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Illustration by Yulia Brodskaya
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Photo by Carmen Troesser
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Photo by Wesley Law
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Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
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HEALTH AND FITNESS
Photo By Wesley Law
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SHOPPING AND SERVICE
Photo By Kevin A. Roberts
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SPORTS AND MEDIA
Photo Courtesy of Dan Donovan/St. Louis Cardinals
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Photo By Jennifer Silverberg
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Photo By Jennifer Silverberg
Place to Indulge: VanBuskirk Artisanal Chocolates
5326 Route N, Cottleville, 636-352-1139,vanbuskirkartisanal.com
VanBuskirk leaves no vice untried. You will find European-style truffles in flavors like caramelized pear–and–goat cheese, fair-trade coffee made with old-school pour-over equipment, ice cream in designer flavors like chocolate-banana-curry, chocolate martinis made with all-natural ingredients, craft beer, a thoughtful wine list, great pizzas, and even rare cigars. During the summer months, kids can make s’mores over the patio’s fire pit, while adults can enjoy gourmet s’mores in flavors like bacon–and–salted caramel, hand-dipped in dark chocolate.
Restaurant Complex: The Cheshire
6300 Clayton, 314-647-7300, cheshirestl.com
The most target-rich environment for St. Louis–area gourmets must be at The Cheshire in Clayton. The inn features the lovely, cozy Restaurant at the Cheshire, as well as the sleek, Italian-flavored café Basso in the basement. The Market, in rustic Tudor splendor, features breakfasts and lunches of deli-type fare. And Fox & Hounds Tavern, The Cheshire’s own pub, is the perfect place for a cold one and a sandwich after a long day chasing foxes in Clayton’s wilder environs.
Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Patio: The Block
33 N. Sarah, 314-535-5100,theblockrestaurant.com
Alas, Terrene is gone, and The Block’s second location in the Central West End has taken over—and inherited and improved the city’s most gracious restaurant patio. It’s intimate, convivial, relaxing. Brick floors, soft lighting, and a canopy of trees overhead all work with the space’s handsome wood walls to create an environment that says “Enjoyable alfresco dining,” like The Block’s iconic condiment says “Bacon jam? Are you serious?”
Vegan’s Dream: Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant
3210 S. Grand, 314-772-4442,meskeremstl.com
The vegetarian combo here is exotic Ethiopian fare: lentils marinated in garlic and ginger; ground chickpeas with a lemony tang, sautéed with onions; dark green collards, finely chopped, then cooked with ginger, peppers, and garlic; and two different stews. Vegetarian food rarely reaches this level of inspired deliciousness—or addresses your jones for fenugreek. Grab a hunk of airy, spongy injera sourdough and give this aromatic mixture of tastes and textures a try, to see just how amazing a nonmeat meal can be.
Soul Food: The Choice
3265 S. Jefferson, 314-776-5700
The Choice is an all-you-can-eat soul-food buffet where your eyes and stomach will battle to see who’s bigger. Fried chicken; moist and crunchy smothered chicken; candied yams; greens; mac and cheese; and sticky bread pudding compete for your attention across the 25-item buffet—and all for a single bargain price. (Not only that, but the restaurant is also open late enough that it just might defeat your hangover before it can begin.)
Use of Bacon: Sugarfire Smoke House
9200 Olive, 314-997-2301, sugarfiresmokehouse.com
It’s not every day that the crew over at Sugarfire Smoke House makes “bacon-wrapped bacon,” and that’s a pity. They cut a meatball-size chunk from the meaty half of the pork belly, spice it, roll it in sweet barbecue sauce, wrap a slice of bacon around it, place it in the smoker for a little while, then resauce and resmoke it. The flavor of crispy bacon and smoky-sweet barbecue sauce yields to a succulent, “creamy pork-butter” interior. This is the ultimate indulgence.
Calzones: Sauce on the Side
903 Pine, 314-241-5667, eatcalzones.com
When Sauce on the Side opened its doors last year, we got excited. The humble calzone would be the basis for an entire menu—and what a menu! Pockets of dough are stuffed with 15 combinations, such as pepperoni, eggplant, basil, and roasted garlic; chorizo, jalapeños, and yellow peppers; and salami, dates, and baby spinach—all layered with luscious melted cheeses. Regulars aim for the monthly specials with outrageous flavors and names, like the Hot Muther Clucker and the Kung Pow Zone.
Sister Restaurant: Russell’s on Macklind
5400 Murdoch, 314-553-9994, russellscafe.com
With grilled sandwiches like the S.S.P. (Smelly, Sticky Pig) and various wrap and salad options, Russell’s on Macklind (the flagship Russell’s Café & Bakery is in Fenton) is a must for lunch. Also open for breakfast, Sunday brunch, and dinner, the café offers a small but thoughtful wine-and-beer list, as well as great service alongside the delicious food. But it’s the gooey butter cake, with its signature shortbread crust, that will have you wishing that you lived in the adjoining neighborhood in Southampton.
Small Dish: Olio
1634 Tower Grove, 314-932-1088, oliostl.com
One of our favorite spots in the past year has been a stool at the end of Olio’s sleek bar, nursing a glass of wine and snacking on slices of crusty bread adorned with a schmear of house-madeburrata: fresh mozzarella pulled around a gooey core of torn mozzarella that’s suspended in fresh cream. Not sold? This blissful pairing turns sinful when dressed in a generous two-tone drizzle of golden olive oil and light amber maple syrup.
Photo by Kevin A. Roberts
Pastries: Chouquette and Piccione Pastry
Chouquette: 1626 Tower Grove, 314-827-4049, simonefaure.com
Piccione Pastry: 6197 Delmar, 314-932-1355, piccionepastry.com
As bakeries continue to take over St. Louis, two stand above the rest. Both serve stellar desserts in spaces that reflect their products’ nationalities and owners’ pedigrees. The first is French, housed in an elegantly quaint tearoom, with dusky blue and gold accents, marble, and a jewelry display case solely formacarons; the owner, Simone Faure (above), hails from New Orleans and was formerly the pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. The second is Italian, with sleek lines, red and gray pops of color, and endless cream-filled pastries lining the length of the shop; its owner, Richard Nix, also runs Butler’s Pantry and has reached back into his Italian heritage for inspiration. Whether you want a mille-feuilleor a sfogliatella riccia, chances are you’ll mangle the pronunciation, but that won’t stop you from pointing.
Sandwich Selection: J. Viviano & Sons
5139 Shaw, 314-771-5476, shopviviano.com
What do juicy meatballs and Provel, pan-fried eggplant and mozzarella, cracked–black pepper turkey and Swiss have in common? They’re lovingly loaded into a signature roll at Viviano’s. Neighboring Marconi Bakery makes the chewy halves of muffuletta daily for the most unique sandwich experience on The Hill. Expert navigation may be required to land at this legendary grocer’s sandwich counter—it’s tucked into a corner of the shop—but the sandwich spoils go to the persistent.
Atmosphere: Hendricks BBQ
1200 S. Main, St. Charles, 636-724-8600, hendricksbbq.com
Hendricks packs ’em in with tender brisket and hand-pulled pork that hit more smoky notes than B.B. King performing “Every Day I Have the Blues.” Reclaimed wood, checkered cloth, and playful winged pigs flying among Craftsman-inspired chandeliers make for a modern backdrop at this gussied-up smokehouse. And the impressive cocktail program and spirit list (think bourbon and moonshine) feel right at home among sauce-filled squeeze bottles and cast-iron skillets of cornbread.
Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Tasting Menu: Niche
7734 Forsyth, 314-773-7755, nichestlouis.com
When Gerard Craft moved his intimate, thoughtful, and utterly delicious eatery to Clayton, patrons debated how the compelling dining experience could improve. The maturation crystallizes at the four-seat chef’s counter. Overlooking the immaculate new kitchen, diners are treated to progressive tasting menus in a spot where interaction with the kitchen staff is encouraged. Watch chefs cook and plate, ask questions, and dive into course after course of remarkable culinary creativity.
Dumplings: Fork & Stix
549 Rosedale, 314-863-5572
A filling of minced pork, crab, and shrimp delivers a righteous trifecta of flavors, but it takes these dumplings’ packaging—a wrapping of tofu skin that’s blistered and crisp from a bath in rocket-hot oil—to truly prove the point that great things come in small packages. Our beloved T-ravs will always have a special place in our hearts, but the rustic Thai dumplings at Fork & Stix are among the finest we’ve found locally.
Reinvention of a Classic Dish: Truffles
9202 Clayton, 314-567-9100, www.todayattruffles.com
After reinventing itself into a high-end steakhouse of sorts, this Ladue restaurant has taken its wedge salad, that genre-defining classic hunk of iceberg, and turned it into something extraordinary by topping it with some delicious goodies: fried crawfish, spicy ranch dressing, oven-roasted tomatoes, crunchy brioche croutons, and (best of all) bacon lardons that are delightfully chewy, like pork jerky.
