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Posts Tagged ‘Vince Bommarito’


Olivier Leguet

Olivier Leguet

Olivier Leguet, the guy with an idiosyncratic passion for his native French food, hosted the grand opening of his La Bonne Bouchee Bakery & Patisserie adjoining his beloved restaurant – replete with a new lounging area.  While violinist Irena Goren Scheer and cellist Heather Olivier (Olivier’s wife) serenaded the crowd, Olivier’s daughter Isabelle greeted the pomp-free employees who were guests at the catered buffet.  All-in-all, it was a mood-elevating evening. . .Over at the Sheraton Westport, the Italian Golf dinner was in full swing with guests bidding on “priceless” items.  One of them was dinner for eight, catered by Monsignor Vince Bommarito at his St. Ambrose Catholic Church.  One winner, who bought the gift, outbid everyone for $3,000.  Then, someone matched it with another $3,000. ..At Il Bel Lago, a crowd of Edward Jones staffers greeted members of the Kansas City firm, VMl, which is designing a new website for

Brenna and Diangelia Phillips, Selamawit Fisseha and Baiza Engida

Brenna and Diangelia Phillips, Selamawit Fisseha and Baiza Engida

the financial firm. “It ( had 21 million hits last year,” boasted marketing chief Brad Iversen. . .Over at Blueberry Hill a gaggle of habitues were caught al dente to honor recent retiree Bill “Big Mule” Hayes.  They sported commemorative t-shirts with the touching sentiment: “BIG MULE HAYES – Forgotten, but not gone.”  It was a trip down St. Louis radio memory lane as they recalled their adventures and Ms. adventures with the likes of Terri Garr, Mort Crowley, Dave Allen, Harry Honig, Thom Lewis and Thed Barbone.  On hand were Robert R. Lynn, Larry Gross, Bill Hayes, Becky “the buxom bartender” and Dick Ulett, topper of Clayton Studios. Witness Protection Program’s and Blueberry Hill raconteur Joe Edwards personally stopped by to throw them out since they had long since lost their thrill.


Boston-based physicist Stan Rosenthal is calling Barnes-Jewish/Siteman Cancer Center his home for now, while supervising the installation of a $20 million system that provides high-energy,optimal radiation therapy via high-energy proton beam for treating cancer. Created by Still River Systems, the equipment has high clinical advantages compared to conventional x-rays, explained Rosenthal, who is working with physicist Eric Klein of WashU Med School’s oncology department. Completion of the project is expected next spring and will be the seventh facility in the country to employ it. . .Vince Bommarito updated the possible move of Tony’s Restaurant to the Cheshire from downtown: “We’re presently looking at numbers for a parking area and a garage”. . .Emerson’s David Farr got an “A” from Fontbonne students whom he addressed the other day on building global relationships. Students from 16 nations were on hand. Farr shared his personal experiences from around the globe and then he joined the company’s Bob Cox to lead a tour of the Emerson Technology Cente, a donation of the company’s Network Power Data and showed how it has juiced the Fontbonne IT network for teaching and learning capabilities. The entire program was arranged by the university’s Linda Buhr. . .Political consultant and activist David Woodruff writes that he has been given access to “a short stack of the $1,000 tickets” and that they are available for $250 to attend President Barack Obama’s event Oct. 4 at the Renaissance Grand Hotel. . .Hair stylist Tymm Griffith has bowed Tymm’s Place in Ladue’s ClayPrice center. Her career began as a hairbender 25 years ago with Jim Cira.


Heidi Glaus with her parents

I awoke from a nap Sunday afternoon and turned on Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and it dawned on me with a sharp pain, that I hadn’t been getting around much over the last few days. Jumped out of the shower and played “The Blue Pajama Song” – ah, our town’s Buddy Moreno – then headed for Ameristar Casino Resort’s ballroom.  That’s where the Missouri Restaurant Association held its inaugural ball.  While seated at a table with Monsignors Sal Polizzi and Vince Bommarito, hosted by the Missouri Baking’s Gambaro famiia, Msgr. Bommarito said the two clerics would head for Sin City’s MGM the next day for a vacation.  “We’ll be there a week,” said Father Vince to which Father Sal

Msgrs. Vince Bommarito and Sal Polizzi with the Gambaro family

contradicted, “No, we’ll be there for five days.”  Will they gamble?  “He will, but I won’t,” insisted Father Vince, who continued to regal the guests with his story about lunching with funeral directors at Pietro’s.  He said he warns the morticians in advance, “Nobody dies, while we’re there.” He continued to recall a grieving family, who insisted, “We don’t want a mass and let’s just go to the Pasta House after the funeral.”  KSDK’s Heidi Glaus picked up the award as Media Person of the Year and announced, “This is perfect, because I don’t cook and eat out all the time.”  With her were

