppers the same level of cool with its handpicked vintage threads. After years of running There She Goes out of her home, Sheila Stewart has her own storefront at 9930 Manchester in Warson Woods; it stocks carefully curated apparel, jewelry, and accessories. The former Seta space at 2207 S. 39th Street is now LoKey Designs, Laura Dooley’s plant shop and studio. Sofi Seck’s Expedition Subsahara has moved to 830 Fee Fee in Maryland Heights, where you can find handmade woven baskets that are colorful and authentically Senegalese.
Crossing Clayton and Ladue
AS A REALTOR, ALEX THORNHILL KNOWS THE LAY OF THE LAND.
Alex Thornhill, a Realtor with Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty, loves Clayton/Ladue so much that she both lives and works there. “We are minutes from downtown and the Central West End,” she says, though the area is still walkable and has a small-town feel. “A lot of the charming architecture has been preserved, which gives the area a very homey feel.” Here are a few of her favorite places to eat and shop.
1. twigs & MOSS: When decorating her home and garden, especially during the holidays, Thornhill heads to this Clayton Road florist and lifestyle shop. “My favorite twigs & MOSS purchases are the giant light-up spheres,” she says. “I have them in multiple sizes, and I keep them plugged in all year round.”
2. Lusso: The shop bills itself as “an emporium, a mercantile, [and] the world’s smallest department store.” It carries an array of jewelry, clothing, gifts, and home décor, as well as an impressive selection of greeting cards.
3. The Wine and Cheese Place: This family-owned store boasts more than 3,000 wines and 1,200 beers, in addition to its spirits, cheeses, and gifts. This is Thornhill’s go-to spot when shopping for her husband, putting together a gift basket, or hosting a dinner party.
4. Casa Don Alfonso: Since recently opening inside The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis, the restaurant has quickly become Thornhill’s favorite lunch spot. “It just has an incredible, light vibe to it,” she says of the restaurant’s southern Italian cuisine and atmosphere.
5. AUDRA: Designer Audra Danielle Noyes originally came to St. Louis as part of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund’s inaugural class of designers. In September 2020, Noyes opened her atelier on Clayton Road and became one of Thornhill’s preferred spots for high-end clothing.
6. Deer Creek Coffee: This locally owned coffeeshop serves breakfast and lunch options alongside sustainable coffees and teas. “It’s a great meeting spot, whether I’m having a quick business conversation or catching up with a friend,” Thornhill says.
7. Sallie Home: For linens, bedding, and tableware, Thornhill heads to this Ladue shop, which stocks quality home products from dozens of brands.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
More noteworthy stores across the region
This Alton store’s sustainable style is comfortable but elevated, with neutral colors and subtle patterns. From chunky cardigans to flared pants and more, this affordable streetwear brings retro styles into the present.
This Webster Groves boutique offers classic, minimalist clothes and accessories at reasonable prices, as well as a line of self-care products.
Killing bad vibes with comfortable, handcrafted, and locally sourced clothes is at the core of this Waterloo store’s mission. It’s filled with bold slogans, bright colors, and a signature smiley face on everything from graphic tees to accessories.
LEE CAGLE ON THE JOYS OF THE CENTRAL WEST END
When Lee Cagle moved to St. Louis in 2006, she and her husband lived in a couple of different areas before settling in the Central West End. Today she’s the co-manager at Central West End Farm, which was started in a vacant lot and now provides organic fruits and vegetables to local food pantries. She calls her adopted neighborhood “charming” and loves its beautiful architecture, interesting people, and fun places to shop and dine.
What do you love about the Central West End? It’s really walkable. There are grocery stores, shopping, Bowood Farms, great restaurants. You don’t have to go very far. You don’t have to get on a highway to find whatever you need. I don’t like driving very much, so it’s really nice.
What are some of your favorite places to shop? The place I visit the most is Bowood Farms. Since I manage the farm, we get a lot of our plants and most of our supplies there. So I’m there, like, twice a week, in addition to sneaking plants home all the time. And Holliday is a cute shop across the street. If you need a gift for someone, it has really nice jewelry, a lot of locally made items, and the cutest selection of cards for any occasion. Then down the street is St. Louis Art Supply. My daughter usually needs art supplies, so I try to do everything in one trip.
Where does your family like to eat? Brasserie [by Niche] is our favorite restaurant. We go there if we have something to celebrate. The service is amazing, and they are super accommodating for kids. My daughter orders the mac ‘n’ cheese off menu during brunch. I’m also hoping that one day soon my husband and I can get some patio seats and do a date night at Taste [by Niche. Before the pandemic, that was one of our favorite places to go. The drinks are amazing. We like Juniper, too. It’s one of the best fried-chicken places in town.
Any other favorite spots? Left Bank Books. Between Left Bank Books and the library, you’ve got that pastime covered. I like their author talks. They’ve had some cool authors come to town. They can get any book you want, so you don’t have to order off Amazon. They’ve also got really cool used books downstairs. From there, we can walk or ride our bikes home.
What’s the best St. Louis gift you’ve ever received?
“Hands down the best gift from St. Louis is the Bissinger’s chocolate gooey butter cake from Companion Bakehouse. They ship it everywhere, and people go nuts for it.”
—Andy Cohen, host/executive producer, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen
THE PERFECT PRESENT
Looking for the ideal St. Louis gift? We’re here to help, with options for a range of interests and price points.
