People & Places

  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Jenna Fischer

    Jenna Fischer attended Nerinx Hall High School and Truman State University, where she received a B.A. in theater. Now the St. Louis native with the lovable demeanor and gorgeous-girl-next-door looks is Pam Beesly, the clandestinely snarky receptionist on NBC's Emmy-winning mockumentary sitcom The Office. Not that Fischer's gone all Hollywood on us. She's kept it Midwestern, marrying St. Louis native… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Dan Nassif

    Sure, Dan Nassif was excited when he secured a slot at the 2006 World Series of Poker, but he didn't think he'd finish anywhere near the top. "It's too surreal to even think about," the Riverfront Times advertising exec told Unreal the night before he took his seat at the $10,000 No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em Championship's final table. Yep, out… More >>
  • Best Villain


    Archetypal villain: shadowy, compulsively black-clad, mustachioed. Santino Rice: bombastic, ga-ga for lavish colors and textures, and...OK, so the dude does sport some seriously deviant facial hair. If the phrase, "Andraé, I don't know why we always have to fight at Red Lobster," means anything to you, you're already familiar with Santino — the eye-rolling, beat-boxing, Tim Gunn-mocking, "Urbi et orbi"… More >>
  • Best New Building

    Cortex One

    If you watched the new Cortex One building go up last year, you might have thought, Oh no, another prefab, tilt-up concrete building, and one more enduring signal that the region remains committed to mediocrity in the design department. But that's all wrong. The Center of Research, Technology & Entrepreneurial Exchange is a well-conceived, beautifully executed modernist building that takes… More >>
  • Best Old Building

    Dinks Parrish Laundry

    In the glorious Hereafter, angels will carry your dirty duds (is there stink in Heaven?) to clones of the Dinks Parrish Laundry building on Olive Street, where firm-bodied Swedes will scrub your clothes with blessed detergent and holy water. One look at the façade of this midtown glory is proof enough. It's either a heavenly flight of fancy or the… More >>
  • Best New Old Building

    Lucas School House

    Dan and Mia Jameson, the husband-wife team responsible for rehabilitating the Lucas School House, bought the historical property in the fall of 2004 intending to live there. But after chatting with nostalgic locals, they decided the Soulard edifice they'd bought for $429,000 needed to be shared with the public. The Jamesons went about their rehab with an eye toward respecting… More >>
  • Best View of Downtown

    A Seat, Busch Stadium

    Ah, the new Busch Stadium. A worthy palace for baseball's best fans? A pleasant, if unoriginal, variation on the theme of new "old" ballpark? Over dinner not long ago, a St. Louis expat put it in perspective: "I just couldn't get over the view," he exclaimed. "St. Louis actually has a downtown. I mean, that's my city right there." The… More >>
  • Best Addition to Washington Avenue

    Mossa Center

    We're happy for Washington Avenue's success and everything, and we hope merchants continue to flock to the street. But why should we give this award to some coattail-riding latecomer when, really, the best addition to Washington Avenue arrived when Dwight and Rosemarie Reum (pronounced reem) opened the Mossa Center in 1984? It was the Reums who first saw Washington Avenue… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame - CLOSED

    When you go to an art museum, do you get to paint? When you tour an aerospace museum, do they fly you to the moon? No, and no. So when you go the International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame, do you bowl? Hell, yeah! Your $7.50 admission ($7 for ages 66 and up; $6 for kids 16 and under)… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    St. Louis County Circuit Court Building

    Any Sunday School pupil worth his weight will tell you that sinners descend into Hell. The St. Louis County Circuit Court throws a wrench into that simple truism. Upon entering the immense brick edifice, visitors ascend (via elevators, no less!) into this modern-day purgatory. You want human pathos? The place is swarming with tortured souls — from the domestically abused… More >>
  • Best Blog

    Byron Crawford calls himself a hip-hop blogger. That's not really accurate, but it's simpler than calling him a blogger who satirizes race relations, takes on false identities, occasionally posts Cat Power videos and spends an unbearable amount of time discussing The Real World. Baiting fans of celebrities like Bun B, Kanye West and Andy Milonakis has brought Crawford a ridiculous… More >>
  • Best Local Web Site

    Archdiocese of St. Louis

    A great Web site reveals multitudes, possesses as much depth as a good book. It offers a distinctive voice, an expert point of view, a solid aesthetic. Combined, these traits create something akin to a belief system. Kind of like the Catholic Church. With 2,000 years of writing to draw from, the Archdiocese of St. Louis' Web site is a… More >>
  • Best Wi-Fi

