Finding Il Vicino

il vicino clayton closed due to fire

Il Vicino was one of our favorite restaurants in St. Louis. But Il Vicino had a series of unfortunate incidents.

First, a wayward car plowed through the outdoor dining area and right into the restaurant. Not good.

A couple years later, Il Vicino had a fire and closed indefinitely. Not good at all.

I’ve eaten hundreds of meals at Il Vicino. When it was just my husband and me. When we were expecting our baby.

When we celebrated our baby’s first birthday with friends. When we were without a kitchen for six months during the big house remodel.

Have our order memorized. Two house salads with gorgonzola, a Da Vinci pizza, a children’s penne pasta with marinara on the side, a regular Coke not diet, an iced tea and a lemonade. For here or to go. Always the same.

As the months dragged on after the fire and the restaurant didn’t reopen, I knew I’d never eat at Il Vicino again. There were other locations, but not in St. Louis.

It was sad, but survivable. We moved on to other pizza places.

Dewey’s opened a location in University City. Pi opened in the Loop. And there was always good old Papa John’s or Domino’s.

St. Louis folks will notice Imo’s missing from our list. In our nearly 13 years here, we never did acquire a taste for St. Louis style pizza so many of you love.

Anyway, we moved on. Same way we did when we left Sir Pizza in High Point, North Carolina, and Giordano’s in Chicago.

il vicino wichita

Then we found out we’d be moving on literally. Our relocation to Wichita was imminent. We journeyed west for a visit.

You’ll never guess where we ate pizza in Wichita.

That’s right. Il Vicino. They have two locations there. The only two in the state of Kansas.

MapQuest revealed Il Vicino is less than five miles from our new house.

Memories flood me in these final days as a resident of St. Louis. I visit the places we’ve frequented and drive the roads we’ve traveled for more than a decade. They’ve become sacred in a way.

It’s the memories and the people that make them so. It’s the life that was lived there. Like our bodies, these places are dust but for the lives that were lived there. The living gives them meaning.

Translated, the Italian il vicino means the nearby.

leaving university city

Wichita, St. Louis, Chicago, North Carolina—they’re not so far apart. I hold them in the nearby. In my memory, my heart. I will add to them as long as I am alive.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8 NIV

Emmanuel. God with us. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by The Franz Family.

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14 Comments

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14 Responses to Finding Il Vicino

  1. Still not an Imo’s fan, either. Never will be.

    Happy for you that there’s an Il Vicino in Wichita! Little comforts of home make transition easier.

  2. Following the emotional progress of how you are adjusting to this move Aimee has been inspiring. It is a lesson in embracing change, respecting the past, knowing what you can hold on to and gracefully letting go of what you cannot. There may not be a J Crew there, but you’ll at least have the comforts of take out. I look forward to the newness that Wichita has to offer that will become just one more piece of the magnificent person you are.

  3. Good luck with your move, I didn’t realize it was so soon! I used to eat at Il Vicino a lot when I worked in Clayton. Glad you have one nearby to remind you of St. Louis. :)

  4. Amy Howard

    Glad you have found something familiar…it will help with the transition (and we eat at Sir Pizza almost everytime we go to HP! :)

    • I don’t know what it is about Sir Pizza… Another friend posted his location on FB when he was eating at Sir Pizza and you should have seen the comment stream (mine comment included)! There’s comfort in the familiar, that’s for sure!

  5. Libby

    Boo hoo!!! :( This post totally made me cry as it’s officially hitting me that you’ll be gone… but there were also tears of happiness as I read your Il Vicino story. Can’t believe there’s one “nearby” in Wichita–crazy! And isn’t it just like God to surprise you with His goodness, confirming yet again you’re on the path He has laid out before you? God with us, indeed. :)

  6. Are you trying to lure us to Wichita? It worked:)

  7. Glad to hear that you are finding little things to look forward to in Wichita. Now I want to try Il Vicino pizza.

    May this be only the first of many new discoveries that you share with your blog readers!