Driving down Olive Boulevard or Interstate 270, you can’t miss the dramatic skyscrapers that rise up from Creve Coeur.
Look closer. The sprawling neighborhoods, bustling outdoor eateries and modern research facilities have the feel of downtown St. Louis or Clayton. But Creve Coeur is something new – an evolving tech-corridor and restaurant hub on the fringe of West County.
Gateway to West County
Creve Coeur began as a small farming community along Olive Street Road. The road was originally a high-ground trail used by Native Americans to safely travel over rising river waters. The community incorporated in December 1949.
Today, the road serves as a major corridor for many of the city’s businesses and residential communities, and as most of the city’s northern boundary line. Early on, Olive Street Road, complete with streetcars, quickly became a hub for smaller, family-owned businesses looking to take advantage of the city’s westward expansion.
Ruth Block, who is 106 years old, remembers taking “an open-air trolley,” or streetcar, out to Creve Coeur Lake straight down Olive Street Road from her house in the city. “That was a trip!”
At the time of incorporation, Creve Coeur had about 1,900 residents. By 1960, Creve Coeur’s population rose to over 5,000.
Today, the city has a population of about 18,600 that swells to an estimated 53,000 during the average work week.
City Administrator Mark Perkins credits the city’s growing technology industries, its established medical base and new ag-tech sector.
And all those people have to eat somewhere.
The dining scene
New and notable restaurants unique to the St. Louis County community have chosen Creve Coeur as home. Many of the restaurants are located directly off of the city’s prime business corridor, Olive Boulevard.
“We’ve seen some new restaurants in the past few years, certainly new to Creve Coeur, and in many cases, new to the region,” Perkins said.
• Nudo House STL, located off Olive Boulevard, comes from the team behind Mai Lee Restaurant in Brentwood. The restaurant specializes in a variety of Vietnamese pho and ramen dishes. According to Perkins, since it’s opening, the location has received a lot of publicity and accolades.
• Poké Munch, located off of North Ballas Road, opened in Creve Coeur on Oct. 15, 2018, on the bottom floor of the King’s Landing Apartments. The fast-casual restaurant serves Hawaiian poké dishes with a Midwestern twist.
• Gioia’s Deli opened in a new location off New Ballas Road in April 2018. The Creve Coeur location remains the restaurant’s only location outside of The Hill.
• Granite City Food & Brewery, also located off Olive Boulevard, is known for American dishes and brewing craft beers onsite. The Creve Coeur location is the restaurant’s only St. Louis location.
The city also is home to several authentic Jewish delis that add to the city’s diverse culinary repertoire.
• Pumpernickles Delicatessen, located in Graeser Square off Olive Boulevard, is a family-operated deli that has been serving up Jewish Kosher-style favorites, as well as all-day breakfast, shiva trays and catering options since 2012.
• Kohn’s Kosher Meat and Deli, located off Old Olive Street, was founded by Simon and Bobbi Kohn in 1963. Kohn’s Kosher, previously known as Simon Kohn’s Kosher Deli, has been in operation for over 50 years. The location serves as a full Kosher grocery store, dining area, bakery and deli counter.
According to Community Development Director Jason Jaggi, the reason for the city’s thriving restaurant scene is because of the large workweek population.
“We have so many people here during the day, and they need places to eat,” Jaggi said.
The medical establishment
“It’s such a central location,” Perkins said, describing the city as 10 minutes from Clayton, Chesterfield and even downtown St. Louis.
The city’s largest employer, Mercy Hospital St. Louis, employs about 4,000 employees on its Creve Coeur campus. SSM Healthcare and Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital are other top employers.
Construction of the city’s new Barnes-Jewish West County’s replacement hospital is ongoing and is currently slated for a 2019 opening, adding 260,000 square feet of hospital space.
“Almost every type of medical practice or use you can think of has a presence here in Creve Coeur,” Jaggi said. “That is a significant element of our business community.”
Five of the top 15 largest information technology consulting firms in St. Louis are located in Creve Coeur, including TEKsystems, Computer Sciences, Daugherty Business Solutions, Volt Workforce Solutions, Bradford & Galt, Envision and iBridge Solutions.
The future of ag-tech
Creve Coeur’s ag-tech corridor, including the 39º North innovation district, is a result of global investment in technology and agriculture.
“We certainly see the plant science and ag-tech sector to be a large contributor for our local business community, as well as regionally,” Jaggi said.
39º North was announced in December 2016 and has since grown to include 600 acres surrounding the Danforth Plant Science Center, the Bio Research and Development Growth [BRDG] Park, the Helix Incubator, Yield Lab and Bayer – institutions centered around plant and life sciences. The development blends retail, residential and office space with trails and greenspace. Over the next 30 years, its master plan aims to create a community that is more accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and other potential customers of restaurants, retail stores and businesses – one that is generally more suitable for new companies.
According to Jaggi, the ag-tech corridor has spurred the development of high-density housing, such as The Vue and Vanguard Heights apartment complexes off Old Olive Street Road. “They’re really driving some of those projects,” Jaggi said. “We’re also seeing detached villas and other types of housing units that are being developed here.”
“We are definitely still evolving as a city,” he said.