St. Louis has its venerable arts traditions, destinations and presentations. The thriving arts scene also makes plenty of room for the recognition of emerging and avant-garde artists.

The preeminent celebration of artistic creativity in its most uncensored form will occur during the St Lou Fringe Festival from Thu., June 21, to Sun., June 24, in Midtown. This festival gives you the perfect excuse to enjoy a meal at Café Ventana, a funky little eatery that plays to the free-spirited nature of St Lou Fringe.

The festival is completely un-juried, uncensored and accessible to all artists (first come, first served). What’s more, all ticket sales go back to the artists, both on and off stage. The goal of St Lou Fringe is “to connect bold artists with bold audiences.” The performances and the exhibitions are bound to expand audiences’ minds and give voice to the up-and-comers who have something to say through art.

At some point during your day at the festival, food – good, creative, satisfying food – should be part of the plan. Café Ventana, which sits on the fringe of Midtown, plays to this event’s quirky originality.

It’s sometimes nice to have a vegetarian option, especially in the summer. Café Ventana features the apple Brie sandwich, which is as creative as it is satisfying. Fresh walnut bread is lightly coated with a honey-walnut spread, piled generously with apples and creamy brie then pressed to golden panini perfection for a crispy, crunchy, salty and sweet sandwich.

No trip to Café Ventana is complete, however, without an order of Ventana Signature Beignets. Hot and fresh and covered in mounds of powdered sugar, these little pillows of love are not to be missed. They’ll put just the right amount of tradition and familiarity into your day.


Café Ventana, 3919 West Pine Blvd., 314.531.7500,


St. Lou Fringe Festival, Thu., June 21, to Sun., June 24, 314.643.7853, Performances will happen at four Midtown venues within a .6-mile footprint. Guests will need to buy a one-time button, and each performance has its own pricing between $1 and $12 (at the artist’s discretion).

Every Thursday, Amy Burdge recommends a restaurant to attend before a local cultural event for a great night out. Missed one of her Dinner & A Show columns? Get them all here. Outside of FEAST, Burdge writes Eat It, St. Louis!, a blog dedicated to the pure love of food, the artistry and passion of those who create it and the sheer experience it provides.

More Feast Magazine | Inspired Midwest food culture covering St. Louis, Kansas City and mid-Missouri articles.