People & Places

  • Best Citizen

    Tom Schlafly

    A shrewd businessman can capitalize on current events with his own marketing plan, make more money in the process and still keep the public smiling. When your business is brewing and selling beer, in St. Louis of all places, you have to stay original in the eyes of your customers and community, or forever be overshadowed by the once-King of… More >>
  • Best Lawyer

    Jim Bennett

    Jim Bennett has made a name for himself defending some of this town's more notorious folk. In 2004 the attorney asked the Missouri Supreme Court to toss out drunk-driving charges against St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little. (The court refused, but Little was eventually acquitted of the charges following a jury trial.) In 2006 Bennett represented former American Equity… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Goosebumps

    Lemp Mansion Restaurant & Inn

    Some of you get your thrills on the topsy-turvy belly-sinkers at the amusement park, but that's not our scene. We prefer a more supernatural source for our scares — we love to get our spook on at the Lemp Mansion Restaurant & Inn. Not only does this historic building play host to murder-mystery dinners every Friday and Saturday and offer… More >>
  • Best Bureaucrat

    Rick Sullivan, CEO
    St. Louis Public Schools Special Administrative Board

    Don't recognize the name? All the more reason Rick Sullivan is this year's finest unelected official. Since being appointed to oversee the St. Louis Public Schools last year, Sullivan has quietly worked to restore the troubled school district. That he's done so without the histrionics and backstabbing of recent school board leaders says a great deal about Sullivan's character. Diligent,… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    John Chasnoff

    For most of the past nine years, John Chasnoff, a house painter, has been an outspoken — but polite — critic of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Then the 2006 World Series ticket scandal struck, and Chasnoff felt compelled to get down and dirty. Like some of the media outlets in town (including this newspaper, which broke the story),… More >>
  • Best Geezer

    I.E. Millstone

    I.E. Millstone built Pruitt-Igoe and outlived it. He built Busch Stadium II, yet that landmark, too, beat him to the grave. Millstone also built the original Highway 40, and his construction company, now called Millstone-Bangert, is rebuilding the roadway. Will he live to see the end of its reconstruction? He damn well could. He's already 101. Not to mention sharp,… More >>
  • Best Local Politician

    Kacie Starr Triplett

    The youngest member of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, Kacie Triplett serves some of the city's most activist neighborhoods with a savvy that she must have learned from her late grandfather, former state senator John Bass. A little over a year into her job representing the Sixth Ward, the 27-year-old Triplett says she's still optimistic that downtown loft-dwellers and… More >>
  • Best Moustache

    Jason LaRue

    Honorable mention in this category goes to erstwhile St. Louis police chief Joe Mokwa for sporting the ultimate cop 'stache. But Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue is in a facial-hair league of his own. As the Cardinals' fortunes rose and fell this season, LaRue's untamed horseshoe shone like a beacon of masculinity above and around his upper lip. He grew that… More >>
  • Best Fashion Police

    Pine Lawn Police Department

    For years "fashion police" have patrolled the world of haute couture armed only with their snarky insults, furled lips and brazen bitchiness. Then along comes the City of Pine Lawn, which last year passed an ordinance outlawing baggy pants in the north St. Louis County suburb. All of a sudden fashion police are just that: They're real cops armed with… More >>
  • Best Festival

    St. Louis Microfest

    More than a decade ago, the operators of Lift for Life Gym hatched an alchemical combo for the ages: day-drinking + do-gooding. Their brainchild, St. Louis Microfest, a smorgasbord of craft beers from across the nation, takes place annually during the first or second weekend of June in the upper Muny parking lot. In exchange for a modest admission fee,… More >>
  • Best Craft Festival

    Strange Folk

    There must be some serious local shoppers out there who've seen passing references to the Strange Folk Festival, imagined Joni Mitchell cover artists and said forget it. What a pity. Strange name, maybe, but as craft shows go, Strange Folk is folkin' awesome. Hundreds of indie artisans from throughout the Midwest set up shop for two whole days under and… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Soulard Farmers' Market

    St. Louis is often thought of as a city compartmentalized by race, ethnicity, social class and (for natives, anyway) even which high school one attended. But on Saturday mornings Soulard Farmers' Market is one of the few places in the city where people of all backgrounds can be seen together shopping, socializing, trading recipes and preparing for the week ahead.… More >>
  • Best Ambassador for St. Louis

    David Robertson, music director
    Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra

    David Robertson has a winning smile and the gift of gab. Those two assets will take you far in life, but Robertson also has vision. And vision will carry the possessor and all who share it to great heights. Robertson's vision is that the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, which he directs, becomes a presence in the lives of as many… More >>
  • Best Place to Learn Spanish

