You learn something new every day, including a town you’ve lived in for decades. This week I met up for brunch with my friend Kait, and when we were deciding where to dine, I suggested City Coffeehouse and Crêperie (per usual). But she suggested we try a new place she’d never been to in Soulard.
It’s honestly crazy that I’ve never been to Soulard in all my years of living in St. Louis since I live and breathe anything French. This historic neighborhood is St. Louis’s oldest, according to Explore St. Louis. It was named after Frenchman Antoine Soulard who surveyed the area for the King of Spain. Soulard’s claims to fame are its farmer’s market, which has been running since 1779, and its mega Mardi Gras festival.Just a few minutes away from arriving at Soulard Coffee Garden Cafe, Kait called to tell me that she’d just woken up and, therefore, would be late. Although I had a few other things to get done later that day, I chose to be in the moment. I took my time parking, looking over the menu and sipping my iced white mocha. (Heck, I even worked on a blog post!) Even though it put a delay in my day, it honestly was refreshing to adopt the European lifestyle of slow, progressive meals.
The cafe is aged, certainly not new and shiny. The pastry signs are written in black marker, its bakery items wrapped in cellophane. It’s a bit cramped. But the longer I spent there, the more my fondness grew for this small block of the street. It’s a loved cafe with its regulars; even being there for a couple hours, I know it’s a cherished part of the neighborhood.
Once Kait arrived, we moved to the outdoor patio. As humid as it was, this choice was completely worth it with its historic aura, overgrown garden, church peeking out above the fence, calm conversation and cigarette smoke sifting through the air. I could feel the French influence from centuries ago permeating the air.
I’m a sucker for omelets and opted for ham and brie cheese in mine. I’ve never had brie with an omelet. The culinary presentation was a bit odd, but I felt fancy just the same. I enjoyed its rich flavor, but probably won’t make that my go-to order when I return.
This visit to Soulard was all too short-lived. I love that there’s always more to exploring to do, and it’s all at my fingertips. Here’s to finding more brunch spots and forever traveling wherever I am.