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They’re going fast nowthe great restaurants we loved so much.  Thanks to George Mahe of St. Louis magazine, we’ve learned that Duff’s in the CWE will shutter at month’s end.  Established in 1972, Duff’s was part of the fabric from which the Central West End spirit was born to become famous around the country.  Duff’s ranked high among many of its neighboring establishments: Optique, Warfield Shop, Polk’s China & Linens, Vasia Shop, Saks, Montaldo’s, Lockhart’s, the original Bissinger’s, Kean’s Pharmacy, Herbie’s, Balaban’s, the Park Plaza Drug Store with a bountiful line of food at the counter and Potpouri.



I felt like a character in an Antonioni film, walking across the endless marble passageway in the lobby of the Four Seasons and into a sterilized elevator rising to the top floor for the World Affairs Council tribute to Meds & Food for Kids (MFK), represented by Dr. Patricia Wolff.  Wolff, a professor of Clinical Pediatrics at WashU’s School of Medicine, founded MFK in her frustration from watching malnourished Haitian children needlessly die. So, the organization began to produce highly-nutritious food products in that country. Estimates are that MFK has saved the lives of 70,000 children. A cocktail reception preceded the dinner program emceed by KMOX’s Charlie Brennan and World Affairs Council prez Deepak Kant Vyas presented the award to Wolff.  Her husband, SLU Law Dean Michael Wolff, greeted the donors that included: Kris Parsons, huddled with Dr. Warren Rosenblum, who hailed that Pulitzer Prize-winner and the Washington Post’s Philip Kennicott will soon visit our town to huddle with former colleagues who worked at the Post-Dispatch.



We are the survivors: we lived through the week, a fugue of joy and despair, hope and tragedy.  One person who did not survive, the co-owner of the long-gone Al Baker’s Restaurant in Clayton, Mary Baker.  The outpouring of love is apparent in all who knew her.  Like a Grecian goddess, she swept with her husband, Al, throughout the dining mecca and was always on hand to greet diners and imbibers with a smile and curiosity asking each about the well-being  of their families.  As the end approached, she carried on with dignity and courage.  We”ll miss Mary.


 The Docket will soon take on a new meaning for Saint Louis University School of Law students, faculty and staff as well as downtown’s legal and business communities. This fall an aptly named café and bistro will open on the ground floor of SLU LAW’s new home at 100 N. Tucker Blvd., in the heart of downtown’s civic and judicial center. The 3,500-square-foot restaurant, operated by the award-winning Palo Alto-based food service group Bon Appétit Management Company in partnership with Saint Louis University, will offer quick breakfasts and lunches with a more leisurely dinner service. The design of clean modern lines paired with a rustic farmhouse sensibility will feature an open kitchen and both communal and casual seating, with 110 seats inside and 72 outside, weather permitting. “We envision The Docket as place for the legal and civic community to gather alongside SLU LAW students, faculty and staff,” said Dean Michael Wolff. “The concept Bon Appétit has put together perfectly embodies the idea of our integration into the downtown community.” Bon Appétit Management Company focuses on chef-driven cafés set at corporations, universities, museums and specialty venues that develop relationships in the communities they serve, specifically through the use of local foods and sustainable practices.  They currently operate an award-winning program at Washington University and are set to open a new restaurant on July 1 at the St. Louis Art Museum. The menu at The Docket will focus on small plates, pizzas, pastas and rustic entrees featuring locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and skilled from-scratch cooking. A wood-burning oven and grill will be the heart of the space serving a steady stream of pizzas, flatbreads and earthenware casseroles.A notable hallmark of the restaurant is also The Docket’s bar. It will feature everything from fresh-squeezed juices and house-made aqua frescas to craft brews and signature cocktails made with local spirits, with the focus on carefully made, handcrafted beverages.


An employee at a California Taco Bell is shown licking a stack of hard shell tacos and the Irvine, CA-based giant fast-food company is in a snit over the picture surfacing on Facebook and Twitter. Company spokesperson: “. ..although we believe it’s a prank, and the food was not served to customers. . .we are conducting a full-scale investigation and will be taking swift action. . .”


