On March 18th, we’ll hit a year. It’s hard to believe and I’m constantly asked if I’d do it again and while I don’t know the answer to that, I do know that the rewards – meeting my neighbors, meeting incredible people, seeing connections between neighbors being made – have been much larger than I’d expected. And I’ve had a lot of opportunities to hear comments people make – both positive and less so – and thought I’d flesh out a bit about what we are which maybe I didn’t know quite so solidly when I began.
What we’re not: we’re not a “restaurant”. We’re not a “bar” either. We’re a community amenity. We’re where neighbors can come together (and this “neighborhood” is a big space – it’s not Fox Park, not TGE, not Compton Heights – it’s this whole City, and its friends and supporters and those who understand why people live here) and be welcomed and cared for. The only way I know to do that in my own house is to feed people and give them drinks, so we provide those things. But the food and the drink are such a distant second. Those things are not really the point. We have tremendous people preparing incredible drinks and food and doing so out of a spirit of hospitality, but the goal is to provide these things as a welcome.
So many people get that – they come and they smile and they enjoy and they visit with each other and they are energized by the wonderful people they are around. They help each other. And some people don’t and are disappointed that their expectations weren’t met and while I’m sorry our hospitality wasn’t what they were seeking, I know we’re in a City full of amazing options to suit everyone. We’re not a craft beer joint – while we serve only craft beer made in St. Louis, there are wonderful craft beer joints close by with much larger selections. We’re not a dive bar – the restaurant looks pretty much like my house with the addition of a 25 foot bar. We’re not perfect as a restaurant. We are trying to learn, fix what needs fixing while not intending to be everything to everybody, but first and foremost we want to be a place of coming together and welcome to everyone who lives here. We want to be kind.
We’re not big – one owner – me – a mom with two small kids with a day job working for an enormously patient bank. I read a comment recently which someone had posted because our menu on this website was out of date and the commenter mentioned that you can’t “trust” a place with an out of date website. I am not sure I think the issue is “trust”, but I admit it’s irksome and I will be updating the website with our menu come our anniversary – we are enlarging the menu with sandwiches and more seasonal specials and affordable dishes. Anyway, I am sorry the website is not always up to date, and I’m learning how to update it as I go. Nowhere to go but up in that regard!
The folks you see when you come are wonderful and kind and friendly. We’re very small, but dedicated to making people feel welcome and cared for. They are creative, so so so wise and generous with their time and have been so kind in educating me. I wanted only a space where I could meet my neighbors, bring my kids to eat when I was too exhausted from my job to cook and clean up after and where I could get a glass of wine before walking home. The folks who work at the restaurant have made it so much more than that and I am beyond grateful.
Well, this is already too long, but I wanted to explain our name: Purple Martins are the largest North American Swallow (a bird). They are very pretty and eat mosquitos and if you can see what they look like by looking up at the Purple Martin houses which adorn our wall. The important part about them, though, is that, unlike other birds which nest alone, Purple Martins only nest communally. In large groups – apartments – side by side. Like us. Like everyone who chooses to live in the City, in community.
That’s what we are.
Thank you for this (almost) year of such enthusiasm, care, concern – oh my goodness the concern and kindness shown to us. I do not go one day without being renewed in my absolute wonder at being able to live here with you. Wow. Thank you to everyone.
Best – Brooke