Neighborhood Diner: Southwest Diner
6803 Southwest, 314-260-7244, southwestdinerstl.com
Filled with a quirky mix of decor that might aptly be described as Cowboy Hipster, Southwest Diner has been defining “hidden gem” since its opening on a quiet stretch of Southwest Avenue in Maplewood last year. Local foodies quickly took notice of the diner’s great Southwestern takes on breakfast staples like biscuits and gravy (in Southwest’s case, made with chorizo), Jonathan’s Famous Fiery Scramble, and burritos served “Christmas-style” with red and green chili sauces.
Photo by Kevin A. Roberts
Popsicles: Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop
2201 Cherokee, 314-932-5166, whiskstl.com
Yes, popsicles—and from a bakery. The flavors would give the Good Humor man naughty dreams: The ice pops come in peach-basil, Vietnamese coffee, Mexican hot chocolate… (Hint: Your favorite will be the salted caramel apple–sicle.) Better known as a heaven for cupcake lovers, Whisk also has a booth at the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, offering such astounding icy treats every summer. The intensity of tastes detonates icy explosions on your tongue with every lick.
Steak Savvy: Citizen Kane’s Steak House
133 W. Clinton, 314-965-9005, citizenkanes.com
The advertising folks at Guinness had a word for it: Brilliant! To ensure that guests at the restaurant order the cut of steak they want (not what they feel they can afford), owner Jack Kane prices all of his steaks equally, at $34.95, and that includes a salad and a side dish, which might just be the best-quality steak deal in town. Order this, and thank us later: the rib-eye, a Rosebud salad with Mayfair dressing, and a side of creamed spinach.
Reason to Eat Kale: Cleveland-Heath
106 N. Main, Edwardsville, Ill., 618-307-4830, clevelandheath.com
To break down the leaves’ tough fibers for Cleveland-Heath’s kale salad, co-owner and chef Eric Heath instructs the prep cooks to “beat the kale leaves on the side of the prep table, and then beat ’em some more.” Finely chopped and tossed with a bit of crushed red pepper flakes, some Parmesan crisps, and a snappy lemon vinaigrette, the result is the best (and most tender) version of the now-ubiquitous superfood on either side of the river.
Mini Pie: Pie Oh My!
2719 Sutton, 314-704-4416, pieohmystl.com
What do you do when you want a big ol’ slice of pie, but not the whole thing? The good people of Maplewood’s Pie Oh My! read your mind. The bakery’s 2 ½–inch–round mini pies (at just $3 per) boast more flaky crust than a typical slice and come in varieties like coconut cream, cashew chocolate maple, caramel apple pecan, and peach blueberry crumble. Ask for one warm from the oven and topped with a sumptuous scoop of Serendipity ice cream.
Photo by Carmen Troesser
Potpie: The Piccadilly at Manhattan
7201 Picadilly, 314-646-0016,thepiccadilly.com
The uninitiated will wonder what sits atop almost all of the servers’ trays at The Picadilly at Manhattan, while regulars know this curiosity to be one of the place’s most popular dishes: that ultimate comfort food, chicken potpie. Whether you dive front and center into the giant puff of browned pastry or just chip away at the sides, you won’t be disappointed by what lies beneath: tender chunks of chicken, carrots, lima beans, and corn enrobed in a creamy sauce that’s supremely slurpable on its own.
If we have a bone to pick with the wings at J.Buck’s, it’s about the accompaniments. Diners are asked to choose between ranch or blue-cheese dressing. Both are as good as any we’ve had (as is the Buffalo sauce), so we’re lobbying that these crispy-skinned, smoked-then-fried wings come with all of the above—if you’re gonna do wings, do ’em all the way.
7734 Forsyth, 314-862-6603, pastariastl.com
Since Pastaria opened, its savory cooking has received much praise. But no meal’s complete without pastry chef Anne Croy’s gelatos. The rotating selection ranges from the ordinary chocolate (but not really, as it uses small-batch Askinosie chocolate from Springfield, Mo.) to a combo of blackberries, Calvados, and lemon zest.
Breakfast Item: prasino
1520 S. Fifth, 636-277-0202, prasino.com
One of our all-time favorites—eggs Benedict—just hopped over the pond to become a little better. In prasino’s Paris Benedict, rolled ham and Brie, farm eggs, and truffled hollandaise sauce balance atop prasino’s house-made pretzel croissant like Philippe Petit teeters on the high wire.
Photo by Carmen Troesser
Pork Dish: Acero
7266 Manchester, 314-644-1790,fialafood.com/acero
You could travel from Chicago to St. Louis in the time that it takes Acero’s kitchen to prepare the 5-Hour Slow Roasted Porchetta—and it’d be worth the trip. The dish is savory, salty, golden-crusted, and glistening with richness. With a resin-sharp brightness of rosemary and garlic fragrance in every bite, this boneless preparation of pork roast defines tender goodness. The roast and accompanying potato purée are covered in a glossy sugo. This is dining very high on the hog.
Food Truck: Bombay Food Junkies
The only kitchen in town offering authentic Bombay street food is actually on the street. Try the Bombay burger, a fried potato–and–chickpea flour patty on a bun with sweet or spicy chutney. Addictive Indian-style pizza is palak paneer (cooked spinach and cheese) atop spicy tomato sauce and dough. Wash it down with a sweet mango lassi, and finish with a dessert of kulfi, made with frozen cream, saffron, cardamom, and ground nuts.
Photo by Carmen Troesser
Burger From an Unexpected Place: Marcella’s Mia Sorella
14426 Clayton, 636-333-1015,miasorellastl.com
On paper, the burger at Marcella’s Mia Sorella seems to be an afterthought, its description clinging to the bottom of the menu, below the pizza and pastas. But oh, what a hamburger it is: a chewy, baked-daily bun cradles a charred patty of pastured Missouri beef ensconced in melted fontina cheese, onion jam, and pancetta. It’s a delicious, salty-sweet combo that deserves top billing.
Road-Trip Dining: Celebrations Restaurant
615 Bellevue, Cape Girardeau, 573-334-8330, celebrations-restaurant.com
You’re on the road, heading south to Memphis or New Orleans—or maybe just taking a leisurely weekend drive. Either way, you should make a stop at Cape Girardeau’s Celebrations Restaurant. The eatery boasts a diverse menu that’s rich with local products, a massive wine list filled with treasures, a classic dining room, and service to match. Knowing that Celebrations comes at the end of your drive makes the two-hour jaunt nothing short of a “Let’s go!”
Dream Team: Restaurant Service All-Stars
Photos by Kevin A. Roberts
Zoe Robinson I Fratellini, Bar Les Frères, Bobo Noodle House
The Carrie Underwood of restaurateurs cranks out hit after hit. Her latest success is Bar Les Frères, lying hidden around a busy street corner in Clayton, like a shadowy bistro off the Champs-Élysées. The affable and glamorous Robinson works the room the same way she decorated it—effortlessly. (The design playfully pairs gilt-framed portraits and red walls with a mob of deer antlers.) You’ll love her. She’ll love you. 7624 Wydown, 314-727-7901, ifratellini.com; 7637 Wydown, 314-725-8880; 278 N. Skinker, 314-863-7373, bobonoodle.com
Christopher Kelling Niche
For a restaurant to be successful, the personnel needs to match the vibe, and that should start at the top. At Niche, it does. A San Francisco native, Kelling brought a bit of that city’s cool to Gerard Craft’s flagship restaurant, which is enjoying a second hey-
day after relocating to Clayton. A restaurant’s seating chart is a fluid puzzle, and Kelling shuffles it better than Rowe Hessler works a Rubik’s Cube. He’s always gauging your satisfaction, which his razor-sharp staff virtually guarantees. 7734 Forsyth, 314-773-7755, nichestlouis.com
John Johnson Lumière Place, River City Casino
He should get some kind of endurance award for overseeing eight dining venues at Lumière Place and River City Casino, banquets at both casinos, room service at the two hotels, and two employee dining rooms that crank out 2,000 meals per day. And throw in the whimsy award for good measure: He served gator ribs (using alligator sourced from a Cajun buddy) when Mizzou played Louisiana State University, and he reintroduced St. Louis to the brain sandwich—while dressed as a zombie. 999 N. Second, 314-881-7777,lumiereplace.com; 777 River City Casino, 314-388-7777,rivercity.com
Andrey Ivanov Olio, Elaia
Considering he received the highest score on the Advanced Sommelier exam in 2011, it’s fair to say that Ivanov knows more about wine than anyone else in St. Louis.
