The Delmar Loop, or “The Loop” as it is known today, is an entertainment and cultural district in University City, Missouri. The Delmar Loop moniker is derived from a streetcar turnaround, or “loop,” formerly located in the area. The name Delmar was conceived when two early landowners living on opposite sides of the street, one from Delaware and one from Maryland, combined the names of their home states.
During the 1950s, the Loop was a popular spot for University City’s teenagers. The Varsity Theater and the Tivoli ran feature movie premieres. Ed’s Billiards, which was located between the two theaters, was always a teenager hang-out. There was never any shortage of restaurants in the Loop. Enright Avenue, part of the streetcar turnaround, had a drug store and three restaurants plus a record store. There was another drug store on the corner of Delmar and Kingsland. Both drugstores had soda fountains.
Today on Delmar Loop
The Delmar Loop continues to be a buzzing entertainment and dining hub with a diverse mix of noodle bars, BBQ restaurants, Korean and Mexican eateries, with clubs and pubs lining Delmar Boulevard. Well-known locals with stars on the St. Louis Walk of Fame include Maya Angelou and Betty Grable, as well as Chuck Berry, whose statue is nearby. Music venues like the Pageant and Delmar Hall stage rock, roots, and indie gigs.
The Loop is home to the MetroLink light rail transit station on the east side of the area.
Major Loop residents include:
• The Pageant music venue
• Riverfront Times newspaper
• Tivoli Theater
• University City City Hall
• University City Public Library
• Blueberry Hill Restaurant
• Fitz’s Restaurant and Bottling Company
Some companies, such as Answers.com and Integrity, have their headquarters in the Delmar Loop.
The St. Louis Walk of Fame is located on the Loop, which includes a series of brass plaques embedded in the sidewalk along Delmar Boulevard commemorating famous St. Louisans, including musicians Chuck Berry, Miles Davis, and Tina Turner, actor John Goodman, bridge-builder James Eads, and famous sex therapist couple Masters and Johnson.
The Loop Trolley is a 2.2-mile fixed-track heritage trolley line under construction in the Loop, which will link the area with MetroLink and Forest Park attractions. This project received a $24.9 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration.
The Loop is also home to many local ethnic restaurants, including Al-Tarboush deli, Peacock Loop Diner, Blueprint Coffee, Corner 17 Chinese Restaurant, Gokul Indian Restaurant, Gyro House, Meshuggah Cafe, Mission Taco, Three Kings Public House, Seoul Taco Korean Tacos, Piccione Pastry, Ranoush Mediterranean Cuisine, Snarf’s Sandwiches, and four Thai restaurants, all owned by Pat’s Thai Restaurants.
The Loop attracts a colorful, wide variety of street life, probably because of its proximity to Washington University. Although the Loop is the natural “college town” area for nearby Washington University, few retail establishments and restaurants are primarily supported by college students. In 2007, the American Planning Association referenced the Delmar Loop as “One of the 10 Great Streets in America.”