View Lafayette Square in a larger map St. Louis' neighborhoods are gems in their own right: full of history, great people and, as far as Gut Check is concerned, fantastic food. Each week we'll take you into a specific neighborhood and point you in the direction of the best places to grab some bites.
Named in honor of the Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette, Lafayette Square is one of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in the city. With stately homes surrounding Lafayette Park (the oldest park in St. Louis), it's easy to feel as if you'd been swept back into the past. But step into one of the neighborhood's many restaurants and taverns, and modernity makes itself known -- whether it's a comfortable wine bar, a chocolate lover's paradise or fine Italian cuisine. Stroll around the square with Gut Check, won't you?
Park Avenue Coffee (1919 Park Avenue; 314-621-4020) Located just a few steps east of Lafayette Park, Park Avenue Coffee features a large selection of coffee and espresso drinks and St. Louis' very own favorite dessert, gooey butter cake. The coffee all starts with locally roasted Chauvin Coffee beans and comes in a variety of drink options, including flavored mochas and lattes, a "Cubano" with raw sugar, or on ice as a caramel macchiato and Thai coffee with sweetened condensed milk. Park Avenue also serves blended frappicanos, teas and fruit smoothies with real fruit and nonfat yogurt. The aforementioned gooey butter cake is worth waiting for, with more than 70 different flavors available, including red velvet, white-chocolate blueberry and key lime, plus the original recipe.
33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar (1913 Park Avenue; 314-231-9463) Though unassuming and simple from the outside, 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar provides outstanding hospitality, more than 700 wines and one of the best beer lists in the city. The result is a relaxing yet engaging opportunity to sip, contemplate or just plain drink your vino. Though lacking a full menu, there's a nice array of cheese, cured meats and crackers to hold you over. Pricing is great, with bottles marked up just $9 over 33's very competitive "take home" prices (it is a wine shop, too), which makes 33 a great place to go big on a specialty bottle. The oft-rotating draft selection, along with the list of bottled brew, highlights great beers both American and imported, many of which are rarely available on tap locally.