A glance at Olio’s wine list or Elaia’s 275-bottle list bears this out. Both lists offer rare finds—from Lebanon, Israel, Slovenia—plus pages of fortified wines. Ivanov’s also the general manager of the two restaurants, which all but assures the rest of your evening will be as rewarding as that bottle from the Beqaa Valley that he suggested.1634 Tower Grove, 314-932-1088, oliostl.com, elaiastl.com
Cassie Williams Salt
Is it possible that the best servers might also be the least experienced? We see it happen all the time: Neither jaded nor pretentious, they have a genuine enthusiasm when doing those rote dissertations, such as the evening’s specials and “culinary” cocktails. And they radiate positive energy—all of which describes Williams, who will soon receive a master’s degree in social work. Revelatory on several levels, she confesses, “I love people and this business. Even after I get my MSW, I will continue to serve.” 4356 Lindell, 314-932-5787, enjoysalt.com
Arts addition: Lisa Melandri, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington, 314-535-4660, camstl.org
Since arriving from the Santa Monica Museum of Art last August, the new director of the Contemporary has worked to put art into every inch of Brad Cloepfil’s iconic building, which turns 10 this year. (That includes the exterior: As Melandri told virtual auction house Paddle8, the staff will “turn the museum inside out” this fall with video projections on the building’s facade.) She is joie de vivre incarnate, understands that “serious” and “fun” aren’t mutually exclusive, and most important, is making sure that the museum is accessible to all.
Arts Building: East Wing, Saint Louis Art Museum
1 Fine Arts, Forest Park, 314-721-0072, slam.org
The facts and figures are impressive: The museum’s expansion was designed by noted British architect Sir David Chipperfield, who worked in tandem with local architecture firm HOK. The building expands the museum’s space by 30 percent, with 300 new parking spaces, a café, a restaurant, and an education center. It’s allowed curators to reinstall whole collections in the old building, while providing a perfect environment for the museum’s modern and contemporary collections, especially its important holdings in postwar German art. It’s a technical marvel, an aesthetic delight, and it has attracted attention from the national and international press. But for St. Louis, it’s also, perhaps, symbolically important: It’s a reminder that we don’t have to daydream about 1904 anymore, and we don’t have to settle for anything less than world-class.
Live Theater: Shakespeare in the Streets
Last spring, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis undertook one of the most genius approaches to creative place-making that the city has ever seen, with its Cherokee-flavored version of The Tempest. The script alluded to nearby landmarks like the Casa Loma Ballroom and the American Indian statue that faces Jefferson Avenue. Residents and business owners starred alongside professional actors. The free play drew 350 audience members, despite the cold April weather. The organization begins rehearsals for its next In the Streets production next month, this time in The Grove—though we’ll have to wait till September to see what play was chosen and how it weaves into the neighborhood’s inspiring whos and whats.
New Gallery: The Hinge
We’ve had apartment galleries in St. Louis for several years, but none like The Hinge. It’s housed in a venerable Central West End building with units that feature an unusual French “spinal” floor plan that’s perfect for showing art—and part of its genius is how it takes the domestic meme full tilt. Curator Lauren Pressler’s thoughtful shows happen in a space that’s reimagined each time with help from fine-art furniture and antiques expert Bryan Laughlin, who swaps out not only the furnishings, but also things like the light fixtures. Writer Eileen G’Sell organizes literary events that dovetail thematically with exhibits, with the audience in motley, often unusual chairs. The atmosphere is magical and out-of-time, and so events here always feel exciting and special.
Classical Station: Radio Arts Foundation–St. Louis
If you wept when KFUO-FM broadcast Beethoven’s Ninth before its signal went dark in 2010, you probably cried tears of relief when RAF began broadcasting at 107.3 FM in early April. Though the signal is limited for analog, that number on the dial isn’t as important as it used to be: You can now buy an HD radio for a paltry $40, get a receiver installed in your car, or stream the broadcast digitally. Even if Beethoven’s being beamed though a smartphone, he sounds brilliant as ever. And RAF has plans for jazz, blues, and local arts programming, too.
Photo Courtesy of Random House
Novel: Middle C, William Gass
Gass spent nearly 30 years writing his dark masterpiece, The Tunnel. This one took him, oh, only 18. The Los Angeles Review of Books described it as a “caustic delight.” Its protagonist, music professor Joseph Skizzen, lies about pretty much everything; curates an “Inhumanity Museum” in his attic; and manages to keep his tenure by claiming that he’s a scholar of Arnold Schoenberg’s 12-tone scale, an area of study that’s Greek to everyone else at the small Ohio college where he teaches. Though it takes a dim view of humans, the book is deeply funny, and as Bookslut observed, it’s a novel by an 88-year-old writer with powers fully intact, who has ushered in the 21st century “with as much complexity and astonishment as can be tolerated these days.”
Arts Innovation: Artists Support Grants, Regional Arts Commission
6128 Delmar, 314-863-5811, art-stl.com
Last year, the commission launched the ambitious Artists Count Survey to discover what St. Louis’ artists—be they painters, dancers, designers, puppeteers, poets, or sopranos—needed. More than 3,000 individuals responded, making it the largest study of its kind ever conducted in the U.S. The findings? Many artists have been working two or three jobs to get by and have had to patchwork together hours to pursue their arts. The solution: RAC’s Artists Support Grants program, giving individual local artists grants—something that’s not been done in St. Louis—buying them the time and resources needed to finish creative projects.
Graphic Novel: Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes
It’s set in a town called Red Wheelbarrow, and though William Carlos Williams doesn’t make a cameo, the story’s pretty darn poetic. Our hero, Detective Gould, is an unstoppable crime-fighter, thanks to an arsenal of whiz-bang, high-tech tools. But when a surrealist crime wave hits town—there’s a man who compulsively steals chairs, a woman writing a novel with stolen street signs, and a true evildoer who sneaks photos of people during their saddest moments—Gould is stymied. Novelist Junot Díaz once said, “Matt Kindt is the man.” We wholeheartedly agree. And if you don’t believe Diaz or us, Kindt’s got four Eisner Awards to prove his badassery.
Party Band: Push the Limit
Jazz drummer Jon Spindler’s 21st-century big band can contract or expand from an octet to a 13-piece. Outfitted with a brass section and anywhere from three to five vocalists, its members hit swinging classics like “Take the ‘A’ Train” on the dime. But they’re versatile in other ways, too. Just request Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” or PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” and you’ll see what we mean.
Photography courtesy of Jodi Schlosser Photography
Cutting-Edge Arts Organization: New Music Circle
With shows salted at venues all over the city—including The Luminary Center for the Arts, the William Kerr Foundation, Webster University, and White Flag Projects—New Music Circle has curated an extra-exciting year. Shows have included Danish improv sax player Lotte Anker and her trio; a film program curated by Los Angeles’ Center for Visual Music; and St. Louis’ own Trinity Piano Trio, performing the music of late jazz legend Sun Ra.
Highly Anticipated Photo Addition: International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum
3415 Olive, 314-535-1999, iphf.org
In February, the organization trucked its entire collection—6,000 cameras and 30,000 photographs by such masters as Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, and Alfred Stieglitz—from Oklahoma City to Grand Center. Founded in 1965, the Hall of Fame has never had its own accessible storefront space—until now. When its newly rehabbed space opens in September, the museum will bring together world-class photography and rare artifacts, from Edison Kinetoscopes to 19th-century magic lanterns.
Pick 5: Local Albums of the Year
- Finches, Née (neemusic.bandcamp.com)
- The Hero Killer, Tef Poe (tefpoe.com)
- Honky Tonk, Son Volt (sonvolt.net)
- Take Me to Your Leader, Rockwell Knuckles (rockwellknuckles1.bandcamp.com)
- Tower Groove Records Volume 1, Various Artists (towergrooverecords.com)
Wine Bar: Robust at the MX
635 Washington, 314-287-6300,robustwinebar.com
After establishing a West County staple for wine aficionados six years ago, Stanley and Arlene Browne opened a new location this winter in downtown’s burgeoning Mercantile Exchange. The wine bar has all the draws of the original—an extensive wine menu, an on-site sommelier, an inviting atmosphere, small plates, wine tastings, live music on Thursdays—plus an a la carte brunch and juice bar on weekends. The main difference from the Webster Groves location? There are no train tracks behind the MX (but there is a MetroLink station a block away).
Cocktail Menu: Blood & Sand
1500 St. Charles, 314-241-7263, bloodandsandstl.com
When thirtysomethings T.J. Vytlacil and Adam Frager first unveiled plans for a members-only restaurant/bar—a business model typically reserved for country clubs and Costco—it wasn’t clear how St. Louis would respond, especially during a recession. But Blood & Sand (named for Vytlacil’s signature version of the Scotch-based cocktail) quickly reached membership capacity, with no shortage of people lining up to pay $15 per month for access to the locally sourced food and spectacularly crafted cocktails. The good news for those who haven’t yet visited the tucked-away downtown bar: Limited monthly memberships are available for $10, granting you entry to Blood & Sand from Monday through Thursday—and putting you on the waiting list for a full membership.
