Best of West
VIEW A PHOTO GALLERY OF SOME WINNERS HERE.
BEST ELECTED OFFICIAL – JANE CUNNINGHAM
Not only has Sen. Jane Cunningham provided true conservative legislative leadership to residents of Chesterfield in her position in the State Capitol, she spearheaded the efforts to get Proposition C on the Missouri ballot in August. The measure to repeal insurance mandates in the president’s Health Care Reform Act passed with almost 75 percent of the vote and provided inspiration for states nationwide to attempt to adopt similar measures.
BEST MAYOR- TIM WOERTHER, WILDWOOD
Wildwood’s Town Center has added a movie theater and several new businesses. A referendum for a new Wildwood City Hall passed. The triumphant summertime St. Louis Home Fires Barbecue Bash was one of the best-attended and most well-liked West County events of 2010. Judging from the votes of our readers, the leadership of Tim Woerther was a big part of the growing West County community’s success.
BEST RADIO PERSONALITY – DANA LOESCH
Witty, provocative and always interesting, Dana Loesch has managed to use her youthful good looks, her 97.1 FM afternoon talk show and her leadership in the local Tea Party movement as a springboard to prominent appearances on national news shows. Her candor, sense of humor, and ability to get under the skin of liberals make her the perfect spokesperson for the local conservative movement.
BEST TV PERSONALITY – MIKE BUSH
The majority of those receiving votes in this category work for Channel 5, highlighting the NBC affiliate’s dominance of local TV news. Mike Bush has moved long past his “sports guy” roots to become the face of the news franchise, and he expertly rounds out his anchor duties by hosting the local segments of the MDA Telethon and using the news to highlight feel-good stories about individuals who make a positive impact in the community.
BEST TEACHER- PAT MCPARTLAND, PARKWAY SOUTH HIGH
There are some teachers whose students never forget them. Apparently, Parkway South High history teacher Pat McPartland is one of those teachers, and his students, who appreciate his creative teaching methods, will remember him with fondness. Why? As one reader put it, “He’s demonstrably the best history teacher in all of Parkway.” McPartland has been teaching in the Parkway district for 22 years and knows how to relate content to the lives of his students, engaging them in Socratic seminars, mock trials, simulations and interactive lectures, according to one of his colleagues.
BEST CITIZEN – PAT MCDERMOTT
Lifelong Ballwin resident Pat McDermott has served the community in a number of ways. When the Ballwin Board of Aldermen in November of last year appointed him to fill a vacancy on the board, McDermott said he was “proud to have the opportunity to serve the community in yet another way.” He is an engineer, firefighter and paramedic for the Metro West Fire Protection District, has worked with the St. Louis County Fair & Air Show, the Rotary Club, and for the past 10 years as co-chair for the Ballwin Days festival.
BEST CITY – CHESTERFIELD
It has been a turbulent year for the city of Chesterfield. Budgetary issues prompted the city to make cuts to its staff, and longtime Mayor John Nations resigned in the fall to take the CEO position at Metro. Despite such challenges, the always-interesting West County community has continued to strengthen its commitment to the arts, provide quality locales for recreation, attract great new shops and restaurants and offer other amenities that greatly contribute to the quality of life for its residents.
BEST LOCAL CITIZEN TO LOOK UP TO- STAN MUSIAL
The esteem that a great hero like Stan Musial brings to our community belongs to everyone that has ever lived, visited or even watched a baseball game in the St. Louis area. He wins this category based on far more than his Hall of Fame baseball career; he courageously stood up for early black Major League baseball players, he demonstrated great heroism by serving in World War II during what should have been the height of his playing career, and the local charity work he has done has been legion. Even to those never lucky enough to see him play, Musial is and always will be the face of the Cardinals franchise. It was announced late in 2010 that the year-long efforts of Cardinals fans will pay off when Stan “The Man” will be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom later this month. It is an honor that is long overdue.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL – CHAMINADE
Chaminade College Preparatory School is an independent, Catholic day and resident school for male students in grades six through 12. The school boasts a student-teacher ratio of 10:1, an average class size of 18 students and a faculty with 74 percent of teachers holding graduate or doctoral degrees. As a college prep school, Chaminade offers 40 college credit courses and nearly two dozen AP courses. The school is located on a 55-acre campus in Creve Coeur.