The Fortels

her parents, educators Jill and Bill Glaus of Ballwin.  The charming and ebullient Shelly Fortel of pizza fame was introed by emcee Jim Holder, who announced her new post as prez of the organization.  In the wings, Fortel tipped her six stores will vend heart-shaped pizzas next month. Headlining the event was the presentation of Restaurateur of the Year to Mark Aizzi, owner of the 54 year-old, 300-seater landmark, Rigazzi’s on The Hill. Confined to a wheelchair, Aizzi, with his wife Joan and their five children, turned to the dinery’s chef, Jim Murphy, and asked him to reveal the upcoming entree – “Cacciatore over risotto and salzizia,” said Murray, who has been with the restaurant for almost 50 years.  On hand for the event were: the association’s prez, Jack Borgmeyer of Grappa Grill;

Roland DiGregorio, Lowell Martin, Jr. Bart Saracino

Bart Saracino of Bartolino’s Osteria, Chris’ and Bartolino’s South; Lowell Martin, Jr., Ameristar’s food and bev guy; Roland DiGregorio; Corey and Sarah Miller; Jim “Socko” Lahrman; Diane and Chris Gambaro; Linda and Dario Gambaro and opera singer Gina Galati, who wowed the crowd with her singing of the National Anthem. Galati is the founder of Winter Opera St. Louis. Asked if there was a great deal of skimming by restaurateurs these days, tax attorney Harry Charles blurted, “I can’t tell you!”

The Aizzi family


One of captivity’s super-best innkeepers, Bob O’Loughlin, chairman and ceo of Lodging Hospitality Management, said he hopes to reopen The Cheshire Inn & Lodge by June and it will fly the banner of The Cheshire. He also said talks are progressing with Vince Bommarito to land his landmark Tony’s in one of the four venues that will become available there. Before departing  for San Diego to ogle a Doubletree hotel, that he will dub a Hilton, he said he’s also on the prowl for a Hilton in Connecticut.  Presently, LHM has 20 hotels in its portfolio.  Seems like yesterday, that Bob married his glamorous wife, Kathy. They’re now marking their 44th wedding anniversary. Son Steve has become a rising force with LHM. Congrats to the family!


Vince (Bommarito) has been offered the chance to move to the Cheshire from downtown,” said Bommarito’s brother-in-law Kevin McGinnis, who was among Musial’s pals at the luncheon, hosted by auto magnate Bill SuntrupRay Barrett lamented the current value of his 1,000 acres in Forristell, Mo., which he bought in the 1970s for $1,000 an-acre. “Three years ago, the land could have brought $10,000 an-acre and now it could probably fetch $6,000 an-acre,” said Barrett. Seated across from him was retired Creve Coeur police chief Bill “Cowboy” Kisling, who got into a discussion with Barrett about Florissant Mayor Bob Lowery.  “I wrote to Lowery explaining what a fine mayor he is and asked why he doesn’t fold up the tent already,” said Barrett. “When he got my letter, Lowery phoned me and began screaming.  At the end of the conversation, Lowery said, ‘My wife says the same thing.'” Others on hand at the party were Ed Thornton, Jeff Musial and Dave Dolan.


Dennis Reagan, Jill McGuire, Michael Scully, Lisette Dennis, John Wright

The outline of downtown appeared like a bee in amber on late Wednesday afternoon, when the columnist popped into America’s Center to get an earful of song at the American International Choral Festival. During the reception, guests dripped with charisma and Emerson Electric Corp.’s senior veep of administration Robert M. Cox, Jr., was no exception.  Chatting with his pal, The Muny’s Dennis Reagan,  Cox said, “When I joined Emerson, the company had annual revenue of $1 billion and we expect to reach $25 billion this year.”  Turning to the city earnings tax controversy, Cox pointed out, “(Emerson ceo) David Farr and Civic Progress are looking into alternative solutions.” Beaucoup gemutlich surrounded the gathering with the Regional Arts Commission topper Jill McGuire helming the event. The native of Fulton, Mo., said the RAC paid $137,000 to host the 400 singers from far and wide to participate, including those from China, Croatia, South America and Canada to compete through Saturday in its first festival in the U.S.  She added, that the Doris Duke Foundation has given a grant to the RAC, whose budget is $5 million annually.  The ebullient, bouncy blond McGuire will be feted on her 25th anniversary as RAC topper on Dec. 6 at the St. Louis Club, hosted