Tino and Aurelia Walenda

Tino and Aurelia Walenda

“Watch where you step!” is the mantra by circus folks and Saturday night was no exception at the Circus Flora gala next to Powell Hall.  Themed “A Trip to the Moon,” inspired by George Melies’ ground-breaking film of 1902, the concept fit well for the 27th anniversary of Flora. Aside from the one-ring circus production based on the traditional circus arts, it showcased the working partnership of humans and animals with a live band.  The ensemble company was graced with the wire-walk of The Flying Walendas.  Aurelia Walenda, 28:

Jake Wheeler

Jake Wheeler

“We rehearse two hours a day and stretch daily.”  Her dad, Tino:  “Our family has been doing this for 55 years and we’re going next to the Circus Hall of Fame in Indiana and then to the Canadian National Expo. I ride the bike on the wire and my daughter stands on my shoulder while my wife, Olinka,does a head-stand on the trapeze.  One time, we had a close call working in a train station and had to use forklifts to anchor the wires, because the place was on the National Register of Historical places and we couldn’t use the walls.

Molly Cox, Jake Wheeler and Alexis Tucci

Molly Cox, Jake Wheeler and Alexis Tucci

The wires couldn’t be tightened enough. They were eventually stabilized.”  Hefty Circus Flora donors Erin and John Wright were honored following the reception, dinner and auction. Rita and Joe Carpenter (he was the visionary who first conceived transforming the dormant Fox Theater film palace into a live venue) were on hand as were muscle-bound partners Cameron Earnheart and Matt Schiermeier, who confided they’ve been together for 10 years and are planning a fall wedding in NYC.

Amy Sprandel clutched by Colombian boa and Leah Wilson

Amy Sprandel clutched by Colombian boa and Leah Wilson

On hand were entertainers Jake Wheeler on his flame-throwing tricycle, Leah Wilson and Amy Sprandel, who toyed with a Colombian boa named Tranze.  Alexis Tucci was tapped to handle all the entertainment. House managerHarald Boerstler tipped that Flora is a “charity circus” on call by hospitals and fundraising agencies. Ducats for the production and dinner were priced up to $250 each and among the do-gooders were: Nancy and Ken Kranzberg with their daughter and son-in-law Mary Ann andAndy Srenco; Carol and Tom Voss 

John and Erin Wright in center and in the background Sara, James and Joseph and Paige  Oster

John and Erin Wright in center and in the background Sara, James and Joseph and Paige Oster

and Parkway Schools psychologist Andrew Haley with Mollie Ring

Matt Schiermeier and Cameron Earnheart

Matt Schiermeier and Cameron Earnheart


Rita and  Joe Carpenter

Rita and Joe Carpenter

Tom and Carol Voss, Ken and Nancy Kraznzberg, Mary Ann and Andy Srenco

Tom and Carol Voss, Ken and Nancy Kraznzberg, Mary Ann and Andy Srenco

Andrew Haley and Mollie Ring

Andrew Haley and Mollie Ring





American bankers in London, who have hitherto been reticent on the situation created by the receivership of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad, were more inclined yesterday [June 2] to discuss the matter. Their views were varied, but the tendency was to take a moderate view of the difficulty. One said that the incident might exercise a disturbing influence, as the European investor in American bonds does not quite understand the meaning of a receivership. The European investor attributes to it a graver sense than is customary in America. “Anyone who is hunting about for a 7 per cent. [SIC] rate of interest is taking a risk and knows it,” said one investor. The English investing public is well able to discriminate between one bond and another. It is generally observed that the railroad’s earnings are ample to cover its fixed charges.”


St. Louis has telent!  Check out this link of Morgan McDonald, 11, daughter of Beth and Shaun McDonald and grandaughter of Rich and Cindy Mueth and John and Renea McDonald:

Sports Illustrated launching its live, half-hour talk shows at 12 noon on weekdays beginning Monday on SI Video. . .Not to be missed: the trailer for “Innocence of Muslims” over YouTube. . .Mo. A.G. Chris Koster has posted the number of vehicle stops in 2012 on his website – amazing!. . .East St. Louis/Belleville’s own Jimmy Connors is front ‘n center with his book, “The Outsider: A Memoir,” in which is recalled his wacky, steel-frame racket and his advice, “Take the ball on the rise”. . .Bravo hot-shot Andy Cohen will host this year’s Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards in N.Y. For those who came in late, the ex-Clayton resident has rocketed to fame by bringing us “Project Runway” and “Real Houswives”. . .Strange that reporter Ann Rubin’s name remains on KSDK’s website although she hasn’t been there for months. . .St. Louis Archdiocesan staffers now say that Fr. Kevin Hederman is “retired.” Back in 2009, he was tremporarily suspended for child abuse allegations. . .Jallen Messersmith of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. has become the first openly-gay player in men’s college basketball. . .Sarah Palin has forked over $5,000 to Republican Jason Smith’s campaign to fill the seat left vacant by Jo Ann Emerson. . .Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman has checked out of rehab where he completed treatment for heroin abuse.

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