Once upon a time, Cherokee Street was the domain of authentic Mexican cuisine. Now others have moved into the ethnically diverse area, making it a popular St. Louis food destination for any appetite. Wanting to maximize my recent visit to Cherokee Street, I devised a clever strategy when I found the three places I wanted to try were within a stone’s throw of each other: Master Pieza, Athlete Eat, and Diana’s Bakery.
First, I ordered a slice of vegetarian pizza from Will Porter, owner-operator of the artsy pie shop, who immediately began rolling out the dough for my small oval-shaped pie. With a choice of cheese, I picked Mozzarella over Provel. (Slice, $2.99, plus additions; Veggie, $3.75).
As the pie took shape, I dashed across the street to Athlete Eat, where Simon and Angelica Lusky, once chefs and nutritionists for the Cards, dished up healthy, paleo, organic, gluten-free, local foods. Yelp gave the place a hearty 5-star rating, so I figured it was hard to go wrong. I chose the veggie smoothie with everything from kiwi to kale to apples and carrots and shared it with my friend. And since they specialize in carry out and delivery, I ordered a to-go of the Bibimbap, a Korean stew that friends had raved about.
I raced back across the street where Will was pulling my pizza from the oven, its thin crust smothered with the healthy veggie toppings. I pulled up to the narrow counter in the window and savored every finger-licking bite.
By now I was wondering if I should try the bakery shop, but my fellow diners said I shouldn’t miss the fruit empanadas, flans, cookies, and churros. I yielded without argument. Upon entering the small store, I could tell the regulars knew the routine: take a cafeteria tray and tongs, make your selections from the pastry-lined walls, and present yourself to the clerk who efficiently calculates the bill. The only problem was in making the selections.
Hmm…would it be the blueberry empanada or the apple? A flan or a sack of churros—those elongated Mexican donuts you dip in chocolate rather than your coffee. Or the heavenly Tres Leaches Cake?
Having already overindulged, I made a few judicious, but difficult choices, with the promise to myself that I would return another day.
Master Pieza, 2846 Cherokee. M-Th, 11a-10p; F-Sat, 11a.-3a (Yes, night owls, you’re in luck—open until 3-ish in the morning on weekends!) Menu here.
Athlete Eat, 2837 Cherokee. M-F, 10a-6p; Sat & Sun. 9a-5p. An exciting and guilt-free menu with no absence of flavor. Menu here. (Out of Business)
Diana’s Bakery, 2843 Cherokee, Wed-Sat, 7a-8p. A haven for those with a sweet tooth or for those wanting a small something to nibble on during a stroll along Cherokee.
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