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Posts Tagged ‘Bryan Cave’


I drove aimfully around the Central West End trying to find the places I once thought I knew so well. It seemed blessfully familiar: the magnificent Hortense Place mansions, including the one in which the late Jack Carney once lived and entertained, among other houses that escaped the 1958 tornado. Balefully charming they still are. It’s amazing how their dignified facades are preserved. Big cars, beautiful people and the aroma of pizza baking in the ovens at Pi, which reminded me of the paraphrased lyrics, “Happiness is just a thing called dough.” (We all knead it whether with mushrooms or sausage or both.) I said to my host – a living person – the pizza is incredible! Pi co-owner Chris Sommers, a onetime valet at the Seven Gables, explained the dough contains corn meal to make it a bit crunchy and housemade mozarella cheese – not provel. How did Sommers and his partner, Frank Rutledge, launch the Pi empire? “I had adult ADD and bought the recipe from a small San Francisco shop,” said Sommers. Now, the owners have four stores here with another due to open in March in the Beltway. “It will be right near Bryan Cave‘s office and six blocks from the White House on F Street,” said Sommers. The CWE is all things to all people, or perhaps too much for some as evidenced by the shuttering of The Pasta House on Euclid Avenue. Moving along, the columnist popped into Herbie’s Vintage ’72 where Dance St. Louis’ Sally Bliss entertained the company’s artistic and exec director Michael Uthoff. Still blissfully beautiful Sally, who is a cancer survivor, interrupted to take a call from her husband/broadcaster Jim Connett, who said he is occupied these days attempting to launch a classical music radio station. Later, Uthoff confided that Dance St. Louis’ 2011 season will offer at the Touhill such companies as: Martha Graham; Aspen Santa Fe; the Ensemble Espanol with Paloma Gomez; a production of the Nashville Ballet’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and the closer with “Spring to Dance” featuring 30 area dance companies. They noted that Uthoff and Bliss once danced as partners with the Joffrey Ballet company. “We were both married to others at the time,” she said as she blushed. At another table, Dr. Seth D. Crosby, director of translational research of genome sequencing center at WashU School of Medicine, was surrounded by colleagues. Dr. Crosby said, “We’ve just started looking into pediatric cancer, which is sometimes different to diagnose. We’re looking at cutting-edge technology to look at the cancer as well as the best possible treatment. We have federal money, but need Missouri funding as well in trying to get beyond just the scientific community and into the general population.” As the columnist took off, Herbie’s floor manager Tim Anselm touted that soon the revered dinery will offer rabbit pasta – a fave of habitues. Among the al fresco diners on McPherson Avenue were watercolor artist Daven Anderson with Shannon McIntyre, who owns the nearby custom iron furniture store, Sambeau’s, and is the wife of Steve Mcintyre, who established Balaban’s in west St. Louis county. Anderson ticked off the locations, where his works of urban life are on view, including the Missouri Athletic Club, which he said has bought three of them. Nearby were Jay Lewis and Lia Jones, admission directors of Everest College, which they tipped will offer in 2012 associate degree programs. Then, a quick stop at J. Viviano & Sons on The Hill to check out the holiday merchandise that just arrived, including panettone fruit cakes, pandora cakes and toronne nuggat candies. Then, a spin downtown past Kiel Opera House, that raised questions about its future. Is the news blackout on its restoration caused by pressure from Grand Center? Is the blackout imposed by restorers? it’s marketing suicide not to promote it. Meanwhile, Kansas City is heavily marketing the countdown to opening of the Kauffman Center performing arts complex next fall and it seems the $417 million downtown venue might clean up with travel business. Onward to the Pietosa family’s Napoli II restaurant in the Town & Country Crossing, at which bossman Tony Pietosa said that the restaurant is beginning to fill reservations for its special New Year’s Eve blast. At the “star table”, Steven Cartopassi of Overland Metals cheered that copper had just risen by $4 a-pound. With him was Ranken-Jordan hospital’s prez and ceo Lauri Tanner. Both had just attended a board meeting at which final touches took place for its Jan. 30 gala at the Kemp Auto Museum.


