Your Place Diner is now open in Dutchtown in south St. Louis

Last month, Your Place Diner opened at 5510 Virginia Ave. in Dutchtown, in the former home of Iron Barley, under the leadership of husband-and-wife duo Dwayne and Vera Nelson. Featuring classic American food with both a rotating soul food menu and a rotating barbecue menu, Your Place aims to offer a little something for everyone.

“I wanted to [take] my family Thanksgiving that we have at our home every year and bring it to everyone here to have it pretty much everyday,” said Your Place co-owner Dwayne Nelson about the diner’s origins. “But for now, Thursdays and Sundays are when we are doing our soul food.”

The diner also features tacos and nachos for each Taco Tuesday, as well as wing specials on what they're calling Wild Wing Wednesday. With so many specialty items, it’d be easy to overlook Your Place’s primary menu. But with entrees like Dwayne’s Philly, a choice of the fried or blackened catfish sandwich, and fire-roasted veggie pasta, Your Place’s menu offers a wide range of food for any customer, not just those looking for their rotating menus.

“[Our] chicken is one of the most popular [dishes], our macaroni, the candied yams,” said Nelson when asked about the bestsellers. “The collard greens, the string beans, it’s all great.” But what is Dwayne’s personal favorite dish on his menu? Is it the baked chicken? The fried cabbage? “I grew up with all of it! Everything is my favorite,” he said with a laugh.

As for the barbecue menu, Dwayne’s brother-in-law, Nathaniel, handles the meats on Saturdays, cooking up beef and pork ribs and anything else on the menu for the day. “We like to switch it up; [our] Thursday [menu] is different from Sunday. [Our menu] is really whatever … my sister, Pamela Nelson, head of kitchen … wants to pull out of her hat to make it exciting and different,” said Nelson. “We’ve got string beans on Thursday and Sunday, fried cabbage, curry chicken, neck bones and oxtails,” he added. “It really just depends on the day.”

There's also a full bar with a range of liquors, including top-shelf offerings like Hennessy XO and brands from famous people such as Michael Jordan and the Rock. There are several specialty cocktails, with some of the most popular drinks including the Pineapple Upside-down Cake, with UV Cake vodka, pineapple juice, grenadine and a cherry; the Barbie Doll with Malibu rum, peach schnapps, triple sec, vodka, cranberry juice, lemonade and Sprite; and the Southside Trashcan, which features seven liquors topped with Red Bull. There are also bottles of beer available, both domestic and imported, as well as four wines and a Champagne.

And in case you hadn’t noticed, Your Place is a family affair – with Dwayne and Vera as co-owners, Pamela and her husband, Nathaniel, as head of kitchen and pitmaster, respectively, it only makes sense that Dwayne and Vera’s three children, Robert, King and Luckie, help tend to the diner when they are available. 

And that sense of family and comfort is Your Place’s goal. “[We bring] good hospitality,” said Nelson. “We offer just a homey-type experience where you feel like you’re at home and the place is actually yours. Each customer, it feels like their place – we’re bringing our place to you.”

With approximately 2,800 square feet of space to work with, Your Place can comfortably seat up to 110 guests, with seating available upstairs, downstairs and outside on the patio, which has heat lamps. Hours are still in flux, but Your Place Diner is currently open on Monday from 6 to 11 p.m., Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from noon to 1:30 a.m.