East-Side Addition: Mike Shannon’s Grill
871 S. Arbor Vitae, Ste. 101, Edwardsville, Ill., 618-655-9911, mikeshannonsgrill.com
The Cards’ longtime announcer lives in the Metro East and has touted one of the area’s biggest draws, Fast Eddie’s Bon Air, on the radio for years. So it was only fitting that his namesake restaurant’s second location opened this spring in Edwardsville, Ill. The 5,000-square-foot space boasts no shortage of sports memorabilia (including roughly 600 baseballs lining the walls), steaks and sandwiches, and 16 draft beers. As co-owner Pat Shannon-VanMatre put it, “Where the
steakhouse takes more of a Hall of Fame approach, the Grill will be more personal—like you just walked into Big Mike’s man cave.”
Bartender: Joel Clark
6235 Delmar, 314-932-5430,missiontacostl.com
He’s worked alongside some of the city’s top bartenders for years, first at Pi and then at Sanctuaria. Nowadays, the master mixologist is heading up the drink program at Adam and Jason Tilford’s latest venture, Mission Taco Joint. With an emphasis on fresh and house-made ingredients, the restaurant’s Crafted Cocktails menu goes from a signature margarita to the more unexpected Ostrich Milk. Last year, Clark and his Saranno Sling competed in the Disaronno Mixing Star Competition’s National Finals in Las Vegas, and his Between Piety and Desire cocktail was included in renowned bartender Gaz Regan’s 101 Best New Cocktails 2012 list. Having first discovered single-malt scotches after moving to St. Louis years ago, Clark has come a long way.
Bar Innovation: Circle 7 Ranch’s Personal Table Taps
14412 Clayton, 636-220-8777, circle7ranch.com
There are at least two benefits to Missouri’s first-ever tableside taps: 1. There’s no need to flag down a server when your pint gets low and 2. You can see how much you’ve consumed, with flow meters that can be reactivated after every 32 ounces. The only catch: Each of the tables is equipped with three types of beer, with a range of labels at each of the tap-equipped spots. The solution: Arrive early to stake your favorite seats…or order the old-fashioned way. But where’s the fun in that?
Bar Food: The Shack PubGrub
3818 Laclede, 314-533-7000, shackstl.com
When the guys behind The Tavern Kitchen & Bar (SLM’s 2011 Restaurant of the Year) decided to open a pub near Saint Louis University’s campus, they didn’t settle for cheap beer and reheated bar food. Instead, they elevated the typical “pubgrub,” serving fried pickles, Green Eggs N Ham fries (russet potatoes smothered in fried egg, pork belly, and creamed spinach), and Shack-wiches (sandwiches stuffed with fries, coleslaw, tomato, and provolone). Oh, and then there’s the Death Row Challenge: a 2 ½–pound Shack-wich—not for the faint of stomach.
PreGame Hangout: Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
900 Spruce, 314-932-1456, beerknurd.com
From the east-facing patio, you can see the 10-foot-tall bronze statue of Stan Musial a block away. Inside, a row of 80 taps (many of which contain Missouri beers) lines a penny-covered backsplash, and myriad plates hang on the walls—more tearoom than sports bar. A place on the Ring of Honor that lines the room awaits any UFO Club member who tries 200-plus beers. With soft pretzels to soak up the brew, flat-screen TVs, and daily drink specials (including the $3 Fire Sale of the day), the Flying Saucer’s a draw for brew-loving extraterrestrials and Redbirds fans alike.
Happy Hour: Coastal Bistro & Bar
14 N. Central, 314-932-7377, coastalbistro.blogspot.com
Most happy hours consist of predictable offerings and a 6 p.m. stop time. Not so at Coastal. First, there are the oysters, $1 each. Then come the other seafood options: fish nachos, fried oysters, salmon tartare, salmon sliders. Finally, there are the drinks: In addition to discounted wine, cocktails, and beer, the menu includes oyster shooters. Considering happy hour runs till 6:30 p.m., we’re already planning our postwork party.
New Concert Venue: The Demo
4144 Manchester, 314-652-3366, thedemostl.com
Earlier this year, an impressive trio of live-music aficionados—comprising Chris Hansen, formerly of Lola; 2720 Cherokee’s Josh Loyal; and The Firebird’s Mike Cracchiolo—overhauled the one-time Fox Hole location next to Atomic Cowboy. They upgraded the lighting and sound, added a bar and bathrooms, but kept the emphasis on the sprawling stage. Now, the intimate venue hosts a veritable iPod shuffle of bands, from Philly-based DJ King Britt to Nashville, Tenn., indie duo Elenowen.
Late-Night Hangout: Benton Park Café
1900 Arsenal, 314-771-7200, bentonparkcafe.com
Alas, Benton Park has seen the loss of Niche and The Map Room in the past year. But you can still find stalwarts Sidney Street Cafe and Blues City Deli there. And to our delight, the neighborhood’s other corner staple remains. Benton Park Café is open round the clock on Fridays and Saturdays, hosting live music on weekends till midnight. The restaurant also serves breakfast anytime, and you can’t go wrong ordering chef John Caton’s filet Oscar (a surf-and-turf steal at $24.95). Like the neighborhood’s other restaurants, it’s well worth the trip.
Crafty Brewers: Urban Chestnut Brewing Company
3229 Washington, 314-222-0143, urbanchestnut.com
Urban Chestnut co-owners Florian Kuplent and David Wolfe know all about big-time brewing, having worked at Anheuser-Busch before opening their own brewpub in 2011. Their label has quickly made its mark, with its Zwickel and Winged Nut at bars from St. Charles to Edwardsville, Ill. Still, some St. Louisans nearly choked on their beers when they heard about the scale of its second location: a $10 million “green” brewery in a 70,000-square-foot space in The Grove—approximately twice the size of Schlafly Bottleworks, the area’s current largest craft brewery. Slated to open early next year, the location will position Urban Chestnut to excel even further in our burgeoning craft-beer market.
Wine List: Central Table Food Hall
23 S. Euclid, 314-932-5595, centraltablestl.com
The name’s apt. Walking into the 10,000-square-foot space on the ground floor of the Barnes-Jewish Center for Outpatient Health and taking a look around at the five food and drink stations, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the possibilities. You’re here for a fine evening of vino, though, so find a seat near the wine bar if you can. Again, options abound. General manager Matt McGuire, who previously plied his trade at Brasserie by Niche, is something of a wine expert, so it’s not surprising that the wine list is a solid one. The labels—many of which are available by the glass or bottle—come from wineries across the globe. So whether you choose something to eat from column A (the sushi bar), column B (the grill), or column C (the hearth), you can rest assured there’s a wine to complement it.
Disc Jockey: Mark Jankowski (Retro Raven)
Jankowski’s been busy since SLM last named him to the A-List, three years ago. In addition to his longtime stage name, DJ Raven Fox, he has taken on a new alias (Retro Raven); played events at some of the region’s biggest institutions (Laumeier Sculpture Park, the Saint Louis Zoo, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis); and landed a weekly gig (Hollywood Casino St. Louis’ ’70s- and ’80s-inspired Boogie Nights on Fridays and Saturdays). This spring, he branched out beyond turntables, designing a video-projection-mapping show—involving LEDs, projectors, and (of course) music—on the hyperbolic exterior of the James S. McDonnell Planetarium for the landmark’s 50th anniversary. (In case you missed the production, which included that song fromClose Encounters of the Third Kind, you can check out the show on Vimeo.)
Date-Night Nightcap: Bar Les Frères
7637 Wydown, 314-725-8880
When you’re hoping to impress your date, look no farther than Wydown Boulevard, where Zoe Robinson has carved out arguably the most romantic one-two punch around. Start the evening with pasta and wine at I Fratellini (7624 Wydown, 314-727-7901, ifratellini.com). Then walk across the street to Bar Les Frères, Robinson’s 25-seat, Parisian-inspired bistro. (Considering the no-reservations policy, you’ll want to make haste.) Pull up to the six-seat bar, before a display of mounted antlers, and order a French 75 from bar manager Tommy Gray. Sitting inside the red-walled restaurant, one hand on your significant other’s, the other holding a champagne flute, you’ll swear you just traveled from Sicily to Paris.
Shopping & Service
28 The Boulevard–St. Louis, 314-296-3547,geraniumboutique.com
St. Louis native Tina Anthon founded Geranium in 2010, designing vintage-inspired artisan jewelry sold at local boutiques like Blush Boutique and Ziezo. When it came time to open a storefront last November, Anthon selected the last remaining space at The Boulevard–St. Louis. The store carries apparel, fashion accessories, and home goods, but Geranium’s specialty remains its vibrant, inexpensive ($6 to $60) jewelry.
Boutique On the Move:Paperdolls Boutique
110 E. Jefferson, 314-965-3665; 14418 Clayton, 636-527-3655; paperdollsboutique.webs.com
Paperdolls co-owners Carolyn Burghoff and Beth Morris expanded beyond Kirkwood last summer, opening a second location in Ballwin, replete with chandeliers in the dressing rooms. They’ve also added a private label. Some of their most popular creations are Redbirds T-shirts reading “Keep Calm and Watch Cardinals Baseball,” playing off of the British propaganda posters from World War II. Burghoff and Morris’ new motto might be “Keep Mod and Carry On.”
