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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Sommers’


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.


That’s Lauren Davis all over. The 30-year vet as an art teacher at Parkway Central High has turned how students who have become prominent designers, including Mike Binnette, Deanna Kuhlmann and Jeremy Lasky (who is now with Pixar production company). What’s Davis up to now? Sculptures. “I’m creating a big, fat, New York pigeon,” said the charmer. . . Former reporter and now a columnist and jewelry craftsperson, Susan Fadem, is having her first-ever gallery opening at 6 p.m., Oct. 9 at Crepes in the City, 500 S. Fourteenth Street. The entrepreneurial lady is also staging jewelry-and-stuff home shows at the Fadem manse. She has exhausted storage space and joked, “How many necks does a person have?”. . . What glowed in the dark and sported the libation of your choice? The glassware, of course, provided by American Airlines (via the always adorable Cindy Hutchings) at the Central West End Association’s benefit, “Glow in the Park” fundraiser in Forest Park the other night. Hundreds gathered under tents to watch dozens of balloons show their stuff, danced until the wee hours, and ogled the unique atmosphere created by our town’s Alexis Tucci, whose pop, Kim, served as auctioneer. Chris Williams of Southwest Bank chaired the event, which benefitted both the CWE nabe and the Flora Conservancy at Forest Park. Energizer’s Ward Klein joined the ranks of corporate toppers at the party, including Todd George of Lumiere, godbug Charlie Shapard of Holt & Shapard Capital Mangement, and Chris Sommers of PI Restaurant (soon to bow in the CWE). Parks Director Gary Bess and 28th Ward alderwoman Lyda Krewson held court and the Balloon Race prez John Marlow talked winds-aloft and BTU’s. He also reported that the Energizer Bunny, the lead launch for the race, was celebrating its 20th birthday – an event officially memorialized by mayoral proclamation.

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