Larry and Barbara Poger, James Bommarito, Judy and Jerry Pogger

by Donna Wilkinson.  Nearby was John Wright, an African American historian and author, who said his latest book is based upon the history of Carondelet.  He described it as tracing the area’s roots including the 18th century houses, the very first kindergarten and the Civil War gunboats.  On hand was the Convention & Visitors Commish’s John Bettag, who said that the First Robotics conclave of 25,000 will be here in April for another competition featuring kids four years-old and up. It was late when I left and was panhandled by a few hoods along the “shooting gallery” of Washington Avenue. But fortunately,

the people outnumbered the birds.  Bumped into a few AB InBev district managers in town for a meeting.  They enthused over the brewery’s 2011 launch of Shocktop Raspberry.  Then, a stop at Tony’s and joined boniface James Bommarito in congratulating insurance consultant Larry Poger and his wife, Barbara, on their 50th wedding anniversary.  They were accompanied by Larry’s bro, barrister Jerry Poger and his wife Judy.  Bumped into toxic litigator Tracy Cowan, who swooned over Vince Bommarito‘s care and feeding of

Dennis Reagan, Robert Cox

diners. “We had just moved our offices into this building and we called down to Tony’s to ask for a takeout,” he said. “We had no furniture yet, but Vince sent up our dinners on china.  My wife, Jeanne, and our 2 year-old daughter sat on the floor savoring the food and the restaurant has become our favorite ever since.”


There was little Christian love for Mo. Guv Jay Nixon last Sunday in the historic Hill nabe.  In what may, arguably, believe is the heart of the Democratic Party, the area was shaken off its foundation during the 25th Giro della Montagna race.  Race officials had invited Lt. Guv Peter Kinder, a Republican and also former chairman of Tour Missouri, to start a cycling race.  With a backdrop of St. Ambrose Catholic Church, the event brought out hundreds of spectators, volunteers and participants. Before Kinder greeted area cyclists, several spectators yelled, “Impeach Nixon” and “Vote Nixon Out.”  Kinder didn’t miss a beat,  while never acknowledging the Nixon foes, who were angry bike fans.  Kinder merely cracked a smile and said, “If I have anything to do with it (pause), we’ll have the Tour Missouri next year.”  The crowd roared with glee, while a startled Monsignor Vince Bommarito returned to his nearby, beloved church.  The church pushed back its 12 noon Mass an hour earlier so that The Giro della Montagna race could have its six-hour event.  Nixon had rejected funding this year for the Tour Missouri, a statewide professional cycling race, which brought hundreds of international participants and thousands of tourists to Missouri and our town for one week.


A sight to behold: fervent Republican Donna Wilkinson and devoted Democrat Tom Green in an embrace. . .Ditto for Jamie and Jason Cohen, a strategist and Beltway/St. Louis commuter, charged with helping to craft the proposal for a Stl victory in the run for the convention… Soldier of fortune/physical fitness guru/mercenary Joe Adams and his better half, mortgage doyenne Diana Daugherty, plunked down $1.1 million for the Hampton Park manse from the late do-gooders Ruth and Dr. Walter Washington, according to their son, Kevin, who tub-thumped holding the convention here. . Mike Shannon arrived with his love, Quincy,IL travel agent Lori Bergman. . .KSDK reporter/co-anchor Mike Garrity telling Kara E. Bolin, press sect’y to Mayor Francis Slay, “I covered the team getting off the bus”. . .Then, it was onward to Tony’s to glad-hand former Cardinals football linebacker Jamie Rivers and his wife, Brenda, who marked their 45th wedding anniversary and toasted their four grandchildren. BTW – The winsome twosome own the McDonald’s on Lindell Boulevard. After a sampling of exec chef Vince Bommarito, Jr.’s soft shell crabs, stuffed with crab meat – another stop. Over at Cyrano’s, bossman Charlie Downs was vending real deal Lake Superior white fish and organic blueberry crumb pie with cinnamon ice cream.


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.


While time and people may pass and fashions may change, the tables are always set at the venerable Tony’s. So it came as a shock to hear that the Bommarito family’s highly-touted restaurant may move to Clayton from downtown St. Louis. Not so fast! Scotch those rumors! As of Wednesday, Vince Bommarito, Sr., called a halt to negotiations with the management of the rising Centene Building in Clayton. Asked about the matter, Vince, Sr., would only confirm that it would have been a second location, “but the number didn’t work.” The cost of construction and common space costs would have made it difficult, offered a source close to the confab. Meanwhile, Vince and his sons turned to putting final touches on the menu for Sunday night, Feb. 14, when Tony’s will swing open the doors.

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