by Ian Froeb
It's Saturday brunch-time, no better time to spend a couple of hours reading a nice, fat comforting book (David McCullough's Truman works nicely - it's election year, after all), nursing a cup of coffee and hunching protectively over a scone or a plate of pancakes or maybe even a bowl of berries and cream, just to pretend that spring is on its way sooner than later. I can't pretend to have done an absolutely conclusive study, but it seems to me there is no better place in the city to do all these things than La Dolce Via, the little bakery on the corner of Arco and Taylor in Forest Park Southeast. And definitely no better place to eat a scone.
It's not the most obvious place for a business, it's true. The neighborhood is mostly residential. Unless you happen to be driving down the stretch of Taylor between Manchester and Choteau, you won't stumble across it. Which is a damned shame. Because on this particular Saturday, at brunch-time, business is so slow that two of the servers, Chris and Andrea, are building a diorama.
Chris bought the materials on Tuesday, to pass the time while waiting around for a repairman. (La Dolce Via is closed on Tuesdays. Also Mondays.) So far, he has constructed a waterfall. He has put several coats of blue paint on it. With clay, he and Andrea have constructed several woodland animals to graze on the grass at the top of the waterfall; Andrea has made a deer with a delicate and elaborate pair of spreading horns on top of its head. It's really quite beautiful.
La Dolce Via has already cut down on its weekend dinner service, determined by the RFT to be the best-kept restaurant secret in St. Louis, because of severe underpopulation. Now its servers have so much down time during brunch that they are making a diorama. Come on, people! There is no reason for this foolishness. Get out to La Dolce Via this weekend and eat, dammit!