When you have lived in the same area for a while, maybe even your whole life, you might think you have seen everything there is to see in the 573. And when the dog days of Summer starts blazing focus on this part of the world, people often fall victim to a repetitive routine looking for a “What do I do now?”Some think the only cure is to jump on a plane and plant their feet on a beach or cruise to the city with the radio blasting. But I am here to tell you there is a cure just a short drive away and it’s free!If you live in the 573, you may have even been here! You have probably walked the trails and climbed the rocks and not even realized you were sitting on the antidote. Is it time to look again? And what is the name of this cure-all to Summer boredom? It’s called Pickle Springs! Maybe you’ve heard of it? Save your money, grab a bag, pack a water and jump in your car and hit the road. Or in the case of our bandana wearing newlyweds, hop on your Harley.Meet Skylar and Chuck Schwartz – fun loving bikers and hikers of trails.
Chuck Schwartz, 29, is a manager at a plastic injection site in St. Louis and his wife Skylar Schwartz, 24, is a social worker at North County. The couple both sport Harley Davidson shirts and if you look closely, Sturgis is written on the back of Skylar’s. A gift from her husband Chuck after taking his first trip to Sturgis this year in South Dakota with his best friend. Chuck plans to go to Sturgis with his friend every year from here on out. It was a happy requirement Skylar agreed to before they were married (a biker’s prenup, if you will).
After getting a couple of selfies on their bike, they tightened their bandanas, and we were off! Down the trail, through the gullies, and to the sandstone outcrops.Riding Chuck like a 64 Hardtail Sporter, Skylar gently pets the leaves of a fern. Little did she know that this fern is considered a glacial relict. In fact, where people walk today, Mammoths also walked thousands of years ago and fed off what is now the descendants of those same ferns.
The site supports over 250 vascular plant species, amongst them, are uncommon species that are considered long gone outside this national treasure known as Pickle Springs. These relict species are considered uncommon because they were prevalent thousands of years ago when Missouri’s climate was cold and wet because of glaciation, but tempers have risen substantially since.Pickle Springs has a way of opening your mind and allowing yourself to imagine what it was like thousands of years ago.
Going to Pickle Springs is no walk in the park, it’s a trail through time.Walking through time can take it out of you, so our bikers put on their helmets and rode off into the sun to get some grub.
Going from trees and dirt to brick walls and dim light is a nice change of scenery when you are hungry. Nothing can compare to the lush green trees, but nothing else quite compares to the back patio at 12 West in Farmington. It has the feeling as though it was picked up from the concrete jungle of the city and gently nestled in the heart of downtown Farmington in a cozy small town setting. It’s perfect for the people who don’t want to go far a big city vibe.
Nestled in the back patio, Chuck and Skylar take a seat amongst the other covered tables and lounge back amongst the flowers and brick walls. The perfect place to watch the sky change from blue to orange, to red, to blue, to black.It wasn’t long before the waiter greeted them for a drink order. Chuck opted to switch up his regular order of beer and went with water since he still had biking to do.As the sun set, our happy couple nibbled on a fried calamari and wonderful blacken fish tacos. A perfect end to a perfect dog day. Or should we say hog-day?
We asked Brian Hurst, owner of this hideaway a few important questions. A guy with 47 employees could certainly take a few minutes to answer our questions. Right?My wife Joan and I were walking around downtown Farmington right in front of what was once the black crow restaurant. A woman stopped and said you guys should buy this and open a restaurant. We all laughed. A couple of weeks later we purchased the building. That was in in 2004, and we never looked back. We had about 80 seats when we first opened then than in 2007 we bought the building next to us and added another 100 new seats and put in a new kitchen on the back of the new dining room. Then in 2009, we came up with a patio and landscaping design. Our patio would give us an additional 65 seats. Now we have 245 seats, and I manage 47 employees. Between 12 West in Farmington and 15 West In Perryville, we stay pretty busy.
One of our best selling lunch items is the fish tacos. They are served on three flour tortillas with blackened sole, Napa cabbage, fresh pico, raspberry chipotle mayo and cotja cheese. It comes with tortillas chips and house-made salsa.Catering is a big part of our business. We do caterings you can pick up and serve yourself. We cater large events such as weddings, corporate parties, or in smaller house parties. We can also come to your home and cook for you. We come up with the menu, show up with all the food, cook it in your kitchen, clean up and leave the leftovers.