Letters to the Editor

Published the week of April 26

In the "Martinis" category, the Ritz-Carlton won as having the best martinis in town, as well they should have ("Restaurants 2000," RFT, April 19). I worked in their Lobby Lounge for over three years, and I can testify that they do have an exquisite selection of martinis. And, as you stated, they were all created by the staff there.

But I must point out that the selection was not created by the current staff at all. Lindsey Markham, director of food and beverage at the Ritz-Carlton, seemed to imply that when he said that they "use research, studying and creating." Mr. Markham and his staff have done absolutely nothing to help create the astounding martini menu his establishment lays claim to. He should have given thanks to the real creators of his selection. The key people include Don Shaffer, the former bartender who laid the groundwork over four years ago when he began the Lobby Lounge beverage menu; Carlo Nardi, the former director of operations (Mr. Markham's talented predecessor), who had the vision and the commitment to vastly expand it, taking care to ensure that the menus were routinely and professionally printed -- in spite of high printing costs (incidentally, they are now printed at the local copy store); Scott Lokke, the former beverage manager, who spent many long hours creating the vast majority of the cocktails on that menu and took care of it like it was his own child; and I, the former Lobby Lounge manager, who expanded on the martinis when Mr. Lokke's well had run dry and spent long arduous hours looking over the proofs to check for misspellings and inaccuracies.

Notice that all those people are former employees. The Ritz-Carlton has made sure that each and every person with talent and vision is no longer with the organization.... If the St. Louis Ritz-Carlton continues to pinch pennies, perhaps next year another local establishment will be honored as having the best martini in town. Then maybe that organization will thank the correct people.
Chris J. MacFall

Kudos to D.J. Wilson for his article on Cole Campbell's departure from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ("Short Cuts," RFT, April 12). As somebody who worked for Cole in Norfolk, Va., I thought the piece was very fair to Cole while nailing the problems he ran into in the newsroom and with readers. I don't know what went on in St. Louis, but the things Wilson described were exactly what happened in Norfolk and rang very true. Nice, dead-on piece.
Jay Hancock
Baltimore Sun

I'd just like to say that Jill Posey-Smith was the most fun new local writer that I have read in many years. She will be greatly missed.

I'm sure that she will do well in all her future ventures and can only hope that her writing will reappear in future issues.

I'm sure Colorado will survive.
Matt Hely

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