Right from the start, it was the plan to feature places in A YEAR IN THE CITY that were close to the hearts of St. Louisans. For Valentine’s Day, a certain dessert bar came to mind that was iconic for its chocolate and cocktails. So I built a calendar page around it. The only problem was that this certain dessert bar was not the Fountain on Locust!
Just a few days before going on press with my first calendar, I read in the news that the restaurant I’d featured was closing temporarily and relocating. I had to wonder: What would the new space look like? Would the restaurant be able to keep its following? Its magic? I decided there were too many unknowns. I was going to have to find a new place to draw.
My daughter suggested The Fountain on Locust, but I was dubious. First of all, I’d never set foot in the place. And its location just east of the Grand Arts District was frankly unfamiliar to me. The exterior was pretty enough, although not quite as alluring as my first choice. But then I stepped inside…
Let’s just say that in the two years since, The Fountain on Locust has become one of my absolute favorite places. Its food and drink menus are original and wacky, respectfully, and its decorating is over the top. But what I really love about the place is that it taps all the senses: taste and smell, naturally, but also hearing. Because, if you’re lucky enough to get a booth, you get to listen to original soap operas on the speakers while you eat. And then, there are the art deco wall paintings and tile floors that transport you to another time altogether.
Sadly, I didn’t have time to render the interior of The Fountain on Locust before I went to press. Instead, I transported my Valentine’s Day couple a few miles west and had them stand outside the restaurant.
Because I was in a hurry, I missed a few important details, which I have since added. First, I drew in customers (since the Fountain always seems to have plenty of them.) And then, I added a woman in the window of the adjacent building, watching the approaching couple on their special date. The couple, it seems, is a poignant reminder of valentines past.
For me, the woman in the window is a reminder that every picture does indeed tell a story. And that there is always more to the story than meets the eye.