Pop-Up Store: k. hall designs
8416 Manchester, 314-961-1990, khalldesigns.com
Kelley Hall-Barr and John Barr have quietly carved out a fragrant niche in St. Louis, selling their candles and bath-and-body products in their Art Deco–style shop in Brentwood, as well as through national chains like Anthropologie. Last year, k. hall decided to expand its horizons, testing its brand before expanding elsewhere. It first dipped its toe into the Central West End, opening a pop-up store beside Moris Fashions. Then, this May, it opened a pop-up at Plaza Frontenac. If k. hall ultimately decides to expand to malls or walking districts, it’s a good bet that shoppers will respond.
Designer Dresses: Esther
1556 S. Lindbergh, 314-432-5300, estherstl.com
When the New York Giants signed former Rams kicker Josh Brown this spring, it made us nervous—but not for the reasons you might expect. You see, his wife, Molly Brown, runs Esther, the überchic women’s boutique in Ladue, which carries designer dresses from the likes of Wai Ming, Rebecca Taylor, and Rachel Pally. Fortunately, with Josh’s valuable feet now planted in New York, it provides Molly with the perfect excuse to continue seeking the latest fashions there for the Midwest.
Crafts & Confections: Sweet Boutique
8115A Maryland, 314-932-1222
As the name implies, this Clayton store sells candy—lots of it: chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered Oreos, chocolate-covered cookies…all handmade by owner Kristen Held. It also carries gifts for special occasions. Our suggestion: Pair a locally made gift with a box of chocolates. You’ll thank us later.
Pet Pampering: Lola & Penelope’s
7742 Forsyth, 314-863-5652, lolaandpenelopes.com
Your ideal weekend might involve going shopping and taking a trip to the spa. So too for your pup. Start with a trip to the boutique, where you can pick up an adorable Manolo Barknik shoe toy. Then move on to the spa, where an aromatherapy massage is just the ticket for that older, arthritic pooch. Finally, stop by Lola’s Library to pick up a book that can shed light on other ways you can help your best friend live the high life.
Classy-Meets-Hip Boutique: Cha Boutique
9666 Clayton, 314-993-8080, shop-cha.com
The store’s name is an acronym for “classy, hip apparel.” Those adjectives could be an oxymoron, but co-owners Sarah and Pat Garlich have created a boutique that lives up to its name. The shop offers threads that are appropriate for nearly all ages. The store’s racks are lined with labels like Karina Grimaldi, Shoshanna, and 7 For All Mankind.
Retail Addition: Ivy Hill Boutique
8835 Ladue, 314-721-7004, ivyhillboutique.com
At the same time that Hillary Dutcher was expecting a child, she was on the verge of opening Ivy Hill’s second location. The new addition boasts several benefits over the original: It is a third larger, sells labels you won’t find anywhere else in the region, and has plenty of parking. But perhaps most notable is its build-your-own-jewelry bar, where you can create custom charms to complement those new dresses and denim.
Custom Furniture: Expressions Furniture
7817 Clayton, 314-567-6200, expressionsfurniturestl.com
Your living room’s nearly complete, with the walls perfectly painted and the lighting just right, but it’s still lacking that one piece of furniture that could make it perfect. You could opt for an inexpensive couch, one you’ll be looking to replace in just a few years. Or you could createsomething that will perfectly complement the space and your style. That’s where Expressions comes in. Its designers walk you through the process of choosing the optimal components: the arms, bases, pillows, fabrics… The result: a custom piece that you won’t find at the big-box stores.
Fashion Designer: Anjali Kamra, Rungolee
Kamra grew up in Kolkata, India, where the land’s rich colors and culture influenced her eye for design. She launched Rungolee in 2007 and has since traveled from Morocco to Paris to find new inspiration. This May, Kamra hosted an exclusive runway show, featuring dancers from the Saint Louis Ballet, to unveil her spring line and launch Rungolee’s e-commerce site. Kamra’s designs are always striking, from an embroidered Capri dress to a Tamara blouse.
Secondhand Shopping:Resale Row
St. Louis was already familiar with Women’s Closet Exchange owner Sue McCarthy and her daughters, Diana Ford and Laura Maurice, who run Clique and Purple Cow. Then, this spring, the reality show Resale Royalty premiered on the Style Network, and the rest of the nation was introduced to the trio’s stores. Now, there’s a new, equally fitting alliteration for the Sappington staple known locally as Resale Row.
Florist: Dave Zettler, Schnucks
Lindbergh Schnucks, 10275 Clayton, 314-991-4842, schnucks.com
On a sunny day, a kaleidoscope of colors spills out of the entrance to Schnucks. There might be blue and white perennials, bright yellow sunflowers, pink daisies… And standing behind a counter just inside the store is Zettler, expertly arranging bouquets and greeting customers with the same cheer that welcomes you outside.
Plaza Frontenac, 314-567-9811, neimanmarcus.com
A month before fashion director Ken Downing came to town for the Dada Ball, Neiman unveiled CUSP, a boutique-style department that carries affordable items from big names like Haute Hippie, Robert Rodriguez, and Helmut Lang.
Saks Fifth Avenue
Plaza Frontenac, 314-567-9200, saksfifthavenue.com
Last fall, the Carrie Bradshaws of St. Louis rejoiced when Saks opened 10022-SHOE, an upscale shoe salon carrying brands like Manolo Blahnik, Fendi, and Sergio Rossi.
New in the Neighborhoods: Notable Retail Additions to Three St. Louis Hot Spots
Blue Bird The Boutique
1300 Washington, 636-590-4524
Co-owners Anna Friss and Dwight Carter sell vintage and local designs.
CLR-MNSTR Boutique + Artspace
1300 Washington, 314-241-1930, clrmnstr.com
Owner Tricia Thurman’s store stocks both artful clothing and paintings.
626 Washington, 314-241-5420, collectivemx.com
Led by director Nicole Benoist, the co-op has an impeccable selection.
102 W. Lockwood, 314-918-1008
The spot once known as Jennie Annie’s sells French-inspired shoes, accessories, and apparel.
KIND Soap Company
20 Allen, Ste. 105, 314-942-2024,kindsoap.com
Jean Scholtes’ bath-and-body store lives up to its name, with superior customer service. And the local fashion community has been kind back, awarding Scholtes with a Rising Star Award from Fashion Group International of St. Louis.
Sugar magnolia Boutique
38 N. Gore, 314-395-9159, sugar-magnolia.com
Webster Groves’ spiciest addition, which opened in February 2012, carries lingerie, robes, and all of the other necessary underpinnings.
233 W. Lockwood, 314-475-3443, xopaisley.com
This boutique, established by former Salt of the Earth store manager Stacie Swederska, focuses on classic looks for ladies.
20 Allen, Ste. 100, 314-961-3220, leopardboutique.com
Rachel Sauter’s corner store has fast become a favorite among women in Webster Groves and beyond, with affordably priced clothes that look like they cost way more.
Fun in the Sun Sports & Leisure
121 N. Kirkwood, 314-821-0583, funsunsports.com
Sure, the coasts are thousands of miles away. But that hasn’t stopped Nancy Kaiser McGee from establishing a coast-inspired activewear store that just makes you want to get outside.
107 ½ E. Argonne, 314-909-8844, sparklestl.com
Diana Slay’s compact boutique carries women’s accessories and gifts—all with a bit of bling, naturally.
East + West
205 N. Kirkwood, 314-835-1419, eastandweststl.com
Former financial planner Brian Simpson’s store stocks fashionable items for men, as well as a revolving selection in his women’s pop-up shop.
Health & Fitness
Workout: The Dailey Method
1560 S. Lindbergh, 314-569-9073,thedaileymethod.com/st.louis.html
A new religion has sprung up in Ladue that has zip to do with spirituality and everything to do with getting svelte. It’s The Dailey Method, an exercise class that in one hour (or less, with highly intense, 45-minute Dailey Interval sessions also offered) zeroes in on every muscle in your body, from arms to abs to your bottom, building balance and core strength. Franchisee Sarah Dorsey Tourville, a longtime fitness enthusiast and former vice president of Midwest sales for ESPN, studied the discipline’s specifics and trained under The Dailey Method’s founder, Jill Dailey McIntosh, before bringing the workout to St. Louis, in a 3,000-square-foot space next to Schneithorst’s. From the first neutral-spine plank to the last pigeon stretch, it’s an amazing workout—for $5 to $18 per class.