    City of Clayton

    Clayton has offered broadband Wi-Fi at Shaw Park Aquatic Center, the Center of Clayton and the Central Business District at Central Avenue and Forsyth Boulevard for the past two years. Free. "I wish there was even more to talk about," says information technology director Wil Dieken. "Some places, like Philly and Chicago, are blanketing their entire city." True, but Clayton… More >>
  • Best Bed & Breakfast

    Dwell 912

    Your mother-in-law might not care for the mother-in-law quarters adjacent to the La Salle Park home of Jen Schoemehl and Karen Jones. But you, artsy-cool reader of a different, more progressive generation, will totally groove on it. At the start of 2006, Schoemehl (owner of the landscaping company Great Pumpkin Gardening) and Jones (owner of Lafayette Square's Marbles Yoga Studio)… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    Seven Gables Inn

    The Seven Gables Inn, listed on National Register of Historic Places, comprises only 32 rooms, each one quaint and warm. The plush carpet, soft color scheme and free continental breakfast give the place a B&B feel. But the inn also offers comforts associated with large hotels: free Wi-Fi, an elegant courtyard and a full restaurant and bar. Marked by steep… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    The Butterfly House

    Who doesn't like butterflies? Seriously. Even that noted misanthrope Nabokov loved the delicate, multihued creatures — loved them pinned to a display board, but still. Anyone who balks when you suggest a visit to the Butterfly House in Chesterfield's Faust Park doesn't deserve your time. It's not just a great location for a first date, it's the perfect screening device,… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date

    Dental Health Theater

    Simply saying, "It's not you, it's me" never works. Far more effective is to demonstrate to your future ex that you are, in fact, batshit crazy. And we can think of no better way than an impromptu visit to the Dental Health Theater, a one-room museum tucked inside the Rader Building on Laclede's Landing. Sixteen gleaming-white, three-feet-tall teeth — a… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women

    The dog park

    The dog park is such a tremendous place for meeting ladies, they even made a movie about it. Sure, the 1998 flick Dog Park — starring paramour Luke Wilson and his pooch Mr. Mogley — went straight to video. But the movie solidified the canine corral as the new singles bar. In fact, it's way better. Why? Because the animals… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men

    Jammin' at the Zoo

    We're totally down with the 21st century: the online personals, the Internet dating services, the LOLing. But, like, OMG — sometimes it's downright refreshing to meet a cute guy offline. You know, in three dimensions? And there's no better time to assess the gentlemen than at Jammin' at the Zoo, the twice-annual Saint Louis Zoo event. The dude gets points… More >>
  • Best Public Restroom

    The Chase Park Plaza

    We've been saying it for years: The Chase is the place — for a surreptitious, um, powder-room excursion. Because the enormous Chase Park Plaza complex houses a hotel, apartments, a movie theater, a few restaurants and bars, and many rental ballrooms, folks are coming and going at all hours of the day and night. And we mean going. When you… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    Superman Tower of Power

    They've snagged the backpack, the action figures, the caped pajamas, even the limited-edition, individually numbered Superman laptop. But what kids really want from a favorite superhero is to acquire his traits. Six Flags St. Louis' new Superman Tower of Power grants edge-treading offspring the opportunity to get their Brandon Routh on by lifting them 23 stories: up over the Screamin'… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Sunday nights at Hammerstone's

    Walking into Hammerstone's on a Sunday night is sort of like coming home. Sure, the VooDoo Blues Band is usually there, as is Earl "The Pearl" Gibson of Charlie Owens' Ink Spots fame. The late, great guitarist Bennie Smith was known to show, and recently blues newcomer Marquise Knox has been stopping by. You never know exactly what you'll see,… More >>
  • Best Cheap Ride

    Megabus to Chicago

    How much does it cost for gas alone to drive to Chicago? How about a bus there for $1 instead? The U.K. concept Megabus has arrived in St. Louis (twice a day, in fact), with one-way fares to Chicago as low as a meager buck. The brand-new, blue-and-yellow, restroom-equipped buses depart from Union Station every day and arrive at Chicago's… More >>
  • Best Career Move

    Micheal Ocello

    When Micheal Ocello, president of the national strip-club chain VCG, decided to run for one of two open seats on the Mehlville School District Board of Education this past spring, it sounded like the setup to a raunchy joke: A strip-club owner walks into a school-board meeting, that's not right. A school-board member walks into a strip club...huh. Yeah,… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    Steve Patterson

