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Exploring ‘Iconic Restaurants Of St. Louis’ With Ann Lemons Pollack

St. Louis has a fondness for the tried and true. Never mind the buzzy new gelato shop, we won’t give up our Ted Drewes. And why go anywhere else for your Italian than the spot that Joe DiMaggio gave his seal of approval, Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill?

Writer Ann Lemons Pollack has these St. Louis restaurants covered — and many more. Her new book, “Iconic Restaurants of St. Louis,” tells the story of 41 places that stood the test of time.

From long-shuttered standbys like Delmonico Diner and Rizzo’s Top of the Tower to more recent closures (Schneithorst’s, Goody Goody Diner) and places still going strong after more than a century (the Piccadilly at Manhattan), it offers a sense of what made each restaurant a destination and brings to life the people behind it.

“There’s a line that I use sometimes: ‘If kitchens are the heart of a home, restaurants are the heart of a city,’” she said Monday on St. Louis on the Air.

Previously a registered nurse, Pollack is the widow of longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch restaurant critic Joe Pollack (who also reviewed restaurants for St. Louis Public Radio). They co-wrote three guidebooks to St. Louis food. On her own, Pollack also authored a previous book, “Lost Restaurants of St. Louis,” and she writes a monthly column for St. Louis Magazine.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio /

Sarah Fenske joined St. Louis Public Radio as host of St. Louis on the Air in July 2019. Before that, she spent twenty years in newspapers, working as a reporter, columnist and editor in Cleveland, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and St. Louis. She won the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her work in Phoenix exposing corruption at the local housing authority. She also won numerous awards for column writing, including multiple first place wins from the Arizona Press Club, the Association of Women in Journalism (the Clarion Awards) and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. From 2015 to July 2019, Sarah was editor in chief of St. Louis' alt-weekly, the Riverfront Times. She and her husband, John, are raising their two young daughters and ill-behaved border terrier in Lafayette Square.