17201 Chesterfield Airport Rd., 314-880-0777, cleanspa.com
You’ve probably heard some of the horror stories out there involving nail salons. After seeing patients with infections that had resulted from visiting salons whose cleanliness left something to be desired, podiatrist and foot surgeon Dr. Michael Horwitz launched his own pedicure-focused nail salon last year. At CleanSpa, the instruments are sterilized with compressed steam or Anprolene gas, and at the end of each day, staffers use a black light to scan the facility for any stray protein or fungus particles. Customers can sit back in the spa’s zero-gravity chairs and relax, enjoying a Thai reflexology massage or detox pedicure with their minds fully at ease.
Meditation Spot: St. Louis Wellness Center
425 Marshall, 314-963-7711, stlouiswellnesscenter.com
Tucked away on a side street in Webster Groves, this counseling center handles troubles that range from addiction to trauma. But it’s also a good spot to find your Zen, with Shambhala–St. Louis hosting free meditation sessions in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can learn the art of meditation while walking and sitting. And afterward, for those who are interested in learning more, there’s discussion about the Shambhala tradition.
Dance Class: Phusia STL
4397 Laclede, 314-803-8868, phusiastl.com
Some might argue that Phusia is actually an exercise class, what with all of the sweating and jumping around that these dance classes entail. But make no mistake: The instructors are teaching choreography—surprisingly fun choreography—to the rhythm of Top 40 hits. Each song, from Beyoncé to Pitbull, has a set routine, usually crafted from a blend of hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary dance styles. The songs are also broken down into three parts: verse, chorus, and bridge, with corresponding movements for each. The approach makes it easier to learn, so students can get right down to busting a move.
Diet Program: FitFuel365
176 Carondelet, 314-287-9162, fitfuel365.com
What began as a New Year’s resolution for restaurateur Ben Stratton has turned into a business. “I thought, ‘If it is this hard for me to eat healthy and nutritiously balanced meals, how hard is it for everyone else?’” he says. So he came up with FitFuel365, “where there are no bad options. We created about 32 nutritionally balanced, preportioned meals and snacks.” Six days a week at 3 p.m., Stratton’s Café in Clayton stops serving and starts making the FitFuel365 meals. It’s all fresh, and “the clock is ticking as soon as they put [the meals] in the cases,” Stratton says. The cost of a five-meal day (three entrées, two snacks) is around $32. Home delivery is available.
Lunch & Yoga: PuraVegan Café & Yoga
307 Belt, 314-932-5144, puravegan.com
If the thought of raw food conjures up only mental images of sushi or salads, then consider making a pilgrimage to this vegan, gluten-free café. PuraVegan serves cream of mushroom soup, barbecue cheddar pizza (the cheese is a cashew-based sauce), sweet-potato pasta, and smoothies. The café also offers nutrition and raw-food classes, lec-
tures, and wellness coaching. And on Saturdays, you can participate in a donation-based yoga class. Afterward? Grab a bite to eat.
Sports & Media
Athlete on Twitter: Shelby Miller
An early favorite for Rookie of the Year, the hyped hurler has been busy striking out opposing hitters this season, but the 22-year-old has also found time to tweet. He asks his followers for advice (“What’s everyone’s take on ghosts?” or “Best hibachi in St. Louis?”) and offers words of wisdom (“Don’t ever get a car wash at 5” or “Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat”). Sage advice from a rookie. As for why the native Texan lists his location as Westport, New Zealand, your guess is as good as ours.
Production Company: Coolfire Originals
Spend some time surfing cable channels, and it won’t take long to stumble upon one of Coolfire’s reality shows. Among an ever-expanding lineup, there’s Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, about a lovably dysfunctional family’s soul-food restaurant; Funeral Boss, with a similar premise at a local funeral home; Fast N’ Loud, in which a couple of guys restore old cars; Resale Royalty, following a family’s retail clothing empire; and Mom Friends Forever, starring a pair of hard-working, loud-mouthed mothers. Add it up, and Coolfire is helping put St. Louis on the reality-TV map.
Coach: Jim Crews
When heart trouble forced legendary coach Rick Majerus to step aside, Jim Crews took over the Saint Louis University men’s basketball team. The challenge: putting his stamp on the program while honoring his friend’s legacy. When Majerus died in December, the job got even tougher, with “grief counselor to devastated players” added to the description. But Crews exhibited class every step of the way, guiding the Billikens to the team’s first outright conference title since 1957. He finished second in The Associated Press’ Coach of the Year balloting—but first in our hearts.
New App: Bonfyre
For centuries, bonfires have brought people together to tell stories and sing songs. This new, St. Louis–based mobile app is taking that experience into the 21st century, offering a more intimate form of social media than Facebook or Twitter, based on shared real-world experiences. At a Rams game, during a night out with friends, or on a family vacation, you can use the app for group chats or to share photos. It can help you plan and invite people to events, too. All that’s missing are the s’mores.
Athletes on the Rise
Blue-Collar Worker: Dwayne Evans
The Billikens’ power forward led the team in scoring and rebounding last season.
Biggest Loser: Lance Lynn
After losing 40 pounds in the off-season, the Cards starter has been on fire this year.
Newcomer: Tavon Austin
The Rams’ first-round pick tallied 17 TDs last season at West Virginia University.
Beyond the Airwaves
A venerable foodie, the KTRS-AM host has written two cookbooks and teaches cooking classes. And the Carney's Kids Foundation has raised money and awareness for children's nonprofits across the region.
After her 2010 brain-tumor diagnosis, the FOX 2 and KPLR-TV anchor started the nonprofit April’s Angels.
Always outspoken, the FM NewsTalk 97.1 host also fronts The Dave Glover Band.
Online Sports Community: LockerDome
Essentially the Facebook of sports, this St. Louis–based site helps you follow your favorite teams and connect with other fans. It’s become St. Louis’ hottest tech startup, with an investor list that includes Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III, former Blues defenseman Chris Pronger, and Square co-founder Jim McKelvey. Founder and CEO Gabe Lozano (whose father, Bob Lozano, is himself a longtime successful tech entrepreneur) based his business model on a simple premise, one that any fan can appreciate: People care more about sports than almost anything else.
New Family venue: Myseum
283 Lamp & Lantern Village, 636-220-7930,stlmyseum.com
Before long, St. Louis will be the childcentric museum capital of the world. We already had The Magic House and City Museum, and now there’s Myseum, created by Jana and Jeffrey Deutch. Located in Town & Country, this attraction lets little ones learn science through interaction, whether by navigating a maze, playing music, or digging for dinosaur bones. On a recent visit, we saw one little girl don a tiny white lab coat and toy stethoscope and examine a stuffed giraffe. Hoping to fix his heart, she said, “It’s broken.”
Kids’ Resale Boutique: Sprung
9741 Manchester, 314-918-0575, shopsprung.org
First there was Rung, a shop that resells women’s clothing and donates the proceeds to the Women’s Foundation of Greater Saint Louis. Then Rung begat Sprung, a children’s resale store located right next door to its progenitor. Unlike most establishments of this ilk, Sprung is spacious, with comfortable chairs and plenty of room for kids to play. The store is well-stocked with baby clothes, but it also offers sizes up to a juniors 16. And the merchandise includes items such as maternity clothes, toys, strollers,
New Kids’ Clothing Boutique: Egg by Susan Lazar
9757 Clayton, 314-503-0092, egg-baby.com
Some stores make you wish you had a whole gaggle of kids to outfit in the latest, greatest fashions. Walk beneath Egg’s chartreuse awning to enter a world of simply designed and simply adorable children’s clothing, and it will happen to you. There are also toys, but it’s the clothes you’ll want. There are baby hoodies for $42, sundresses for $50, swimsuits for $40—alas, high style rarely comes low-priced.
Children’s Book Author: John Hendrix
Young artists aspiring to be successful illustrators flock to Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts to learn from Hendrix. Frequently published in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times, the St. Louis native and father of two has added children’s lit to his résumé. The books he’s illustrated—including John Brown: His Fight for Freedom; Nurse, Soldier, Spy; A Boy Called Dickens; and Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek—tackle history in a way that children can easily comprehend. He also loves gathering details for his books. “You get to do your own level of scholarship,” he says. “It’s a fun thing as an artist to be a scholar as well—but I’m a JV scholar.” At the Hendrix house, however, access to his books is limited: “I have to ban my children from my books because they want to read them all the time.”
Health Program: CATCH Healthy Habits
7710 Carondelet, 314-862-2933, oasisnet.org
In an effort to fight the national obesity epidemic, OASIS—the St. Louis–based nonprofit for seniors that’s expanded nationwide over the years—launched CATCH Healthy Habits, a program in which members volunteer to teach elementary-school children about healthy eating and exercise. More than 6,200 children and 900 adult volunteers in 14 states have gone through the classes and worked to adopt healthier lifestyles since the program’s inception in 2011.
Music Program: Children’s Concert Series, Tower Grove Park
4256 Magnolia, 314-771-2679, towergrovepark.org
It’s a Wednesday morning in midsummer, and you hear your heirs lamenting that there’s nothing special to do. That may be true, unless you grab those little hands and head out to Tower Grove Park’s Piper Palm House. The kids’ concert series there can be enjoyed for free, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. The series’ July concerts include Sparkling Brass (July 3), Peter and the Wolf (July 10), Stringing Along (July 17), The Bremen Town Musicians (July 24), and The Little Pine Tree (July 31).
