Within walking distance to the Pageant concert venue, Washington University, and Forest Park, The Loop neighborhood in University City is a wonderful community that features an eclectic selection of unique shops and restaurants. The St Louis Walk of Fame, a series of brass plaques of famous St Louisans is embedded in the local Delmar boardwalk and can be enjoyed buy taking a stroll down the strip. The neighborhood is referred to as “The Loop” because in the past it operated as a turnaround for street cars. Soon, street cars will be returning to The Loop!
For locals and visitors alike, the Delmar Loop around University City is a 6-block paradise of shopping, restaurants, eateries, and fun, and has become a destination street in the city. While most know that the Delmar Loop got it’s name from an old streetcar that ‘looped’ around the area, few know of the exciting cultural history of the shopping district, how it grew out of the Delmar Boulevard, or how the Loop became the place to be in the area. The history of the U City is long, but more than interesting for anyone who wants to visit.
Early History: While the history of the University City Loop does not point out to it being a shopping district, the area itself dates back to the 1800s. Delmar was previously known as Morgan Street, and predates the construction of the trolley, which was not constructed until after the Civil War.
Food and Restaurants in University City – Loop
Sugarfire Smoke House We built Sugarfire Smoke House to be different than most top rated St. Louis, St. Charles County, and Washington MO BBQ restaurants. From the use of local ingredients, to the awesome culinary exploits of our world-trained chefs and pit masters, the barbecue we make is exceptional.
|Al -Tarboush Deli||314-725-1944||Middle Eastern, Deli|
| Blueberry Hill
|Blue Ocean Sushi||314-726-6477||Sushi|
| Chinese Noodle Cafe
De Palm Tree
|Gokul Indian Restaurant||314-721-1888||Indian|
|Gyro Grill||314-875-9465||Middle Eastern|
|LuLu’s Seafood||314-997-3108||Asian Seafood|
|Meshuggah Coffee||314-726-5662||Coffee House|
|Salt & Smoke||314-727-0200||BBQ|
|Sugarfire Smoke House||314-997-2301||BBQ, American|
|The Melting Pot||314-725-4141||Fondue|
|Thai Country Cafe||314-862-0787||Thai|
|Three Kings Public House||314-721-3355||Burgers|
The 1950s and the Rise of the Loop: In the early 1950s, the Loop became popular with teenagers, who frequented the Varsity Theater and Tivoli Theater, both of which showed first-run movies. Joe’s Billiards, which opened up near the university, also attracted students, who would take the streetcar up to Enright Avenue, where drug stores with soda fountains and restaurants were another draw. Delmar and Kingsland was another part of this early formation of the Loop as we know it, and also featured a drugstore with a soda fountain. Other restaurants dotted the streetcar loop, drawing in teenagers as well as passerby’s looking for entertainment and food. The local record store, and various tobacco shops known as head shops, dominated the area, catering primarily to teenagers from the University. The streetcar was closed down in 1951, but the area did not decline in popularity.
The 1970s: By the early 1970s, the Delmar Loop had slowed down as attraction for teenagers, but still featured theaters, and restaurants. The city encouraged local growth by creating new city legislations making it easier for cafes, shops, and boutiques to open up around the city. One of the most famous of the revival buildings is the Blueberry Hill Pub and Restaurant, which some consider to be essential to the then revival of the Loop. The area soon flourished with a surplice of outdoor cafes, shops, and galleries, drawing in shoppers from around the area. When later in the 70s, the St. Louis Walk of Fame was added to the area, it became a novelty stop for tourists as well.
Early 2000s: In the early 2000’s, the Delmar Loop began to expand into the St. Louis area. While it is primarily still based around Delmar Boulevard, the area now runs from North Price Road to North Tucker Boulevard and 12’th Street, running into Convention Center Plaza, and at the St. Louis City Boundary becomes Barrack Obama Boulevard, and is one of the only streets to have been renamed for a U.S. president. In 2007, the American Planning Association named the Loop “One of the 10 Great Streets in America”, and the area continue to thrive.
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Today: Today the Delmar Loop is a flourishing hotspot, home to old and established businesses ranging from the original Tivoli theater to Blueberry Hill. It’s also home to more than a few modern venues, including the famous ‘The Pageant’ nightclub, Pin-Up Bowl Bowling Alley and Martini Lounge, and many more. It’s also home to dozens of art galleries, the Regional Arts Commission, and dozens of shops, making it an easy outing for almost anyone. The area is also still improving, as the city has plans for an additional fixed rail vintage style trolley that will connect the Delmar Loop MetroLink Trolley to Forest Park and other local attractions.
Planning a trip to the University City Loop is easy. With plenty of public transport options, dozens of shops, outdoor cafes, restaurants, boutiques, bisques, art galleries, movie theaters, nightclubs, bowling lanes, and hotels, it has everything you need to enjoy yourself. The best way to travel is the Delmar Loop MetroLink, which affords easy access to most of the local attractions and shops. Making plans is also easy, with visits to the famous pottery shops and classes, art galleries, and famous shops like the Three Kings Public House, Vintage Vinyl, Tivoli Theater, Blueberry Hill, and many more. Multiple nightclubs, bars, and bowling allies also line the loop, making it ideal for those who prefer to go out rather than shop, as well as for families who want to stroll through shops and enjoy a meal outdoors.
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