The best restaurant in town is a good one in which you are known to the owner; the second best is the one that serves consistently good food whether the owner knows you or not. That’s Leon Birnbaum at his new Chez Leon in Clayton all over. Is it a religious experience? Hell no!  We’ve all been bored in church, temple or mosque.  There’s nothing to be boring about. The classic French cuisine bourgeois prepared by chef Colby Erhart or the lounge lizards, who swoon over the interiors, created by Birnbaum and Dan Byrne. “It’s Selkirk chic!,” exclaimed hair stylist-to-the-stars Randall Jones of Larz Salon to his best pal, the stunning Elizabeth Danforth Sankey, heiress to Bill Danforth. “Yes, more urbane than urbane,” added Sanky. She informed the columnist that she and Elizabeth “Lydie” Wallace have bowed an estate jewelry buying and selling firm, Elizabeth’s Estate. A few tongues wagged about Trudy Busch‘s 84th birthday on the day before and that she was much too ill to celebrate. Here ‘n there were Linda and Tony Karakas with Janet and Smith McGehee, who celebrated the birth of triplet grandchildren.  Genya and Jim Human, along with Steve Anstey, were there praising the sales at the Janet McAfee real estate office. . .

Downtown at Tony’s, Kelly and Blues CEO Peter McLoughlin were bullish about the team and he lamented,  “I wish Dave Checketts had bought the Rams.”  Bryan Cave mouthpiece Harold Blatt with his charming Elaine graced a table with Marilyn and Bernard “Bunny” Edison, whose family empire, Edison Bros. Shoes, collapsed under the stewardship of Andy Newman and Martin Sneider, who had been teaching essentials of retailing at WashU (go figure!).  Also at Tony’s, barrister Gerard Carmody and his wife, Susan, with their daughter Ryann, settled down after a retreat at the Four Seasons with his law firm, Carmody MacDonald. . .

Over at Beffa’s there was celebration over the upcoming nupts of Rachel Crocker (Eureka, Mo.’s Byrnes Hills Stables, LLC) and Robert Brake (Brake Landscaping and Lawncare, Inc.) with his uncle, former cop Ed Beffa. . .

And, at the Palladium party house on Fourteenth Street and Park Avenue, a sumptuous feedbag and cocktails were underway, when the columnist arrived to join in the launching of the website and the honors awards presented to the City of St. Louis, AmerenUE’s PurePower and Sustainable St. Louis.  They were chosen for significant contributions they make to promote and encourage Green living in the region.  Said Mayor Francis Slay, “The greatest way to recycle in St. Louis is to save historic buildings like the one we’re in tonight.  The Greenest building is one that already exists and also preserves history.”  Cindy Bambini accepted the award on behalf of PurePower,AmerenUE’s voluntary renewable energy program, and she noted, “Currently, there are 6,000 residential and 200 businesses PurePower customers receiving 100 percent of their energy from the five wind farms in our area.” Emmis Broadcasting’s John Beck was front ‘n center getting plaudits on the broadcast chain of stations involvement in promoting the program.  John Weber of Wells Fargo and his soon-to-marry Jennie Logan of KPNT, The Point radio station, chain smoked as Weber joshed about energy, “Before we left the house, I turned on all the lights, left the fridge door open, turned up the heat and turned on the microwave.”


WITH THE POLICE COMMISSION:  St. Louis police commissioner Vince Bommarito, owner of the award-winning Tony’s restaurant downtown and shoo-in candidate for Best Uncle of the Year, now has a public relations agent to deal with the simmering (and sauteing?) controversy swirling around his Mardi Gras Get Our of Jail Free call to a St. Louis police supervisor.  Savvy Peggy Lents, who also reps the Missouri Botanical Garden, is now speaking for him.


Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito was mum as he walked through a hallway at the Renaissance Grand Hotel the other day. He headed straight to the confab of white, middle-age, tweedy men, who vend the brewery’s products. “Carlos gave a boring, off-the-cuff speech that lasted 45 minutes,” grumbled a Floridian, during a break at Pablo Weiss’s Kitchen K, where most drank iced tea or coffee along with Hawaiian chef Bobbi Wasabi‘s new, tantalizing menu.) Another attendee added, “But, we did learn that the company is setting its sights on distributing Jimmy Buffett‘s Margarita Green Tea.” Said a distributor, “We were also told that the company will be supplying us with some new technology – cell phones, that will allow us to take instant orders”. . . Don Ingerson and his employees are now offering “home modification so that people can have easy access in their homes.” Their company, MediEquip, not only sells medical equipment in all their stores, but now offers simulated environments, replete with bedrooms and bathrooms, so that customers can practice using the products “Rather than lose money on the sale of their houses and moving into apartments, they will be able to function properly in their own homes,” said Ingerson. . .Also, Suzanne and Phil Heckmann have bowed Universal Home Modification, which serves people to age in place and not at a nursing facility or assisted living venue. The firm is located at Forum Shop Center in Chesterfield, . .`Then, there’s Jim Blatt, who with Dan April, has launched Mortgage Retention. “We help mortgage originators capitalize on customer retention on existing relationships,” said Blatt. “There has been a lot of weeding out of lower performing mortgage companies and those out-of-business.” Blatt is the son of celebrated photographer Elaine Blatt and Harold Blatt, senior counsel at Bryan Cave, where he practices corporate tax planning and reorganization as well as being a guru for company benefits. . . Sweet tooth? Mike Karandzieff’s Crown Candy Kitchen has dreamed up another, futuristic taste-treat: chocolate and peanut butter-covered pretzels.

If rock music is your poison… here comes Arsenic Records.

AND, AWAY WE GOOOO: Vintner (Bryant Family Vineyards) and insurance exec (The


Bryant Group) Donald Bryant has sued legal giant Bryan Cave, alleging malpractice. Bryant alleges that the firm, which has offices throughout the world, botched his pre-nuptial agreement with now ex-wife, Barbara. How much mal? Ten million dollars, alleges Bryant in a lawsuit – lost because the agreement failed to factor in capital gains tax on the marital estate. The agreement, revised in 1989, called for Barbara to receive a cash settlement tied to the appreciated value of the couple’s mutual assets. One of those assets is a modern art collection, which includes works by Jackson Pollack and Jasper Johns. The lawsuit was filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court, and has been assigned to Judge Larry



Kendrick. Clayton attorney Laurence Maas is repping Bryant; Robert Haar is defending the Cave. (A bottle of Bryant Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvigon, 2005, will set you back about $450, if you are lucky enough to find one. Jasper Johns’ “False Start” – which Bryant does not own — sold in 2006 for $80 million.) . Here’s a tip to Variety: Wayne Meisenholder and his team, including Dick Richmond, are bowing a label, Arsenic Records in our town. The music will be pure rock, says BMeisenholder and the firm will have its own recording studio. Meisenholder was a yesteryear exec with Capitol, CBS, and Warner Bros. Records. Richmond is a retired Post-Dispatch scribe . What would



you give to work with Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, James Franco and Billy Crudup? Well, that’s just the company hometowner Doc Crotzer, alum of St. Louis U High School, who is likely to spend a lot of time in this column because he returns telephone calls, is into these days. Crotzer is currently an assistant editor on Pitt’s production of the film, “Eat, Pray, Love,” which will be shot in New York, Rome, India and Bali, and is based on a best-seller by Elizabeth Gilbert. He is also working on one of P-D TV critic Gail Pennington‘s favorite television series, “Glee”, which recently premiered “and it’s getting positive reviews and numbers,” said Doc. “We’ve shot 12 episodes plus a pilot,



so there are 11 left to air this fall,” he said. Crotzer is based in Los Angeles . Some downtown St. Louis barons are quietly trying to draft Pulaski Bank prez W. Thomas Reeves to fill the vacating top job at the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis. Before joining Pulaski, Reeves served as prez of Downtown Now. Reeves, though, has not signaled any interest. Among those actually vying for the job is well-respected Denny Coleman, who currently helms the St. Louis County Economic Council . Meanwhile, there are disagreements among its leadership about the direction of the fledgling Downtown Residents Association. The acrimony has led to the abrupt departures and resignations of a half



dozen or so board members and officers. . Scottrade brass is in negotiations with Don King to encore another fight card there in November featuring Corey Spinks, son of world’s heavyweight champ, Leon Spinks . Get ready for another new upscale restaurant: Cafe Du Coin will be a “French-style bar” near the Smokehouse in Chesterfield Valley. Owners are Eric Miranne and his wife, the stunning Micki Jones Miranne, widow of the late and great homebuilder, Bob Jones. Micki also owns the Tru Spa, near the location of the up-and-coming eatery.

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