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  • South Broadway Illusion & Ghost

    Posted on June 2nd, 2009 Toby Weiss 10 comments
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    tequila-wylde-01

    8700 Block of South Broadway
    South St. Louis City, MO

    I was driving north on South Broadway on a brilliantly sunny day when I saw the sight, above, and couldn’t tell if it was an optical illusion, a painted mural or 3D real-life fantastically lit.  So I pulled in to investigate.

    tequila-wylde-02

    It’s real-life 3D with some fresh coats of paint. The whole building was recently painted in many bright colors, with signs trumpeting the grand opening of Tequila Wyld, a “party bar.” From the look of all the broken beer bottles in the parking lot, they ain’t lying.

    This place keeps opening and closing at a rapid pace.  I was in there once long ago in the mid-90s to see Too Much Joy.  Both the band and myself missed the place the first two times by, and once inside it still felt like the middle of nowhere.  This part of South Broadway always feels that way, in general.

    While reminiscing about that night, I glanced over my shoulder and what is that?

    courtesy-diner-01

    Is it a Courtesy Diner?

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    Closer inspection revealed it couldn’t have been anything but. But my memory bank was drawing a blank.

    A little research confirms that 8701 S. Broadway was, indeed the Courtesy Chili Shop, opened in 1965, and city records tell the tale of its demise:

    Complaint Date: January 1996, Hamburger and bacon at the Courtesy Rest.taste and smells bad
    Complaint Date: June 1996, No hot water to the Courtsey (sp) Chili Shop
    Complaint Date: may 1997, Restaurant at this address is operating on expired business license. Please inspect.
    Complaint Date: June 1997, Too many extension cordes and wiring in disrepair.  Courtesy Restaurant.
    Complaint Date: July 1998, Business at this address is selling cars on parking lot.
    Complaint Date: February 1999, New owner of restaurant has not applid (sp) for C of I
    Complaint Date: March 1999, food smelled bad, cheese burgers and fries Courtesy, half cooked

    By July 1999, it was clearly a car lot, though an illegal one. And this amusing string of events triggered a memory of driving by this place in the mid-90s with a veteran South Sider, who told us, “Never ever eat there unless you’re suicidal.”  He was referring to only this site, because thousands of us have eaten at the remaining two Courtesy Diners and lived to see another day, though perhaps through a drunken fog.

    courtesy-diner-03

    As of April 2009 it’s listed as “Condemned for Occupancy; Can’t Demolish.”  Really, why not?

    Did any of you ever eat at this defunct Courtesy Diner? Please, do tell.

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    10 Responses to “South Broadway Illusion & Ghost”

    1. Never ate at that Courtesy, but enjoyed the nightlife of that very “party bar.” It’s the last business in the City of St. Louis, according to a previous owner, the south wall actually protruding into St. Louis County if he’s to be believed. In the ’50s and ’60s, the property included a pool and was a home to sock-hops and Friday night dance parties with the usual suspects: Kuban, Berry, Turner, Collins, et al.

      Fast forwarding some years, it was the Metal’s Edge, which met a watery demise. Who didn’t see Conquest or Anacrusis at the Edge?

      In recent years, as alluded, it’s had a number of names hung from the shingle. Rockstar was the last. The preceding Rock Island was potentially my favorite club at the site; caught everything from Fragile Porcelain Mice to a Gn’R cover band to spaghetti wrestling in that room. If anyone here knows me, bug me in person to tell you about the time that members of two bike gangs met near the pool tables…

      Thomas

    2. It was definitely a Courtesy Diner. Ate there many times in the early ’90s when I lived in Lemay and survived to tell the tale.

      The other place will always be Metal’s Edge to me.

    3. My God, Toby, that capsule history of the diner is about the most humorously macabre thing I’ve ever read! My Great-Aunt Anna used to own and operate a three-story apartment building somewhere on South Broadway north of there. I need sometime to cruise the vicinity and see if I can recognize it…

    4. Perhaps the “Can’t Demolish” is a nod to the growing official recognition of the importance of preserving mid-century roadside architecture…

      …or because no one wants to let fly the demons of the griddle, with their hair made of too many extension cords.

    5. Glad to see that you venture down south sometimes! If my memory serves me correctly, that bar served as a location shooting for a scene in the movie, “White Palace” with James Spader and Susan Sarandon. I once belted out “Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy from the stage there, but the bar has changed names so many times that I can’t recall what it was called back then!

    6. It was definitely a Courtesy Sandwich Shop. Many, many moons ago, when Metal’s Edge was across the street, KSHE conducted an interview with Jason Bonham (son of John Bonham, of Led Zep) from the shop. I think his band was playing at the club that night.

    7. Metal’s Edge…oh the memories!

    8. Does anyone remember the owner of Metal’s Edge? Brian somthing, it was so long ago, so many memories, in the 90’s my mom worked there non stop and i was always there as a kid!

    9. MY BAND (SKIN FLICK ) PLAYED THERE IN 92 , WE OPENED FOR CONQUEST N SLAMMIN GLADYS , YAKITY TRAKS N BAD CANDY . WE HAD A GOOD TIME , HARD TO BELEIVE ITS BEEN 20 YRS _ I MISS MY OLD BAND – NOT SURE WHAT BECAME OF ERIC , SYANN OR ADAM ? IF U KNOW THEM PLEASE E MAIL ME AT BREEDING.STEVEN@ATT.NET – LONG LIVE ROCK N ROLL 314- 882-3090

    10. I’m sure the flood of 1993 didn’t help this location. It can be seen in this episode of World Wide Magazine from that year.

      http://youtu.be/zjMz_xnVPko?t=3m30s

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