    La Tropicana Market - CLOSED

    Cubans speak a dialect of Spanish that is notoriously difficult to understand. They talk fast, use a lot of slang, and often cut off the ends of their words. Lucky for you, however, if you go to La Tropicana to practice your español you'll mostly be speaking to a bunch of gringos and gringas who, like you, can't tell the… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Cart Escalator at Target

    A trip down Target's wide aisles lined with matchy-matchy merchandise can be so soothing, it's easy to forget that you only set out to buy, say, toilet paper. Awakening from your trance, you realize you're about to become $50 lighter and wonder, "What is it about Michael Graves?" Now the great minds in Minneapolis have found a way to extend… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    Bob Kramer's Marionnettes

    Kids are what make the CGI world go 'round — they're into tech, and in a major way. Yet if a grownup spends an afternoon with a whippersnapper or two, that adult will learn that while kids are well versed in all things electronic and modern, they also get as much of a thrill from the same things children loved… More >>
  • Best Place to Spend the Day with Grandma

    Plaza Frontenac

    In her prime, Grandma was the queen of the shoppers. The woman could determine the quality of a store just from its smell. The credit-card bill sometimes made Grandpa break out in a cold sweat, but even he couldn't deny she always looked like a million bucks. (Besides, what did he know? He liked to go downtown in boat shoes… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    Four Seasons St. Louis

    After an hour at the Four Seasons St. Louis, you wonder if the well-manicured staff somehow has mistaken you for a much more prominent guest staying in the $245-to-$3,000-per-night, 200-room hotel. With every turn your presence conjures smiles, greetings, opened doors. Even the valet thinks you're a somebody. And once you hit the eighth-floor terrace, you are. Sunlight glistens like… More >>
  • Best Bed & Breakfast

    The Fleur-de-Lys Mansion

    For the traveler who values privacy, a bed & breakfast can be a little unsettling. There are the awkward "oh-hi-where-are-you-from"s in the living room, the shared bathrooms, the strange feeling of waking up in a room filled with someone else's Precious Moments figurines. At the stunning Fleur-de-Lys Mansion, however, you receive all the hospitality of a fabulous B&B — with… More >>
  • Best Kept Secret

    The Nature Institute

    Ever wonder what's on top of those bluffs you drive under along the Great River Road just north of Alton? We know what — the area's best-kept beauty secret. The Nature Institute owns more than 500 acres along this bend of the river: the Kemp & Cora Hutchinson Bird Sanctuary, which features an astonishingly diverse prairie restoration; and the John… More >>
  • Best Thing to Happen to St. Louis This Year

    Surviving Highway 40 construction

    Take a bow, MoDOT. There was no Carmageddon after all. All those doomsday disciples' predictions of calamitous traffic jams, businesses going under and Cardinals fans still filing into the ballpark in the seventh inning never did materialize. An occasional hiccup, sure, but overall, rebuilding the first five miles of Highway 40 went off pretty well. Who thought new infrastructure could… More >>
  • Best Old Building

    St. Louis City Hall

    Throughout its entire history, St. Louis City Hall has been sadly neglected by the municipal government — even before it was built. Modeled after Paris' Hôtel de Ville, the edifice was scheduled for completion in 1892, but construction limped along for twelve additional years, paid for by a meager allowance from the Board of Aldermen's general revenue fund. The city… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Gerard Craft

    Gerard Craft has lived in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, but it was in St. Louis that the young chef opened Niche in 2005. The Benton Park restaurant quickly became a favorite of the city's gourmands and critics (last year Riverfront Times named Craft Best Local Chef). But this year Craft entered a whole new realm of… More >>
  • Best New Building

    Gateway Station

    Gateway Station (full name: The Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center) merges Greyhound, MetroLink and Amtrak in one low-slung building that looks more modern-art museum than inner-city transit station. Designed by local architecture firm KAI Design & Build (www.kai-db.com), the building features a breezy main terminal, lots of exposed stainless steel and multicolored windows that illuminate the interior like a stained-glass cathedral.… More >>
  • Best Statue

    Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Memorial

    Should you happen to stumble upon this formidable monument from the rear — and stumbling upon it is practically the only way to find it — you might think that the long-bearded fellow in the center is Shakespeare. And indeed, the monument dominates a sloping hill just to the north of the site of the annual Shakespeare Festival. But think… More >>
  • Best Public Restroom

