Reach “Dutchtownie” Status With This 2017 Neighborhood Bucket List
It is amazing how communities create a sense of belonging. Warm smiles time after time turn into familiar faces that turn into introductions and then transform into frequent friendly conversations. Before you know it, you are neighbors. Not just the kind of neighbors that share a street name or an alley way, but the kind of neighbors that show up at community events to socialize and eventually dig in, as if sticking a flag in the ground, proudly proclaiming that this special patch of land is ours (in a collective sense) and its worth saving, restoring and rebuilding.
Chances are if you are reading this, the neighborly bond described above is something that resonates with you. You have either found it here in Dutchtown or you are seeking it. The glorious thing about neighborhoods that you can’t overlook is that they don’t stay the same. You continuously have to show up. Stay involved. Stay informed. Embrace change. Embrace new people. Embrace new businesses. With all of that being said, the occasion of the new year seems like just as good a time as any to create some New Year’s resolutions for being a more engaged neighbor. Consider it a “2017 Dutchtown Bucket List” of sorts.
1. Shop Local
Invite friends from outside of the neighborhood to spend the day hunting for bargains in the shops up and down Meramec Street. The fine selection of resale clothing and furniture that can be found along Meramec is perhaps one of Dutchtown’s best kept secrets. It’s time we stop keeping it our little secret to ourselves and let the rest of St. Louis know.
2. Brunch – It’s a cross between breakfast and lunch
Yes! Dutchtown does have brunch! Making it a point to get out and brunch more often is a great way to meet new people. Check out the dim sum style brunch at Urban Eats or the brunch buffet at The Feasting Fox. Both establishments offer the opportunity to make it a boozie brunch if that is more your style. Brunch service is offered most Sundays. Refer to the business websites for details.
3. Feed Your Mind
Thomas Dunn Learning Center (TDLC) located in Marquette Park serves as a shining beacon for self- and community-empowerment in Dutchtown. Make a resolution to attend at least one class, workshop, art reception or discussion at TDLC in 2017.
For those of you a little less familiar with this non-profit organization, TDLC aims to help people recognize, define and realize their physical, mental, moral and social goals for personal growth. It partners with St. Louis Community College, UMSL Extension and numerous other organizations to offer free and low-cost high-quality programming. Some excellent services of note include the free computer lab, tutoring services and library. Make it a habit to frequently check the calendar for timely and topical presentations, art displays and receptions, Zumba classes and even summer camp programming.
4. Give Back
There is something completely nourishing about giving of your time or your treasure. A great way to nourish your soul while giving back directly to this community is to volunteer your time with or make a donation to the St. Anthony Food Pantry. This incredible community lifeline is located at St. Anthony of Padua Church at 3140 Meramec St and provides food and clothing for people in need from within the 63118, 63111 and 63116 zip codes. All you need to do is show up with your donation (or just yourself if time is what you have to give) during open hours from 10am to noon on Mondays and Thursdays or from 4 to 6pm on Wednesdays.
5. Explore German Cuisine – This is Dutchtown after all!
There are many reasons throughout the year to stop in and enjoy the fine food and drink at The Feasting Fox, but if you can only go once in 2017, it is absolutely imperative that you try the Black Forest Sweet and Sour Pork. This dish is absolutely mind bending which is why it gets its very own spot on our list of Dutchtown New Year’s resolutions.
6. Get Your Swim On
Let’s face it – most of our city yards aren’t big enough to have our very own pools. Thankfully, we have a free outdoor swimming pool located in Marquette Park. Organize your very own pool party and go for a swim this summer!
7. Sell Your Wares or Shop for Treasures
Mark your calendar to participate in the Dutchtown Bazaar this June. You can rent a space for a nominal fee to sell your handmade goods or to simply clean out your basement. If setting up shop as a vendor is not your style, you can opt to attend as a buyer in search of a great flea market find. Proceeds from this annual event benefits neighborhood safety initiatives. Frequently check the Dutchtown Bazaar’s facebook page for updates on the official 2017 details.
8. Eat More Fruit and Vegetables
Dutchtown’s best barbeque joint, Iron Barley, throws a raucous homage to tomatoes every year with the much anticipated Tomato Fest. Expect a date to be announced for this event which typically occurs in August. Come ready to stock up on your favorite fruits and veggies from local vendors, enjoy good tomato inspired food, and relax a bit with a delicious drink as your listen to the top notch entertainment. This is the closest thing Dutchtown has to an annual block party!
9. Join a Club!
Speaking of Iron Barley, did you know that they host a Beer Club? It’s $40 to join, which includes, a t-shirt, 50% off appetizers, 20 oz beers for the price of a 16 oz beer and once a month (usually 3rd Thursdays) a special beer sampling from 7 pm – 9 pm of the good stuff.
10. Pay Homage to Dutchtown’s Roots During the Holidays
Your final resolution for 2017 should be to attend one of the Christmas Eve masses at St. Anthony of Padua Church. This spectacular church (often referred to as the southside cathedral) is adorned with festive garland, Christmas trees and poinsettias to set the scene for an impressive Christmas Eve mass. The well-practiced choir pours everything into a riveting performance and the church’s impressive organ is on full display. The best part of the entire experience is when the choir sings a verse of Silent Night in German as a long time tradition that pays tribute to the German immigrants that helped form this very neighborhood. This is an excellent way to cap off a year of leveling up your Dutchtownie status.
Bonus Resolution – OMG Das Bevo is Coming
Okay, we admit that it is a little presumptuous to assume that the much anticipated biergarten will open in 2017, but if it does, you need to make the commitment right now to be there for the grand opening. If anything, do it for the ultimate Dutchtownie street cred that is sure to come with it. Where were you when the biergarten opened? Make sure you can say you were there!
With these New Year’s resolutions to be a more engaged neighbor in hand, we hope 2017 brings you a healthy dose of neighborhood pride, memorable experiences and—most importantly—new friends. If you are a Dutchtownie, say it loud and say it proud. There is a wonderful future that awaits us here in Dutchtown, St. Louis. See you out there, neighbors!