Scott Connell went to college at NC State, graduating in 1988. But he knows St. Louis, the spot of the Pack’s Sweet 16 games this weekend, after working there for 21 years as a meteorologist for KSDK television. Connell does the morning weather for the station, which means he has to be at work at 2 a.m.
So who better, then, to provide an insider’s tour of St. Louis for Wolfpack fans traveling there to support the team as it plays Friday night and, we hope, on Sunday?
Naturally, Connell starts with the weather, which he says should be “pretty nice” this weekend. And, he says, there is plenty for Pack fans to do between games.
Connell recommends the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center and the Missouri History Museum — all of which are located in Forest Park. He says the boat house in the park is a great place to have lunch on a nice day.
The Hill is the place to find Italian food in St. Louis, which has a large Italian population. Connell’s favorite restaurant is Cunetto House of Pasta, but he says you can’t go wrong with most of the restaurants in the area. “Nothing on The Hill is overly expensive,” he says.
Connell says there are two dining experiences not to be missed in St. Louis. One is frozen custard from Ted Drewes. “You want to order a Concrete, which is similar to a Blizzard from Dairy Queen, only much better,” he says. “But be warned — if you order a large, it is LARGE.”
The second is toasted ravioli, which Connell says is a St. Louis tradition. “You will find that at a lot of restaurants, even non-Italian restaurants,” he says.
Connell offers one warning: If you order St. Louis-style pizza, it will be made with gooey Provel cheese (a mixture of cheddar, swiss and provolone), have a very thin crust and will be cut in squares. He says you can ask that it be made with mozzarella instead.
Of course, Connell says the Gateway Arch and the Museum of Westward Expansion at the base is worth checking out. But he warns anyone who is claustrophobic to think twice before taking the elevator to the top. “It’s a little capsule,” he says. “It’s an engineering marvel, but if you’re claustrophobic it won’t work for you.”
Fans with cars might consider making the short drive to the old town section of St. Charles, where the streets are still made of cobblestone and there are plenty of shops and restaurants. Lewis and Clark’s restaurant is a popular spot with tourists.
Connell says fans should consider checking out a new rooftop bar called 360 that sits atop the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, which offers panoramic views of downtown and Busch Stadium.
Connell says Pack fans will be greatly outnumbered by Kansas fans. “Tickets are hard to come by right now because of Kansas fans,” he says. “There are lots of KU fans in St. Louis to begin with, plus we’re only four hours from Kansas.”
Connell will be out of town for Friday’s game, but already has tickets for Sunday, when he expects NC State to meet UNC with a trip to the Final Four on the line. He predicts that NC State will beat Kansas by three points.
“I think Jim Valvano would be very proud of these boys,” he says.