    CBGB

    You don't expect much in the way of bathroom cleanliness from a bar where the front doorknob is held in place with duct tape. After a few gasoline-strength drinks, you'll be happy if someone hasn't thrown up on the seat. You might be just a little taken aback, however, when you find that instead of a single toilet or stalls,… More >>
  • Best Addition to Washington Avenue

    Flamingo Bowl

    What makes a great bowling alley? Is it the dusty chic of 1950s-era furniture and watery beer specials? Or is it the sheer enormity of some of the newer hi-tech bowling emporiums, featuring a small city's worth of alleys, several cafés and even laser tag? In the case of Flamingo Bowl, Joe Edwards' new joint on Wash. Ave., it's neither.… More >>
  • Best Bus Route

    No. 93 Midtown-South County

    If Metro's bus No. 93 were a reporter, we'd say it had been promoted from the predictable university beat to the much more vibrant city desk. Good ol' 93, which for years trundled dutifully between Washington University and the Wydown area, now has a fresh new route: Midtown-South County. That may not sound exciting, but when you consider where 93… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Northwest Coffee Roasting Co.

    Coffee shops in general are good places for a first date. If there's no chemistry, you don't even have to finish your drink before making your escape. If you connect, no one is going to interrupt a long conversation. We're partial to this Northwest Coffee location precisely because of its unromantic, bustling atmosphere. In a light-filled café where gray-haired couples… More >>
  • Best Wi-Fi

    Companion Bakery and Café

    The Central West End outpost of Companion Bakery and Café has one of the strongest signals of any café we've patronized (if not the strongest). Now that free wi-fi is widely available, the consideration comes to atmosphere, absence of censorship and signal strength. Geeks love nothing more than to cart their Macs down to the neighborhood coffee shop — even… More >>
  • Best View of Downtown

    I-55 northbound, just south of the Poplar Street Bridge

    Sunrise on a misty April morning is best, when the traffic is light and the only movement is the gray-white steam fluttering up from the manholes on Broadway. Take it slow and easy. The Arch is radiant now; dancing rays of sunshine have turned our curved steel treasure the color of apricot. The windows wink at the towering AT&T Center… More >>
  • Best View of Someplace Other Than Downtown

    Top of the East Slope at Art Hill

    You say you want to steal away to an Archless view, devoid off any steel at all — stainless or otherwise? Here's what you do. Go to Forest Park. Then get to the parking lot just east of the Saint Louis Art Museum, directly above the site of the Shakespeare Festival. At the far end of that lot, a gravel… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour

    Head for the mountains of...Belgium? Like it or not, Anheuser-Busch is now Brito's brew, in bed with Stella and a part of the InBev empire. But don't let that deter you from taking in the splendor of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour. Less secretive than Willy Wonka's factory, the Anheuser-Busch complex invites people of all ages to come and experience the… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Christina Machamer

    She kept the secret for an entire year. But now the whole television-watching world knows that St. Louis' own Christina Machamer won the fourth season of FOX Television's popular reality series Hell's Kitchen, starring blustery British chef Gordon Ramsay. Twenty-six-year-old Machamer, a blond bombshell, gracefully withstood the boils and burns of professional kitchen life with a camera in her face.… More >>
  • Best Sign

    Combs Tire and Auto Service

    If the folks at Combs Tire and Auto Service weren't so unfailingly pleasant, we'd think their sign was part of a devious ruse to bring in more business. It would go something like this: See funny sign. Slow down to read funny sign. Take eyes off road while laughing. Get rear-ended by fellow motorist who did not see funny sign.… More >>
  • Best Month to be in St. Louis

    April

    Dogwoods bloom. The sun shines. Strolling downtown, you think you hear the swinging sound of Count Basie's orchestra. It's April in — wait — this is St. Louis. Any minute an ominous black cloud might move across the sky like a lid across the top of a well. Flowers that have emerged, improbably, from a cold, saturated earth will probably… More >>
  • Best Month to Leave St. Louis

    February

    It's bloody cold. And gray. And the novelty of winter wore off long ago. You're sick to death of scraping windshields, weary of wearing layers. The thought of another "wintry mix" storm makes you cringe. On top of it all, Punxsutawney Phil, that rotten little hog, had the gall to see his shadow. Yep, you're outta here. Every February the… More >>
  • Best Place to Live

    Dogtown

    During the Ancient Order of Hibernians' parade each St. Patrick's Day, the corner of Clayton and Tamm avenues is the place to soak up one's Irish heritage, and suck down a lot of beer. The other 364 days of the year, Dogtowners revel in the peace and quietude of a city neighborhood that most who live here consider a village.… More >>
  • Best Volunteer