BEST GRADE SCHOOL- ST. JOHN LUTHERAN
Located at the intersection of Manchester and Clarkson Roads in Ellisville, St. John Lutheran offers a Christian education for 155 pre-school students and 350 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Education named St. John a Blue Ribbon School, an award honoring schools that either are high performing or have improved student achievement to high levels. In 2007, the school’s administrator was named National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the U.S. Department of Education.
BEST LOCAL CHARITY- WILDWOOD FAMILY YMCA
Since opening in 2001, the Wildwood Family YMCA has had an open-door policy for those in need, providing memberships for qualifying individuals and families who are unable to afford them. The YMCA is known for helping develop youth and promoting healthy living, and for giving back and providing support to its neighbors throughout the community.
BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT OF TOWN GUESTS- THE SAINT LOUIS ZOO
Named the No. 1 zoo by Zagat Survey’s “U.S. Family Travel Guide,” the Saint Louis Zoo is home to 24,000 animals, many of which are rare and endangered. More than 3 million people visit every year, and the zoo is open year-round, except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Best of all, admission is free.
BEST PLACE FOR A ROMANTIC EVENING- TABLE THREE
Beautifully appointed yet comfortable dining rooms, exceptional American contemporary cuisine, fine wine and attentive but not overbearing servers combined to give Table Three the nod from readers for the best romantic setting in West County. The large and lovely patio features a fireplace, bar and couch seating for intimate gatherings in the heart of Wildwood’s Town Center.
BEST PUBLIC ART – “THE AWAKENING”
Readers picked the second casting of J. Seward Johnson’s mighty sculpture for the second consecutive year. At 70 feet in length, “The Awakening” commands attention in Sachs Properties’ sculpture garden, near Central Park in Chesterfield. The giant sculpture was identified as a big factor in the Missouri Arts Council’s selection of the city of Chesterfield as the state’s 2011 Creative Community Award winner.
BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO THE AREA- ST. LOUIS HOME FIRES BBQ BASH
Held on a late September weekend at the Wildwood Town Center, the 2010 BBQ Bash was a real crowed pleaser. Roughly 35,000 attendees came out for award-winning barbecue, games, competitions and live music. Some even took a ride on a mechanical bull.
BEST MALE HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE – ROB STANDARD
Although he never managed to lead his team to the Show-Me Bowl, Chaminade standout Rob Standard will always be remembered as one of the most explosive and talented high school athletes the area ever witnessed. The senior, who has committed to attend Iowa State next year, ran for more than 8,000 yards during the four years that he dominated area football, breaking the all-time metropolitan area record for high school career rushing yards.
BEST FEMALE HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE – KRISTA MENGHINI
So far St. Joseph’s Academy senior Krista Menghini has collected nine state medals – the most in school history. In 2010, she finished 10th in the state Class 4 cross country meet and helped St. Joe win the state volleyball championship – on the same weekend. Before graduating, she plans to pack in another season of track and field with the Angels. Menghini has signed to play volleyball at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
BEST ST. LOUIS PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE – ALBERT PUJOLS
The beloved Cardinals first baseman once again scored a near-unanimous victory in this category for his defensive skills, general charisma and incredible bat speed. The entire metropolitan area seems to stop whenever he steps up to the plate. Pujols clearly is one of the all-time greats, even in years in which his team is less than great.
BEST ST. LOUIS PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE NOT NAMED ALBERT PUJOLS – SAM BRADFORD
The first pick in the recent NFL draft, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford had one of the statistically greatest rookie seasons in NFL history. In doing so, he helped turn a franchise that had been a local embarrassment for the last few years into a genuine contender.
BEST LOCAL SPORTSCASTER – JOE BUCK
Emerging from the large shadow of a famous parent never is easy, but Joe Buck has pulled it off, developing his own style while announcing baseball and football for Fox. His assignments have included calling both the Super Bowl and the World Series as well as being a key part of the team of commentators on “Fox NFL Sunday.”
BEST PLAYGROUND – EDGAR M. QUEENY PARK
Appreciators of architecture rarely find much that will impress them at area children’s playgrounds, but the unique Aztec pyramid design of the play area at St. Louis County’s Queeny Park never fails to dazzle both young and old. Besides being beautiful to look at, the playground features abundant slides, tunnels and areas that are great for crawling and climbing.
BEST GOLF COURSE – ST. ALBANS
Golf Digest included both of the courses at St. Albans as the perennial favorite of local golfers in its list of the Top 10 best courses in Missouri. Beautiful scenery and playability kept the courses at the top of West Newsmagazine readers’ list as well.
