Selecting the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis 2012 was no picnic. Choosing the winner meant several worthy candidates would go unmentioned -- until now. In this Gut Check series, we're chewing our way through notable runners up in a number of categories. To see hundreds more winners and finalists, and to download the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis mobile app, visit our Best of St. Louis home page.
The past twelve months were a strange time for new restaurants in St. Louis -- wonderfully so, in our opinion. While many new restaurants debuted, few were high-profile affairs, with big-name chefs and big-budget buildouts. Indeed, several of this year's standouts are smaller spots -- smaller, that is, in size and scope, but no less impressive in their execution and no less bold in their flavors.
Before we proceed, a few answers to the questions that this particular category always prompts.
This says the "Best New Restaurants" of 2012, but there are three months left in the year. What gives?
The Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis calendar runs from October through September, so this year's awards can include restaurants reviewed in the final quarter of 2011, while those restaurants reviewed in the final quarter of 2012* will be fair game for next year's Best of St. Louis.
* - One exception: A forthcoming review deals with a restaurant that opened in fall of 2011 and, thus, is on this year's list.
The earliest we review a restaurant is two months after its opening, so a restaurant that opened in August or September won't be reviewed until October or November at the earliest. If they deserve it, they'll be on next year's list.
Does this bouncing between the actual year and the "Best of St. Louis" year give you a headache?
One more thing: I couldn't help but notice that MY favorite new restaurant isn't on your list.
We're sorry. It's nothing personal. Consider this a list of ten other new restaurants for you to try. It begins on the next page.
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