    Gladys Stannard

    Muddy floodwaters are up to the fourth row of your living-room bookshelf. The same can be said about many of your possessions. And you're not the type to ask for a handout. Adding to the stress, you have three kids under age five. Figuring out what to do next can be mind-boggling. Many Missourians were fortunate enough to take the… More >>
  • Best Worthy Cause

    International Institute St. Louis

    Sure, this country still accepts some of the poor and huddled masses from around the world, but usually it's not enough to merely welcome folks here. New Americans may struggle with the language barrier, and they often face difficulty finding housing and employment. Thanks to the work of International Institute St. Louis, newcomers' basic needs are met through English classes,… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men

    Lambert Field Baggage Carousel M-6

    As America wages wars on two fronts, Lambert Field can at times seem like the U.S. Army's Central Command, with as many as 3,000 soldiers passing through the airport during any given week. Most of these warriors touch down in our fair city for just a few minutes. Others have considerably more time to kill between flights and will eventually… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Patty Wente

    Dozens of past and present staff members at St. Louis public radio affiliate KWMU (90.7 FM) turned on Patty Wente with a vengeance. There were tales of how she upbraided station employees for the pettiest offenses, routinely made improper sexual comments and arrived intoxicated to KMWU events. Not long after Riverfront Times published a detailed account of Wente's troubled reign,… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women

    Parties in the Park

    Also known as "Secretary's Ball" for its ability to cause female office workers to lose their inhibitions (and pantsuits) as quickly as the proverbial prom dress, Parties in the Park remains the region's biggest open-air meat market. For 25 years huntresses by the hundreds have descended on Clayton's Shaw Park at 5 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month… More >>
  • Best Villain

    Lori Drew

    Before Megan Meier hanged herself, Waterford Crystal Drive was just another cookie-cutter patch of suburbia weaving through Dardenne Prairie. Lori Drew and Tina Meier were two working moms living four doors apart, whose daughters shared a typical teenage relationship: hot one day, cold the next. The MySpace "friendship," if one could call it that, kindled between Megan and a boy… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    Floyd Irons

    Sadly, this past year brought no shortage of stunning downfalls around these parts. (The tragic homicidal unraveling of Cookie Thornton and the drug-addled train wreck of Seven-Up heir Andrew Gladney spring to mind.) The biggest plunge from the pedestal, though, had to have been Floyd Irons, legendary coach of the Vashon High School boys' basketball Wolverines. For more than three… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date

    Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour

    Need to tell someone it's really, truly over? Looking to send a message that says, "It's not me, it's you"? Take your soon-to-be-jilted lover on a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Breathe in the aroma of hops and bitter irony as you stand in the shadow of a St. Louis icon — a place we always knew would be there… More >>
  • Best Local Website

    Keaggy.com

    The eponymously named website Keaggy.com is for everyone who has stared too long at an object on the street while at a stoplight. In other words, it's for most of us. Compiled by Bill Keaggy, a curious collector and St. Louisan who amasses photographs of everyday objects, keaggy.com and its founder were profiled in these pages earlier this year. Almost… More >>
  • Best Blog

    Angry Black Bitch

    "Did I mention that Glenn Beck is an asshole?" St. Louis-based blogger Angry Black Bitch wrote after the CNN commentator opined that the government should deliver its "economic stimulus" payments in the form of debit cards so that people couldn't use the money to reduce debt. Other times, though, ABB's reflections are simply poignant. When she learned of the cold… More >>
  • Best Mile of the East Side

    Highway 100 (Great River Road), from Elsah to Grafton

    This stretch of scenic Highway 100 is best experienced from the back of a motorcycle, but you can approximate the effect by calling shotgun and riding with your window down. Reflecting blue sky on a sunny day, the muddy Mississippi becomes a glittering ribbon, dotted with boats (sailboats even!). You'll wonder whether this is the same river that carries debris… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    St. Paul Churchyard

    Earlier this year, Marilyn Yalom, in her book titled The American Resting Place, made the arresting case that cemeteries in this country are increasingly being tucked out of sight. Not so St. Paul Churchyard. There's nothing shy about this old boneyard. Here, 65 tree-studded acres of tranquility front in all directions the comfortable middle-class homes of south St. Louis County.… More >>
  • Best Mayor

    Mike Swoboda

    R.I.P.… More >>
  • Best Mile of St. Louis

    Cherokee Street

    If you had a nickel for every stretch of St. Louis where you could snack on an authentic taqueria-style taco between taking in a contemporary art show and shopping for a 1930s china pattern just like your grandmother had...well, you would be only five cents richer, because nothing else in St. Louis resembles Cherokee Street between South Compton and Lemp… More >>

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