BEST PLACE TO WATCH SPORTS – LESTER’S SPORTS BAR & GRILL
Lester’s is a high-tech sports bar sporting dozens of plasma TVs and a Madison Square-style scoreboard; even the men’s room is equipped with TV sets. The menu has been described as “New York deli meets Memphis barbecue” and serving sizes are incredibly generous. It’s no wonder Lester’s is a fan favorite.
BEST LOCAL ATHLETE TO LOOK UP TO – ALBERT PUJOLS
He has made such a big impact on this community that it is likely that Albert Pujols will be winning two categories in the “Best of the West” poll for as long as he plays for the Cardinals: one for his amazing athletic ability, and this one for his great generosity. The Pujols Family Foundation has helped countless people with Down syndrome locally and the poverty-stricken in the Dominican Republic. Pujols and his family exemplify the idea of giving back to those that gave to you.
BEST PLACE FOR LIVE MUSIC-SKY MUSIC LOUNGE
West County nightlife includes few chances to hear good live music, but the Sky Music Lounge in Ballwin has corrected that oversight by regularly bringing a wide array of acts from diverse genres to area music fans.
BEST HAMBURGER – CHEEBURGER CHEEBURGER
The hamburger (actually, cheeseburger) joint with the “Happy Days” feel takes this category for the second consecutive year. Every burger starts with Angus beef; diners pick the cheese and toppings – peanut butter, anyone? Every burger is cooked to order, so chill, and have a malt while you wait.
BEST PIZZA – MASSA’S
The pizza at Massa’s starts with a thin crust that never is soggy and not too crisp. The default cheese is provel, but the chef will gladly oblige those who prefer mozzarella. Customers can choose from one of a half dozen specialty pies or create their own from a list of ingredients that includes fresh tomato, shrimp and even broccoli. For something deliciously different, give the white sauce a try.
BEST ETHNIC RESTAURANT – THE MEDITERRANEAN GRILL
Authentic, freshly prepared Mediterranean specialties as well as the service at this Chesterfield restaurant drew rave reviews from readers. Voters described the fare as “incredible,” “outstanding,” “exotic” and “the best.” One reader said the food caused “an explosion of delicious flavor in my mouth. Yum!”
BEST BREAKFAST – SUNNY STREET CAFÉ
Sunny Street Café (formerly Rise & Dine) in the Wildwood Town Center took top-of-the-morning honors from readers. The breakfast-served-all day menu features all kinds of omelettes, three versions of eggs Benedict, pancakes, waffles and even a healthy breakfast sundae. Those who crave breakfast for dinner can get it at Sunny Street from 5-7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
BEST DESSERTS – SARAH’S CAKE SHOP & CATERING CO.
Locally-owned Sarah’s Cake Shop & Catering moved to Chesterfield in 2010. Its custom cakes and cupcakes take the cake (sorry) for their good looks and amazing taste. The buttercream frosting drew praise from several readers. While custom orders are their specialty, there always are goodies in the bakery case to satisfy immediate cravings. Look for the Sarah’s Cake Shop Cake Stop Van – a mobile cupcake van that motors around town and is stocked with specialty cupcakes.
BEST MOVIE THEATER-B&B THEATRES WILDWOOD 10
The long-awaited movie house in the Wildwood Town Center did not disappoint. B&B Theatres Wildwood 10 opened Oct. 1, 2010, bringing in addition to its other auditoriums the much-talked-about Marquee Suites reserved for patrons 21 and older. The two upscale theatres feature wall-to-wall curved screens, oversized leather recliners and granite tabletops between every two seats for placing wine, beer, cocktails and fine food catered from nearby Table Three.
BEST WINE LIST – BALABAN’S WINE CELLAR & TAPAS BAR
Balaban’s in Chesterfield stocks a large library of wines collected at the original Balaban’s, which for more than 15 years won the prestigious Wine Spectator Award. Guests can savor a glass while dining on site (a tasting menu pairs selected wines to appropriate foods) or purchase from the retail store, which features more than 500 fine wines.
BEST CHEAP ENTERTAINMENT – FREE CONCERTS
The stars come out on summer nights throughout West County. There are free concert series at Bluebird, Des Peres, Faust, New Ballwin (new in 2010) and Schroeder Parks and at the Wildwood Town Center. Grab a blanket and soak up the sounds.