1. For the soccer enthusiast Vintage soccer short-sleeve T-shirt, $28. Series Six. 2. For the future storyteller Toniebox, $99.99. Circle of Knowledge. 3. For the friend who just bought a house The Wishing Basket, $39. Expedition Subsahara. 4. For the recently married couple Monogrammed throw, $128, with $20-$25 monogram. Gin and Kin. 5. For the aspiring chef Tahoe serving board, $50-$80. Lola + Rose Emporium. 6. For the expat who longs for home Scents of St. Louis candle set, $70. TERRA, Little Lemon Candles, and Virago Candle Studio. 7. For the arts aficionado Vincent van Gogh’s “Stairway at Auvers”-inspired mug, $12.50; “Museum Nerd” mug, $15. Saint Louis Art Museum. 8. For the bebé Wooden truck, from $29.99. Timber Sprout Toys. 9. For the craft-beer enthusiast 4 Hands custom bottle opener in black and gold, $29. Snake Bite Co. 10. For the holiday-party host Walker’s Cay Bourbon, aged in Missouri oak barrels and from Steven Busch’s King Spirits, $34.99, available at Total Wine.
SAM SCHMIZ ON HOW TO LIVE LOCAL
In 2015, newlyweds Sam Schmiz and Adam Ritzel embarked on an ambitious experiment to shop local for an entire year. To document their journey, they started the Instagram account @livelocalstl. Although they no longer shop 100 percent local, they continue to focus on highlighting small businesses across St. Louis, including in one of their favorite areas: Maplewood.
After moving out of her parents’ house in 2006, Schmiz lived in Maplewood for almost a decade, so it was a “pivotal point of my life,” she says. “I just love that you can find anything you want in such a small part of St. Louis. I really feel like you can get everything you need for the week along that strip of Manchester.”
Some of her favorite places to browse are leather goods store Sole Survivor, bath and body boutique Maven, furniture and home décor store Intaglia Home, pet supply store Airedale Antics, and ethical retail shop Zee Bee Market. “I really feel Zee Bee is a place where you can shop for your dad and yourself and your co-workers that are hard to buy for,” Schmiz says. “They have endless options in that tiny shop.”
Another favorite: Oliver’s Coffee and Flower Bar, which Schmiz calls “one of the most Instagrammable places in St. Louis.” She’s also fond of taking out-of-town guests to sip mojitos on the bar swings at Boogaloo or for craft beers at Corey and Karen King’s acclaimed Side Project Brewing.
Schmiz raves about Maplewood’s special events, such as coffee crawls and sweet-tooth tours. She even takes friends and family on her own self-guided sweet-tooth tour, which stops at Pie Oh My!, Strange Donuts, Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream, and Kakao Chocolate before ending at Schlafly Bottleworks.
“The sticky toffee pudding at Schlafly is really unmatched,” Schmiz says. “It’s not to be missed—although you might have to take another trip to have room for it.”
Some of St. Louis’ most imaginative entrepreneurs don’t have brick-and-mortars.
This women’s swimwear and clothing company offers a variety of swimsuits, as well as sleepwear, activewear, loungewear, and other clothing.
Selling everything from shirts to stickers and buttons to greeting cards, this woman-owned graphic-design and lettering studio stocks items featuring our favorite city.
This local jewelry line uses recycled materials and ethical gemstones to create beautiful, environmentally friendly pieces: earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, pearls, and more.
With a mission to make sustainable fashion, Mount Indigo creates upcycled denim jackets, as well as statement tees and tanks that echo their mission.
Named for the brother of one of the co-founders, who died from cancer at a young age, the company gives back to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.
What’s the best St. Louis gift you’ve ever received?
“A care package from Big Heart Tea Co. It just so happened I was getting over a cold at the moment. It was the perfect gift at the perfect time. I love me some tea and women-owned businesses.”
—Izzy Polanco, owner of Restyled by Izzy
On the Main Line
EXPERT INSIGHTS ON STROLLING HISTORIC ST. CHARLES
Mary Van Winkle lives and works in the Frenchtown Historic District of St. Charles, where she’s a content creator for the Greater Saint Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau. She’s passionate about sharing all of the area’s offerings because she’s lived and shopped there since her family moved to St. Charles when she was in middle school. “What you are going to find here is a store or vendor—a person, essentially—who knows everything about the item or service you’re buying, how it was made, and how you can care for it,” she says. Shopping local “is really about building those relationships with people who you can go back to over and over again.” She shared some of her favorite spots in the area.
1. Course Coffee Roasters: Since opening in January 2020, this micro coffee roaster and coffee bar set in a historic house has become a go-to spot for a morning caffeine fix. Van Winkle’s favorite drink is the honey-lavender latte with house-made lavender syrup.
2. Main Street Books: This independent bookstore has been a fixture of St. Charles since 1993 and, under normal circumstances, has a full schedule of author events. Van Winkle especially appreciates the employees’ book recommendations. “I’ve never had one of their recommendations go wrong,” she says.
3. Frontier Perk Café: For lunch, Van Winkle’s top pick is this family-owned café, which offers sandwiches, soups, salads, and baked goods.
4. Mr. Meowski’s Sourdough: In early 2021, Mr. Meowski’s Sourdough—named after baker Timothy Nordmann’s cat—relocated to Main Street. Since then, it’s become a popular spotfor bread and pastries. If you want something specific, “get there first thing in the morning,” Van Winkle advises.
5. Cozy Shop: Artist Lydia Crespo of Argaman&Defiance owns this shop, which features clothing, accessories, and home goods—all made by Midwesterners.
6. FR & Co.: With apparel, accessories, and gifts for women of all sizes and ages, the shop stocks modern-classic clothing and owner Ashley Jaswal’s own line, Frank Regards.