Our Very Best

To produce this year's "Best of St. Louis" issue, we sent our legions of staffers and freelancers across the wide metropolis to beat bushes, debrief winos, hobnob with the hoi polloi -- and, amazingly, they returned with the discovery that Vintage Vinyl and La Tropicana Market deserved to win 200 categories with the remainder split by KDHX and Joe Edwards.

For inspiration, we also polled you, our readers. Thankfully, you've had a robust sense of humor. The best place for sex toys, some of you concluded, didn't necessarily advertise in the back of the Riverfront Times. So where was this wonderful place? "My bedroom," advised one reader; "my closet," said another. "Ed's dick," suggested one wag named, um, Ed. Best place to get a tattoo? "My chest," offered a couple of like-minded readers; "my scrotum," said another. Best afternoon-drive destination? Who can argue with readers who said it's "home"? Best topless club? How about the "St. Louis Zoo"?

Enjoy this edition of the Riverfront Times. But remember, fame is fleeting. In 2000, we named Trans World Airlines Best Airline. Then it filed for bankruptcy protection. We named Craig Schmid as Best Alderman. This year, a majority of his colleagues decided to draw him out of his district. We named James Eagan, longtime mayor of Florissant, Best Politician. Just weeks later, he died.

Of course, that's the way of the universe -- today's superstar is tomorrow's black hole. For now, enjoy the show.

“Best of St. Louis” was written by Safir Ahmed, Niles Baranowski, Jeannette Batz, Joe Bonwich, Andrew Broder, Patricia Brooke, Geri L. Dreiling, Elizabeth Freeman, Paul Friswold, Cliff Froehlich, Matt Harnish, Laura Higgins, John Hodge, Brian Hohlfeld, Byron Kerman, Roland Klose, Melissa Martin, Steve Pick, Jill Posey-Smith, Randall Roberts, Bruce Rushton, René Spencer Saller, Eddie Silva, Wm. Stage, Elizabeth Vega and D.J. Wilson. Ballots were tabulated by Alison Sieloff, with online assistance from Michael Uchtman.