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.
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.
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.
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.