Sports Academy: Elite Football Academy
Multiple locations, 636-346-1371, elitefootball.net
Want your son to be the next Blaine Gabbert or Robert Steeples? It might help to train where they did. Matt Biermann started the Elite Football Academy in 1999. The St. Louis–based program teaches 5-year-old boys and girls how to play flag football, then offers training up to the collegiate level, for student-athletes who are trying to make it into the pros. “Football is just a vehicle for them to teach and educate them about working hard and developing a sense of self-worth,” Biermann says. “They have a lot of other things they could be doing that are probably a little more fun than what we are asking them to do. But the successes are just awesome.”
Movie Theater: MX Movies
618 Washington, Ste. 201, 314-222-2994,mxstlmovies.com
With only three movies playing at any given time, the MX might not offer the range of the megaplex—but that’s the point. The experience isn’t supposed to feel like the typical movie outing. Chef Josh Galliano created a menu unlike any other in town, complete with pimento-cheese deviled eggs, ahi tuna, and bread pudding. And you can order the concessions from your seat with a tablet. The only dilemma? Figuring out how to graciously eat in the dark, without spilling all over yourself and your date.
Lake Rental: Creve Coeur Lake Rentals
13777 Marine, 314-330-4692,happytrailsquadricycles.wordpress.com
So you’re not a member of the Creve Coeur Sailing Association or the St. Louis Rowing Club. If you’re still looking to get out on the water, there’s hope. Creve Coeur Lake Rentals lends out canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. Rates are hourly, unless you opt for the monthly Club Plan ($40 per individual, $80 per family). Those who prefer to stay on land can try a quadricycle, the most entertaining way to cruise Creve Coeur Lake.
Entertainment Complex: The Edge
701 S. Belt West, Belleville, Ill., 618-236-2101, edge618.com
There are newer destinations worth a visit as well, such as Edison’s Entertainment Complex (edisonsfamilyfun.com) and Chesterfield Sports Fusion (chesterfieldsportsfusion.com). But consider that The Edge has a 14,000-square-foot laser-tag arena; d.s. vespers Sports Pub & Eatery, an adult-oriented oasis beyond the typical concessions; and the five-screen Edge 5 Theatres, with seat-side concession service. For the grown-ups, we’ve gotta give the edge to…The Edge.
Literary Haven: Central Library
1301 Olive, 314-241-2288, slpl.org
Last winter, when the Central Library reopened its doors after a $70 million makeover, it revealed a blend of old and new. Many of architect Cass Gilbert’s original design elements—the Beaux Arts–style mural on the ceiling of the Grand Foyer, the granite front steps, the stained-glass windows near the staircases—shone brighter than ever. And complementing the historic elements were new ones: a computer commons and café, a 250-seat auditorium, and reading rooms. It marked the next chapter in the library’s storied history.
Make-Out Spot: Russell E. Emmenegger Nature Park
11991 Stoneywood, 314-822-5826,kirkwoodmo.org
When you’re looking for a romantic place to take that special someone, the trick is to find a scenic spot that’s not too far afield. This 131-acre nature park, located near Interstates 270 and 44, fits the bill. You can quietly slip away—while staying close enough to the metro area to hear the hum of passing cars. Get off the paved path near the park’s entrance to travel along a dirt trail overlooking the Meramec River. The 1 ½–mile trail offers an ideal setting to smooch at sunset, then hurry back to civilization.
Scenic Spot: Audubon Center at Riverlands
301 Riverlands, West Alton, Mo., 636-899-0090,riverlands.audubon.org
Bird-watchers rejoiced in October 2011, when this center opened on 3,700 acres of restored prairie marsh and river bottomland forest. Here, in the shadow of the Clark Bridge, you can peer through binoculars at white pelicans, trumpeter swans, and a revolving door of 300-plus species of songbirds and waterfowl. But ornithologists weren’t the only ones to take advantage of the site: Last year, the setting provided the ideal backdrop for the Magnificent Missouri dinner series, with chef Josh Galliano preparing a five-course meal inspired by the land’s original inhabitants.
Readers’ Choice Award Winners
New Restaurant of 2012: Pastaria
7734 Forsyth, 314-862-6603, pastariastl.com
Unlike Gerard Craft's flagship, Niche, this is a restaurant for the masses—and their children. Handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, superb gelato, and reasonable prices translate to "gourmet on the cheap."
Burger: Blueberry Hill
6504 Delmar, 314-727-4444, blueberryhill.com
This landmark restaurant on The Loop offers up delicious burgers from the famous 7-ounce burger to an 8-ounce Australian Wagyu version and more.
Cupcake: Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Café
8509 Delmar, 314-993-5455, jillyscupcakebar.com
It's hard to go wrong with this two-time winner of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars. Try an everyday favorite, like the Turtle Cheesecake, or check out their monthly seasonal flavors.
Date-Night Restaurant: Eleven Eleven Mississippi
1111 Mississippi, 314-241-9999, 1111-m.com
Impress your sweetie with a romantic dinner at this Lafayette Square dining spot known for its rustic Tuscan cuisine and inventive items, like braised rabbit with goat-cheese polenta and grilled salmon with tarragon butter sauce.
Diner/Drive-In/Dive: City Diner
Multiple locations, citydinerstl.com
Whether you're looking for a quick meal or a late-night snack, this place hits the spot. The menu is served all night on Friday and Saturday.
Food Truck: Seoul Taco
Named one of the top 101 food trucks in America by The Daily Meal, this traveling gourmet show serves up Korean BBQ tacos, pot stickers, and more.
French Fries: Schlafly Tap Room
French fries and good brews go hand-in-hand, so it's no surprise that some of the best french fries in town can be found at one of the best beer destinations. Try the Tap Room Fries with thespicy ketchup, green peppercorn, and truffle aioli dipping sauces.
Modern Italian: Pastaria
7734 Forsyth, 314-862-6603, pastariastl.com
Appearing for the second time on this list, Pastaria shines with its menu of modern Italian cuisine at an affordable price. Step out of the classic lasagna-and-spaghetti box and try the garganelli,pappardelle, or chitarra.
Patio Dining: Vin de Set
2017 Chouteau, 314-241-8989, vindeset.com
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful view on a nice evening. This rooftop bistro puts an American spin on French staples—plus it has the best bread service in town.
Thai: King and I Restaurant
3157 S. Grand, , 314-771-1777, thaispicy.com
A St. Louis ethnic-food destination for more than 25 years, this South Grand establishment serves some of the best Thai food in town, from classic Pad Thai to inventive curries.
Art Destination: Saint Louis Art Museum
1 Fine Arts, 314-721-0072, slam.org
Home to more than 33,000 pieces of art, the Saint Louis Art Museum showcases everything from ancient American art to modern photography. Visitors can put a wish on Yoko Ono’s Wish Treeand browse exhibitions featuring postwar German art and the 1858 sketchbooks of Carl Ferdinand Wimar beginning June 29.
Museum (Non-Art): City Museum
701 N. 15th, 314-231-2489, citymuseum.org
The City Museum isn’t just for kids. With an ever-expanding collection of vintage opera posters and an architecture museum showcasing a cross that once hung in the hospital from The Exorcist, this downtown trademark created by internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly might bring out the child in anyone.
Music Festival/Series: Celebrate St. Louis Summer Concerts
Presented by the Fair Saint Louis Foundation, the 2013 Celebrate St. Louis Summer Concerts will begin on July 12 with a show by acclaimed country artist Josh Turner and continue throughout the month with performances by The Urge, K’naan and Needtobreathe.
Theater/Theater Company: Fox Theatre
527 N. Grand Boulevard, 314-534-1678, fabulousfox.com
Every year, the Fabulous Fox hosts fresh-from-Broadway shows as well as touring bands and solo entertainers such as Diana Krall and Food Network personality Alton Brown.
Brewpub Menu: Schlafly Tap Room
Housed in a turn-of-the-century brick building downtown, the Tap Room serves European pub fare, including beer cheese soup, pretzels, and poutine, along with more than 16 Schlafly beers on draft.
Casino: Lumière Place
999 N 2nd, 314-881-7777, lumiereplace.com
This downtown landmark is more than just a place to play the slots. Lumiere's numerous dining options and entertainment offerings, along with the adjacent HoteLumière and Four Seasons St. Louis, make it a night-life destination.
4584 Laclede, 314-361-1200, tastebarstl.com
Taste's bar menu reads like an encyclopedia of inventive cocktails. Led by bar manager Kyle Mathis, Taste serves up everything from bourbon to mojitos and more.
Dance Spot: Novak’s Bar & Grill
4121 Manchester, 314-531-3699, novaksbar.com
A landmark in The Grove, Novak's serves up cheap drinks and thumping dance music—the perfect combination for a dance-the-night-away destination.
