Winner: Straub’s

Chosen as one of the top 50 retailers by The Gourmet Retailer for 2010, Straub’s is the only St. Louis-based retailer to make the cut. Local foodies get it, too—this is the third year in a row Straub’s has taken the top spot. All it takes is a moment with Straub’s Chocolate Fudgies—just try to say no.

Runners Up:

2. Schnucks

3. Dierberg’s

4. Whole Foods

5. Ladue Market


Winner: Mike Bush

Hard to believe, but it’s been 10 years since Mike Bush started making the transition from the KSDK sports desk to the main news anchor chair. Needless to say, his presence on the air and unflappable hair style have become fixtures for local news watchers.

Runners Up:

2. Tim Ezell

3. Jennifer Blome

4. Kay Quinn

5. Larry Conners


Winner: Bellerive Country Club

If you want to bring Bellerive to its knees, you had better bring the big guns, you’re going to need them. Ever since Gary Player won the U.S. Open here in 1965 at two over par, many a golfer—pro and amateur—have been humbled by ‘the green monster on Ladue.’ Most fairway yardage markers would be accurate if they read, ‘too far!’

Runners Up:

2. Old Warson Country Club

3. St. Albans

4. Westwood Country Club

5. Boone Valley Golf Club


Winner: Katy Trail

Quaint towns, wineries, vegetable stands, Christmas tree farms and the Missouri River are just some of the surprises you’ll encounter along the Katy. Com prised of 225 miles of biking eu phoria, the trail takes you through a pano ramic tour of Missouri towns like Peers, Tre loar, Bernheimer, Gore and McKit trick. Don’t for get your camera!

Runners Up:

2. Forest Park

3. Grant’s Trail

4. Creve Coeur Park

5. Castlewood State Park


Winner: Children’s Hospital

Just one look into the eyes of a child who needs comfort and courage in a hospital will tell you why volunteers at St. Louis Children’s Hospital are the most rewarded. There are opportunities to do everything from helping young patients write letters to providing support for kids and families in the ER.

Runners Up:

2. Villa Duchesne/Oak Hill

3. Habitat for Humanity

4. Humane Society

5. Stray Rescue


Winner: Guy Phillips

Since last we checked in on our favorite radio guy, Y-98’s Guy Phillips had hip replacement surgery and that led to an interesting live on-air conversation with his wife during his recovery. Kim Phillips told her husband’s morning show audience that before Guy was fully awake from anesthesia, he announced (repeatedly) to every one within earshot that he had “the smallest *blank* in St. Louis!” Other than that, the surgery was a success.

Runners Up:

2. Jamie Allman

3. Dave Glover

4. Charlie Brennan

5. Frank O. Pinion


Winner: Missouri Botanical Garden

With eight beautiful venues within the walls of Missouri Botanical Garden, brides and grooms can choose the perfect site to complement their event—inside or out. From the elegantly restored Spink Pavilion, which overlooks three large reflecting lily pools, to the spacious Monsanto Hall with its high barrel-vaulted ceiling and breathtaking views, the Garden offers stunning indoor spaces for a wedding. Outside, the choices are even more diverse: the intimate Chinese Garden, the fragrant Gladney and Lehmann rose gardens and the serene Japanese Garden.

Runners Up:

2. Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

3. Forest Park

4. The Coronado Ballroom

5. The Chase Park Plaza


Winner: The Gatesworth

(all properties)

With the elegance and services of a fine resort, the term ‘retirement home’ just doesn’t seem right, somehow. The Gatesworth will make you wish you were old enough to join the party. An award-winning chef, superbly detailed apartments, and an ambience both refined and welcoming earns the community first-place honors for 2011.

Runners Up:

2. Mari de Villa

3. Delmar Gardens

4. Friendship Village

5. Bethesda (all properties)


Winner: Cardwell’s at the Plaza

Cardwell’s at the Plaza has long been a favorite place to gather and dine on fresh flavors and seasonal cuisine in an atmosphere where guests are greeted like members of the family. Bill Cardwell and his team “loves turning the ritual of going out to eat into a celebration of good food, good friends and good living.”

Runners Up:

2. The Ritz-Carlton

3. Truffles

4. Bar Napoli



Winner: The Ritz-Carlton

Four-Diamond, AAA-rated—that may not mean anything to some people, but to our readers and hotel connoisseurs, it means everything. Luxurious suites, exquisite dining and impeccable service are the reasons why The Ritz-Carlton is simply the best in St. Louis.