    It was so simple. Fifteenth Ward Alderwoman Jennifer Florida backed a request from a McDonald's on South Grand Boulevard that wanted to move a block north and across the street. Then serial blogger Steve Patterson got wind of the plan. Via his Web site, Urban Review, Patterson cast himself as the voice of opposition, criticizing the fast-food franchisee's "suburban" design… More >>
  • Best Bureaucrat

    St. Louis Excise Commissioner
    Bob Kraiberg

    As our city's liquor czar, Bob Kraiberg is effectively the municipal bartender. He taps the keg and he cuts us off. He has also been behind some controversial plans in the past few years, like placing Web-connected security cameras throughout Soulard, and shutting down the Vault after the local nightclub hosted a Girls Gone Wild flesh fest. But who is… More >>
  • Best Lawyer

    Paul D'Agrosa

    Clayton-based criminal defense attorney Paul D'Agrosa works at the municipal, state and federal levels in Missouri and Illinois, representing all walks of life and garnering a headline here and there. In 2004 he got KMOX (1120 AM) radio personality John Carney a year's probation for a DUI and a leaving-the-scene-of-an-accident. Last year D'Agrosa got a 27-year-old Oakville High School science… More >>
  • Best Alibi

    Bob McCulloch

    During his fifteen years as St. Louis County's chief prosecuting attorney, Robert P. McCulloch has reduced an untold number of alibi defenses to the doodly-squat they deserve. So it's particularly delicious when the region's top law officer is forced to offer up a "wasn't me" of his own. That's just what McCulloch did this past July when his office… More >>
  • Best Cheerleader

    Bill Streeter

    Even if you've never met Bill Streeter, you've likely seen him around town. With video camera and spotlight in tow, Streeter spends his nights filming concerts, events and people for his vlog-cum-Web site, Music is Streeter's specialty, and no artist in town is safe from his keen eye: bluesy boogie men (Casey Reid, Johnny O & the Jerks), gritty… More >>
  • Best Citizen

    Galen Gondolfi

    Forget thrift shops, antique stores, Mexican joints and baby boutiques — Galen Gondolfi has revitalized Cherokee Street. More specifically, he has made the intersection of Cherokee and Compton Avenue into a legitimate arts district, although he'll probably slap you if you call it that. This year his concert venue, Radio Cherokee, died, but he birthed a women-centric art gallery named… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    Bellefontaine Cemetery

    This necropolis, established in the mid-nineteenth century following a devastating cholera epidemic, wins top honors not only because of its diverse, A-list population but also because it is as good a guide to this city's social history as exists anywhere. One could argue that a big chunk of the region's deceased is missing — namely Roman Catholics, buried across the… More >>
  • Best Public Works Project

    Anne Moore

    Even as the Grand South Grand business district underwent a renaissance over the past decade, the thoroughfare that led into it remained, frankly, crappy. But the dividends of Tower Grove East resident Anne Moore's efforts since 1997 are finally paying off. Moore helped the neighborhood secure $1.5 million in federal grant money, matching funds from the city and donations from… More >>
  • Best Mortgage Deal

    ACORN Housing Corp. - CLOSED

    Most lenders require private mortgage insurance (PMI) when you can't afford a sufficient down payment — a nonrefundable monthly payment on your part that guarantees they'll be "made whole" if you default on your loan. To add insult to injury, zero-down loans are typically granted at two separate interest rates: market rate for 80 percent of the amount, and a… More >>
  • Best Boondoggle

    Main Terminal Parking Garage

    If someone were to rank the world's most annoying places, the short-term parking garage at Lambert Airport's main terminal would have made the list for the last, oh, two years and counting. The garage offers virtually no signage but plenty of orange cones blocking lanes in seemingly capricious fashion. All this in the name of progress, of course. Back when… More >>
  • Best Local Politician

    Jeff Smith

    A short-statured dude with a high-pitched voice and no previous legislative experience, whose favored campaigning costume is a blue button-down and khakis, who entices dreamy-eyed college kids to throw their time and energy into his election bid? It coulda been Howard Dean redux for homegrown boy Jeff Smith and his run this summer to win the primary for the state… More >>
  • Best Mayor

