Best of St. Louis 2022: Surviving and Thriving
The last two years were a damn jungle. COVID-19 tore through the population, burned out the medical profession, shuttered businesses and drove us into hiding. If that wasn’t enough, there were murder hornets, floods, wildfires, the resurrection of the Loop Trolley, Eric Greitens’ big comeback attempt, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade ...

Yet, somehow, so many St. Louisans tore through the vines, cleared the underbrush and toughed it out — emerging stronger than ever. And so this year, our Best Of St. Louis issue celebrates St. Louis survivors: people, places, businesses and scenes that made it through the craziness or maybe even got started because of it.

This year we celebrate that indie bookshops are all the rage, Red Hot Riplets are infused with THC, activists are fighting for our rights, and our neighbor Kansas made the right call protecting access to abortion. (Drink it in, Kansas — probably the last time this will happen.) And we celebrate the people who are boosting our city, including renowned poet Dana Levin, comedian Nikki Glaser, and memoirist Gabe Montesanti.

Yes, we are battle scarred; yes, we are still concerned about, well, everything. But so many people in this city are seizing the opportunity to construct a new normal — and thriving. There is Larry Lunceford, still trucking his cart to the Grove to sell hot food to late-night revelers. There’s Kendele Noto Sieve, who took a gamble opening a sophisticated Italian restaurant in St. Peters. Or Rob Connoley, who takes local to a whole different level with his forage-focused tasting menus. (And hey, what better person to schmooze with at the alleged end of the world than the guy who knows how to forage food?) They’re taking the jungle that we all came through and taming it into a garden.

This year, we honor the best of St. Louis in five categories: People & Places, Sports & Recreation, Arts & Entertainment, Goods & Services and Food & Drink. Here, you’ll read about remarkable St. Louisans. Many of us have been through a lot, but it’s made us stronger and wiser for the next step, and that’s what going from surviving to thriving is all about.