Runners Up:

2. The Four Seasons Hotel

3. Moonrise Hotel

4. The Chase Park Plaza

5. Hilton St. Louis Frontenac


Winner: Villa Farotto

We heard recently about a wild cougar sighting in Chesterfield. No, not the one caught on camera in a subdivision; rather the ones on the prowl at Villa Farotto in the Valley. Those vivacious, sultry cats love the live music and jazz four nights a week, the sofa seating and a happening dance floor. And when the weather is just right, they circle around the fire pit in the courtyard just waiting for a chance to pounce! Grrrrrrrrrr.

Runners Up:

2. Brio Tuscan Grille

3. Lester’s Sports Bar & Grill

4. Annie Gunn’s Restaurant

5. Truffles


Winner: Brio Tuscan Grille

A good wingman’s mission for the night is to help his ‘pilot’ meet, and hopefully connect with, the most desirable girl in the club. The wingman also is there to make sure his buddy doesn’t veer off course (see previous category). Brio at Plaza Frontenac is not only known for its flavorful Tuscan cuisine, it’s also our reader’s choice as the ideal spot for putting those wingman battle plans to the test. Bombs away, boys!

Runners Up:

2. Bar Napoli

3. O’B Clark’s

4. Bar Louie

5. Lester’s Sports Bar & Grill


Winner: Saint Louis Zoo

You may not fully realize the benefit of having a free zoo in your hometown until you go to a place like San Diego and have to fork over 40 bucks a head just to get through the gates. Our taxpayer-supported Saint Louis Zoo is a ranked among the finest in the nation and many of the 3 million visitors from around the world who go there every year can’t believe there’s no admission charge. You’re welcome.

Runners Up:

2. Saint Louis Art Museum

3. Forest Park

4. Grant’s Farm

5. Missouri History Museum


Winner: City Museum

Whether you’re looking for a fantastical place for the kids to play or a wild night of drinks and fire-blowing performers, City Museum is your ticket to a memorable night on the town. Surreal experiences await around every corner of the 600,000-foot space, with underground caves, MonstroCity’s two abandoned planes, the World Aquarium, the world’s largest pencil, stand-out architecture, a ball pit and more unique surprises.

Runners Up:

2. Forest Park

3. Missouri Botanical Garden

4. The Hill

5. Tower Grove Park


Winner: Saint Louis Art Fair

St. Louis is home to numerous outdoor festivals and celebrations, but the one readers enjoy the most is Saint Louis Art Fair. With artisans coming from around the country, it’s not hard to find a unique handcrafted piece to fall in love with and take home. Mark your calendar for Sept. 10 through 12 this year!

Runners Up:

2. St. Louis Mardi Gras in Soulard

3. The Great Forest Park Balloon Race

4. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

5. Greek Festival in CWE


Winner: The Magic House

In 1979, the first kids who discovered The Magic House were amazed by the things they saw and learned there. Thirty one years later, many of those ‘kids’ are now parents themselves and their children are making their own amazing discoveries in the same ‘magic house.’ The minute they walk in the door those young imaginations go into overdrive. You remember, don’t you?

Runners Up:

2. Saint Louis Zoo

3. City Museum

4. Saint Louis Science Center

5. Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House


Winner: Tower Grove Farmers Market

On Saturday mornings during the warm-weather season, Tower Grove Park is the place to be for a bountiful selection of fresh locally grown produce, handcrafted baked goods and Missouri grass-fed beef. LN readers also may have chosen Tower Grove Farmers Market as their favorite because of its many artisan booths and free yoga (starting at 9 a.m.)! Save the date—the new season begins May 7!

Runners Up:

2. Historic Soulard Market

3. Clayton Farmers Market

4. Kirkwood Farmers Market

5. Maplewood Farmers Market


Winner: Plaza Frontenac

It’s always fun to peer into shop windows to see what entices you into a store. LN readers find that Plaza Frontenac offers the perfect atmosphere for scoping out the temptations from 50 specialty shops.

Runners Up:

2. Central West End

3. Clayton

4. Ladue Market Place

5. West County Center


Winner: City Museum

(See above)

Runners Up:

2. Lumière Place

3. Moolah Theater & Lounge

4. Fast Eddie’s Bon Air

5. Soulard


Winner: Nordstrom

A friend recently told me, I love going to Nordstrom, because even if I have no idea what is in style, I always end up with clothes that everyone compliments! And while some of that surely comes from having stellar clothes buyers, the store’s friendly and attentive staff also plays a huge role.

Runners Up:

2. Saint Louis Closet Co.

3. Neiman Marcus

4. Tony’s Restaurant

5. Genovese Jewelers