MEET ME IN… 

THE SHAW NEIGHBORHOOD 

BY TRISH MUYCO-TOBIN

It seems fitting that the Shaw Neighborhood began as a natural prairie, initially described as “uncultivated” by Henry Shaw, an 18-year-old Englishman who first arrived in St. Louis in the spring of 1819. Little did he know then that the emerging neighborhood surrounding his future estate and beloved garden would immortalize him as its namesake.

At the time, much of the area’s 380-plus acreage was owned by Capt. William Chambers, who bestowed the land upon his death to his daughter, Mary Tyler. Shaw purchased the plots to the north and west of Chambers’ property to build his country home, Tower Grove House, and a botanical garden for the city’s residents.

In the mid-to-late 1800s—with Tyler and Shaw working to promote its growth—the area began to take shape as a residential neighborhood. Development continued into the early 1900s, starting a building boom of residential property in myriad architectural styles that would give the neighborhood its distinct character.

Upon his death at the age of 89 in 1889, Shaw had established himself as a philanthropic giant in his adopted city. The gifts he bestowed upon St. Louis include the land adjacent to his home for Tower Grove Park, a school, acreage for a hospital, and the Washington University School of Botany.

But without question, Shaw’s greatest legacy is the Missouri Botanical Garden, which opened to the public in 1859. Today, the National Historic Landmark is the jewel of the socially diverse neighborhood and is globally lauded as a center for science and conservation, education and horticultural display.

In the spring, the garden comes to life with a captivating display of nature’s most vibrant flora. A season’s worth of experiences, beginning with the garden’s signature Orchid Show, heralds the arrival of spring with open arms.

 

WELCOME SPRING AT THE GARDEN

Through Mar. 26

Orchid Show                                                                                                                                                                                                                      See hundreds of orchids from the Garden’s expansive collection. New this year is Orchid Nights, an exclusive lighted viewing with live music, and wine and beer tastings.

Apr. 1-2

Meet Me Outdoors

The garden’s popular perennial displays officially open for the season.

Apr. 22-23

Chinese Culture Days
The annual springtime affair features a grand parade with a 70-foot dragon and lion dancers, as well as acrobatics, authentic regional cuisine, special tours and more.

missouribotanicalgarden.org

IN AND AROUND THE SHAW NEIGHBORHOOD

Ices Plain & Fancy

You scream, I scream, we all scream…so why not scream all the way to one of St. Louis’ most popular ice-cream shops? Ices Plain & Fancy uses liquid nitrogen to flash-churn its ice cream, giving it a silky, smooth deliciousness like no other. Co-owner Darla Crask’s favorite is the classic butter pecan, but there’s also the dulce de leche topped with caramel and black sea salt, and several seasonal strawberry-inspired flavors, as well as an array of cocktail ice-cream concoctions like the Frozen Dude (vanilla ice-cream, vodka and Kahlua).

icesplainandfancy.com

Tower Grove Farmers’ Market

From mid-April through November, the diverse, bustling market in the heart of Tower Grove Park is a Saturday morning tradition for many. From organic greens and local honey to handmade soaps and food trucks, you’ll find a few goodies for a quick outdoor treat—or to fill your reusable shopping bag. Plus, don’t forget free 9 a.m. yoga classes on the lawn!

tgmarket.org

Nixta

In nearby Botanical Heights, get a taste of the city’s newest cocina in Nixta, Ben Poremba’s latest eatery. Offering a mix of chef-driven Mexican and American/Mediterranean cuisine, you’ll find instant favorites like Tuna Tostada, Duck Carnitas and Lamb Tacos. Don’t miss the Mole Negro with braised beef cheeks—pure bliss! On weekends at the witching hour (beginning at 10 p.m.), the space transforms into Bar Limon, with salsa dancing, a late-night menu and one-of-a-kind cocktails like the Ocho, a heavenly concoction of mezcal mixed with lime, grapefruit, maraschino and a hint of ghost pepper. Nixta is unlike any in town—pulsating and lively, with a spirit of its own.

nixtastl.com

MoKaBe’s Coffeehouse

MoKaBe’s has everything you need for a neighborhood hangout—a considerable menu (for a coffeehouse) for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch, plenty of seating and views for people-watching, late-night hours, and free wi-fi. But the star here is the coffee with solid standards like espresso, mocha and chai, as well as more than a dozen latte selections. Try the Mini Mo (cinnamon and praline) or the Princess Picky Vikki (chocolate and coconut).

mokabes.com