Lounge: Three Sixty
1 S. Broadway, 314-241-8439, 360-stl.com
Although relatively new, Three Sixty has been popping up on lists of the best rooftop bars across the country. It's swanky interior, bird's-eye view into Busch Stadium, and large rooftop patio make it one of the hottest spots in town.
Nightcap: Fox & Hounds Tavern
6300 Clayton, 314-647-7300, cheshirestl.com
Chill out in one of the large red wing chairs by the stone fireplace in this English-inspired lounge at The Cheshire. Try one of the dozens of varieties of Irish, American, and Scottish whiskey, and order a bite off the small-plates menu. Don't miss the live music every Friday and Saturday night from 8 to 11 p.m.
Sports Bar: Lester’s Sports Bar & Grill
Multiple locations, lestersrestaurant.com
If you don't have a ticket to the game, head to Lester's to cheer on your St. Louis favorites. With nearly 70 TVs, you won't miss a thing.
Shopping & Service
Athletic Gear: Alpine Shop
Multiple locations, alpineshop.com
Whether you're hitting the slopes or just taking a hike, the Alpine Shop is the go-to shopping spot for both the casual adventurer and the daredevil outdoorsman.
Gift Store: Christopher’s
127 E. Argonne, 314-909-0202, christophersgifts.com
For unique gift ideas, home accessories, and tabletop decor, Christopher's is a one-stop shop.
Men’s Boutique (Non-Chain): Mister Guy
9831 Clayton, 314-692-2003, misterguyclothiers.com
Terry and Carla Felumb's famed store sells menswear from Johnnie-O, Hickey Freeman, and more.
Women’s Boutique (Non-Chain): Paperdolls Boutique
Multiple locations, paperdollsboutique.webs.com
Visit fan-favorite Paperdolls Boutique for dresses for every occasion, as well as jeans, tops, shoes, purses, and accessories—all priced below $250 (with much of it below $100). Follow Paperdolls Boutique on Facebook, where they frequently post photos of their new arrivals.
Multiple locations, scholarshopstl.org
A yearly A-List winner, ScholarShop benefits The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis and features upscale resale for women, men and children, including designer apparel, jewelry, handbags, shoes, ties, scarves, hats and fine collectibles.
Bike Shop: Big Shark Bicycle Company
Multiple locations, bigshark.com
Big Shark Bicycle Company is more than a place to buy a bike. The store offers bicycle fitting, a service department, classes, bike rentals, and more.
Caterer: Russo’s Catering
9904 Page, 314-427-6771, russosgourmet.com
For more than 50 years, Russo's has provided delicious catering for local weddings, events, and more. Stop by Russo's Cafe (9904 Page, 314-427-8535) for lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Farmers’ Market: Soulard Farmers Market
730 Carroll, 314-622-4180, soulardmarket.com
Open Wednesday through Saturday year-round, this farmer's market features locally grown and shipped-in goods, including fresh produce, meats, cheeses, spices, flowers, baked goods, and more.
Florist: Walter Knoll Florist
Multiple locations, wkf.com
For 130 years, Walter Knoll has been providing beautiful florals across St. Louis. Visit one of their seven retail stores for an arrangement or to shop for a unique gift.
Furniture Store (Chain): Carol House Furniture
Multiple locations, carolhouse.com
Who doesn't like nice things? Carol House, located in Valley Park and Maryland Heights, carries more than 100 brands of home furnishings at both of their 3.5-acre locations.
Furniture Store (Non-Chain): Good Works
6323 Delmar, 314-726-2233, goodworksfurniture4u.com
This store on The Loop features stylish, contemporary furnishings at affordable prices.
Pet Boutique (Chain): Three Dog Bakery
Multiple locations, threedog.com
Treat your pooch with an all-natural, nutritious treat at this doggie bakery from biscuits and bagels to rawhide and more.
Pet Boutique (Non-Chain): Four Muddy Paws
Multiple locations, fourmuddypaws.com
This one-stop shop for your pet offers self-service dog washing, professional grooming, and a selection of pet food, accessories, and toys.
Health & Fitness
Hair Salon: Ginger Bay Salon and Spa
Multiple locations, 314-966-0655, gingerbay.com
All haircuts at Ginger Bay Salon and Spa include a consultation session, a scalp, neck and shoulder massage and a make-up touch-up. Additional services offered include damage repair treatments, special occasion styling and perms.
Manicure/Pedicure: Beautiful Nails
Multiple locations, beautifulnailsstl.com
Clients at Beautiful Nails can expect spa treatment during their manicures and pedicures. The salon offers services ranging from simple polish color alteration to reflexology massages of the hands, arms, feet or legs.
Spa: Ginger Bay Salon and Spa
Multiple locations, 314-966-0655, gingerbay.com
Ginger Bay Salon and Spa allows its male and female clients to indulge themselves through a variety of facial and body treatments, massage therapies and nail care services.
Yoga and Pilates: Big Bend Yoga Center
88 N. Gore, 314-918-9642, bigbendyoga.com
Those interested in exploring a new hobby and others committed to restorative exercise can take their pick from Big Bend Yoga Center’s regular offering of classes and special workshops. The facility also has a staff of licensed massage therapists and acupuncturists.
Sports & Media
Evening News: KSDK NewsChannel 5
1000 Market, 314-421-5055, ksdk.com/
For more than 50 years, St. Louis residents have discovered the latest in sports, politics, business and breaking news from the company “where the news comes first.”
Radio Morning-Show Host: Guy Phillips, Phillips & Company, Y98 FM
1220 Olive Street, 314-531-0000, y98.cbslocal.com
This year marks 34 years at Y98 for St. Louis radio legend Guy Phillips, who hosts the Phillips & Company morning show covering everything from entertainment news to what's happening around St. Louis. In May, Phillips & Company hosted an all-day request-a-thon that raised more than $30,000 for the victims of the Oklahoma tornado.
Professional Athlete: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
In March, famed St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina returned to his roots, representing Puerto Rico as the team’s starting catcher in the World Baseball Classic. This is his tenth season with the Cardinals.
Birthday-Party Venue: Saint Louis Zoo
1 Government, 314-781-0900, stlzoo.org
The St. Louis Zoo offers four customizable birthday party packages designed for kids of varying ages, interests and abilities. Parents can let their children “Party like a Penguin” or enjoy a complementary stingray feeding as part of the “Aquatic Adventure” package.
Kid-Friendly Restaurant (Non-Chain): Fitz’s
6605 Delmar Boulevard, 314-726-9555, fitzsrootbeer.com
When a root beer bottling line from the 1940s is visible from every table on the main floor, you know you’re at Fitz’s. The restaurant is known for its expansive line of root beers, cream sodas and flavored pops—not to mention its root beer float with ice cream and whipped topping doubling the height of the frosted mug.
Kidcentric Attraction: City Museum
701 N. 15th, 314-231-2489, citymuseum.org
Designed by a man whose imagination never faded, the City Museum is an art museum cum playground that continues to thrill children of all ages. With a 10 story spiral slide cascading into the Enchanted Caves and a Skateless Park featuring the world’s largest pencil, surprises are limitless.
Toy Store: Imagination Toys
9737 Clayton, 314-993-6288, imagination-toys.com
Through its selection of mind-stimulating toys, books, games and puzzles geared to foster both fun and creativity, Imagination Toys has established itself as St. Louis parents’ toy store of choice.
Bowling Alley: Tropicana Lanes
7960 Clayton, 314-781-0282, tropicanalanes.com
Once the site of the Professional Bowlers Tour, Tropicana Lanes continues to engage casual and committed bowlers alike through weekly specials and cosmic bowling birthday party packages.
Hiking: Katy Trail
Nature lovers can hike, bike or run through densely-wooded areas and open fields on Katy Trail. It’s the nation’s longest trail belonging to Rails-to-Trails, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating public trails from abandoned rail corridors.
Movie Theater: Wehrenberg Theatres’ Chesterfield Galaxy 14 Cine
450 THF Boulevard, 636-778-9996, wehrenberg.com
Wehrenberg Theatres’ Chesterfield Galaxy 14 Cine boasts a mega screen that holds the record for the largest movie screen in the Midwest.
Public Golf Course: Missouri Bluffs Golf Club
18 Research Park Circle, 636-939-6494, mobluffs.com
Missouri Bluffs Golf Club hosts St. Louis’s only course designed by nationally-acclaimed golf course architect Tom Fazio.
Winery: Chandler Hill Vineyards
596 Defiance Road, 636-798-2675, chandlerhillvineyards.com
Visitors looking to enjoy a cold spring Rosé with their chicken and brie Panini at Chandler Hill Vineyards’ restaurant will find themselves first driving for minutes through hills on which Chambourcin and Vignoles grapes await maturity.
Editor's Note: This page has been updated to reflect Cha boutique's latest offerings.