by Nancy Stiles
If there's one thing the Loop is missing, it's an all-night diner. Businessman Joe Edwards plans to open the Peacock Loop Diner next year as part of Washington University's new $80 million student apartment project, the Lofts of Washington University.
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Edwards also owns Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City, 314-727-4444), the Moonrise Hotel (6177 Delmar Boulevard, University City, 314-721-1111) and the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard, University City, 314-726-6161), but he tells Gut Check that he sees this latest project as a way to connect the Loop from east to west. "There were a few more pieces in the puzzle to really make it a topnotch, livable, walkable neighborhood," Edwards says. "It's really exciting to me to have Wash. U. construct those buildings -- that they're putting retail on the first floor, not student housing, just shows they really understand it is important to the Loop to have those continuous storefronts."
Edwards chose the peacock name and theme because he felt it would appeal to people from all over the country and the world, as Washington University has so many out-of-state and international students. Edwards also says he has collected peacock items for years.
"There's something pretty magical about peacocks -- they're very unique creatures in nature and gorgeous, so it'll give me a chance to really design some fun, beautiful signage," he says.
Next: The Loop finally gets a grocery store.
Next to the Peacock Loop Diner will be Global Foods Market, an international grocery on the ground floor of a five-story student-housing building at Delmar Boulevard and Eastgate Avenue. It'll be the second outpost for Global Foods; a Kirkwood location opened in 1999.
"Expansion was always in the back of our mind, but the opportunity didn't present itself till Wash. U. approached us," says Global Foods Market's Shayn Prapaisilp. "What better location than the Loop?" Prapaisilp says it will have products with students in mind -- smaller kitchens, cooking for one person -- but hopes to be a grocery for the entire University City community.
"The Loop is such a destination for people in St. Louis and from out of town, and people have been clamoring for a grocery in U. City for a long time. We bring a really unique and local concept to the area," he says. Both the Peacock Loop Diner and Global Foods Market are aiming to open in July or August 2014.