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Best Mile of St. Louis St. Louis 2006 - Manchester Avenue from McCausland Avenue to Big Bend Boulevard

We have to fudge this one a bit. You see, seven-tenths of this mile aren't in St. Louis, proper, but just over the line in Maplewood. You'll forgive us when you see how much there is to do in such a brief stretch: neighborhood joints for a quick nosh (Minion's Cafe, Pantera's Pizza), elegant restaurants (Arthur Clay's, Monarch), one hip spot (Boogaloo) and the absolutely massive Schlafly Bottleworks brewery-restaurant-farmer's market. There's great shopping, including the incomparable Penzeys Spices and an honest-to-goodness old-school True Value hardware store. Best of all, most of it was built into the original Maplewood infrastructure, a charming main street that still feels like a neighborhood, not a gentrified simulacrum. It's a lesson that developers should heed when they consider the barren post-industrial stretch of Manchester Avenue immediately to the east and the still fledging Grove area on the other side of Kingshighway: Make it feel like home, and people will treat it so.
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I was invited by friends to Minions Cafe one evening, for dinner and a comedy show. What a fun time! The food and Marjoram Fennell's cooking show were both a real treat. Lots of audience involvement and I haven't laughed that much in a long time. A great place to spend a Friday or Saturday evening.


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