Saturday, March 7, 2009


Last year I got my knives professionally sharpened for the first time in many years. They worked so well I made a note on my calendar to have it done again this year. The reminder popped up today, and since the mid-70 degree forecast was 20 degrees higher than normal, it seemed like a great day to combine a bit of outdoor activity with my errand. Before Tony and I left the house, I printed out some information, and today I took a walking tour of The Hill neighborhood.

The Hill, which is situated close to the highest point in the city, is a St. Louis neighborhood known for its Italian heritage. A good chunk of the neighborhood's residents are still Italian. The fire hydrants are painted red, white, and green, the colors of the Italian flag. You can tell by looking at the well-kept houses and yards that the residents take a lot of pride in the area.

We used the tour as a starting point, since I've already been to many of the suggested stops:
  • J. Viviano and Sons Italian Grocery is a great place to buy olive oil, pasta, and spices.

  • Tony enjoys Shaw's Coffee, which is located right next to Viviano's.

  • The Missouri Baking Company has got the best Italian cookies, although their pastries are pretty good too!

  • Although you can get Volpi salami in most grocery stores, it's always a treat to get it from the original store.

  • I've passed St. Ambrose Catholic Church and the Italian Immigrants Statue many times, although I've never been inside the church.
However, there were a few places that were unfamiliar to me:
  • Girasole Italian Gifts and Imports was described as a good place for Italian products or a Hill souvenir.

  • Although I've had ravioli from Mama Toscano's Homemade Ravioli, I've never been in the store.

  • There are dozens of restaurants in the area, but I didn't know Eovaldi's Deli and Catering.

  • I was extremely surprised to read about the Baseball Hall of Fame Place (an honorary block of Elizabeth Avenue where Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola grew up, and broadcaster Jack Buck bought the first home for his family) and the Soccer Hall of Fame Place (where five of the 1950 US World Cup soccer team that upset England lived).
Tony and I decided to park the car close to the cutlery store and ramble around. We walked on many of the major streets, but also walked up and down several of the residential blocks. There is a wide variety of housing types on the Hill. Bungalows are mixed with shotgun-style and traditional red brick. Some houses were obviously newly-built; although most of the new architecture fit into the area, there were also a couple of McMansions that really stuck out.

Taking our cue from the walking tour, we ate lunch at Eovaldi's Deli. There were only a couple of tables to sit at, but it didn't matter. The service was friendly, our sandwiches were excellent, and the homemade beef-barley soup was wonderful! We passed on dessert, but couldn't leave the Hill area without something sweet. Before we picked up the newly-sharpened knives, we stopped in Vitale's Bakery for some cannoli to take home.

You can be sure my calendar is updated to remind me of knife-sharpening time next year!


  1. If you ever have the opportunity, visit Gioa's Deli on Macklind across from Berra Park. Years and years ago, they only served it on Tuesday. It became so popular, it was soon served on a daily basis.

  2. We actually walked by this place. It didn't look like it was open, and it was too early for lunch, so we didn't check it out.

    However, after we'd already eaten we walked by there again and it WAS open. I'll remember it for next time!

  3. Try the "Hot Salami." Sorry, forgot to mention that.

  4. What a great day you had. Although getting warmer, it's still too cold for me to want to go for any kind of walk around here. Maybe next weekend.

  5. EVery time I get mine sharpened I think "Why did I wait so long?"

  6. Wow! That sounds like a cool neighborhood. I should really also get our knives sharpened one of these days!

  7. Sounds like your walking tour was a lot of fun. We forget how much our own back yards have to offer. It's a lot of fun to play tourist in our own local areas and discover all the treasures so close to home.

    I have a set of Forschner professional knives that I bought over 30 years ago and used to keep them sharp with a stone and elbow grease. A few years ago, I treated myself to a nice electric sharpener with two grinding wheel grades. Now I can keep my knives sharp all the time. Did you know that most people cut themselves using dull knives? A sharp knife allows precise control and less force. Sharp knives = cooking bliss :)

  8. All of my knives have been catastrophically dull for YEARS now. Cooking is difficult...I'm still trying to find a quality knife sharpener for home...but then I just give up and buy new knives. I would love expensive good knives, but the cost and responsibility is too much for me to get my head around.

    I live in the Portugese neighbourhood of Toronto, which is just south of our city's second Little Italy, so there is some crossover.

  9. oh reading this post made me hungry! I used to live near the hill and LOVED eating at Adrianas! I would go there at least twice a week to get a Ben's Special with no onions. I'm going to put a stop there on my "to do" list for the next time I make it back to St. Louis.

  10. What a great tour of a a city I would love to visit. thank you