    Ann Purzner

    In the annals of history, diplomatic city officials are easily forgotten. It's the tyrannical city administrators — power brokers like Chicago's Richard "Da Mare" Daley and New York's William "Boss" Tweed — whose reputation and influence stand the test of time. It's all the more impressive when such a mayor rises above the din in St. Louis County. What other… More >>
  • Best Bum

    Tucker Booth

    You've seen him outside the Ben & Jerry's on Delmar, strumming his acoustic guitar as he covers Kanye West's "Gold Digger." Or in front of Smoothie King, koo-koo-catchoo-ing Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson." Or under the Vintage Vinyl awning, happily accepting requests for his most popular original, "Smoke Blunts." His guitar case is always open to accept change and small… More >>
  • Best Volunteer

    Kevin Kline

    OK, so he doesn't live in St. Louis, and he's not one of those expatriates who likes to go around singing our praises. When he's plugging his next movie with Ellen or Dave, don't expect Kevin Kline to wax nostalgic about the good ol' days of sledding on Art Hill. But when he was approached about something important, like lending… More >>
  • Best Nonprofit

    St. Louis ArtWorks

    Artists always get the short shrift, right? They make no money. They work awful hours. Not the teenagers employed by St. Louis ArtWorks, an eleven-year-old organization that puts aspiring artists to work on real assignments — and pays them. The kids, many of whom live in the inner city, are hired to work as apprentices on public-art projects during the… More >>
  • Best Worthy Cause

    Great Rivers Greenway District

    Last fall the Great Rivers Greenway District concluded a $4 million beautification project along the River Des Peres in south St. Louis that brought with it a new pedestrian bridge, four miles of hike-and-bike trails and thousands of new trees. If Great Rivers can transform a drainage ditch into an urban oasis, imagine what the agency can do for the… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    Robert McCormick

    Hometown network provider Savvis Inc.'s stock price may have been in free-fall, but that didn't stop Robert McCormick from rolling high. During a 2003 outing to a Manhattan strip club, the lusty CEO and father of three allegedly racked up a $241,000 tab on his corporate AmEx card and then, when the bill came due, welshed. McCormick, who'd ultimately tender… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Deanna Vinson

    A multimillion-dollar mortgage business, a lover in the hoosegow, a newfound passion for firearms and one messy divorce: Deanna Vinson's life lately reads like an Elmore Leonard novel. As founding partners of American Equity Mortgage, Deanna and her then-husband, Ray, amassed a fortune complete with luxury homes and his-and-hers private jets. But there was trouble in paradise. After suing for… More >>
  • Best Sign

    Business Sucks, But It's Picking Up.

    More >>
  • Best Street Name

    Martini Drive

    More >>
  • Best Festival

    Festival of Nations, July 22-23, 2006

    Trees were down everywhere, the gnarled wreckage of July's record-smashing storm. Hundreds of thousands of people were without power. But in a corner of Tower Grove Park, the tents were up and the air was thick with music and aromatic smoke. The Festival of Nations, presented by the International Institute, was its own little world: a two-day celebration of St.… More >>
  • Best Mile of St. Louis

    Manchester Avenue from McCausland Avenue to Big Bend Boulevard

    We have to fudge this one a bit. You see, seven-tenths of this mile aren't in St. Louis, proper, but just over the line in Maplewood. You'll forgive us when you see how much there is to do in such a brief stretch: neighborhood joints for a quick nosh (Minion's Cafe, Pantera's Pizza), elegant restaurants (Arthur Clay's, Monarch), one hip… More >>
  • Best Month to Be in St. Louis


    October in St. Louis is a beautiful month. The weather's tolerable; the trees still have enough leaves on them to hide the flapping plastic Schnucks bags; the citizenry is happily captivated by postseason baseball, the start of hockey season or the meat of the football season; and those who aren't interested in sports are doing the winery/park/museum-going they skimped on… More >>
  • Best Month to Leave St. Louis


    October in St. Louis is a beautiful month. The weather's tolerable; the trees still have enough leaves on them to hide the flapping plastic Schnucks bags; the citizenry is happily captivated by postseason baseball, the start of hockey season or the meat of the football season; and those who aren't interested in sports are doing the winery/park/museum-going they skimped on… More >>
  • Best Delayed Gratification

    Forest Park Parkway

    Dear Lindell Boulevard, Baby, we need to talk. Look, it's been swell driving on you from the Central West End to Skinker for the past few years. Few two-mile drives in St. Louis are as gorgeous as yours; there's Forest Park on the left and tons of stately, manicured mansions on the right. But someone else recently came back into… More >>

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