The modern flourishes on Copia's menu are grounded in the kind of American culinary tradition that chef Dave Rook knows best: raised in a family that ran a drive-in burgers-and-root-beer stand in Alton, Illinois, an appreciation for the comfortable side of dining runs in his blood. Globally inspired dashes of red chilies and champagne-goat-cheese cream take off from Midwestern classics, such as slow-roasted rotisserie chicken, house-smoked trout, and pork-rib chops.
Aided by a wine market whose bottles pour into the dining room at retail price, the downtown eatery aims to shuttle city dwellers directly into wine country with 18,000 square feet of exposed brick walls, wood-beam ceilings, and white tablecloths. Elsewhere within the rambling complex, natural light pours into an atrium garden, a glass waterfall neatly partitions off the bar to prevent diners from impulsively ordering every dish and drink they see, and stainless-steel vats age several of Copia's own wines. Much missed after a fire shuttered its initial incarnation, Copia was roundly welcomed back onto the St. Louis scene in 2010: among other praise, St. Louis Magazine called its calamari "as crispy-crunchy delectable as any seafood you’ll find in a New England clam shack" and its smoked ribs "the best upscale version of barbecue in the area."
Creativity is the main ingredient at Glazed and Confused, where artists-for-the-day adorn hundreds of blank ceramic pieces in personal designs, colors, and patterns. The updated studio is now more spacious and is enhanced with glossy hardwood floors and soft orange and blue walls to create a relaxing environment. Projects evolve under the guidance of the shop's staff members, who offer their own wisdom to elevate each piece to its full potential. Staffers spread the same artistic savvy when hosting birthday parties, field trips, and adult get-togethers, which can be bolstered with customer-provided beverages in accordance with the studio’s BYO policy.
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At Pottery Hollow, kids and adults alike find inspiration to create ceramic works of art from a fanciful story about a potter in need of an apprentice to help him and his fairy friends adorn ceramic mugs, platters, and knickknacks with colorful paint. Guests enter the potter's enchanted hollow—complete with twisted tree trunks and brightly colored chairs—to work on the unpainted pieces stored deep beneath the forest. While guests create their masterpieces, staffers keep them supplied with paints and brushes and take finished pieces to be baked in the kiln.
In addition to walk-in sessions, Pottery Hollow's three locations host parties and events such as mommy-and-me sessions, bridal showers, and corporate events. And on Friday nights until 9 p.m., ladies can create beautiful works of art while sipping on their favorite BYOB drinks. Staffers also craft custom pieces in one to two weeks, which can be given as gifts, kept as future heirlooms, or offered as sacrifices to the home-decor gods.
Within a historic Victorian-era house built in 1863, a friendly staff, an amiable cat, and a documented ghost oversee The Book House's selection of more than 350,000 books. Culled from hundreds of collections, auctions, suppliers, and rogue librarians in the past 25 years, the books range from new to rare to out of print. They nestle into every nook and cranny of the store’s nine rooms and three floors, which are connected by winding staircases. Thrifters and fans of alliteration can venture down to the Bargain Basement to discover discounted reads, and other bookworms search the first and second floors for tomes about any subject from history and philosophy to science fiction and children's books.
A portion of each purchase goes to support the Second Chapter Life Center, which helps young adults with developmental disabilities. The Book House also accepts used-book donations any time during regular business hours.
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers decorate albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in sweet flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to display their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
The culinary masterminds at Joe Fassi Sausage and Sandwich Factory stuff their menu with homemade meatballs and sausages that caught the hungry editorial eye of Riverfront Times in 2010. Crafted with care and brimming with meat, more than 30 hot and cold sandwiches salute the Fassi forebears, who founded a grocery store in the storefront in 1926. Meatballs simmer in a tangy red sauce, and sausages speak of sweet and savory combos such as red wine with garlic and breakfast sherry with nutmeg. Instead of topping salads with handsome boutonnieres, guests can enhance their visual appeal with the café’s homemade Italian-style vinaigrette, available by the spoonful and by the bottle. The factory's friendly staffers also cater events with hearty boxed lunches and sandwiches that stretch up to 10 feet.