Talk of the Towns: 12.2.20
chesterfield | Against the unfortunate trend of restaurants closing during the pandemic, it’s a pleasure to announce that a fine one just opened in a new development—a second Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Regularly voted by St. Louis diners among their favorite upscale restaurants in the metro, Ruth’s Chris has opened in the WildHorse development, an estimated $80 million multipurpose complex for which ground was broken in August. The restaurant, 16493 Wild Creek Horse Road in Chesterfield, is located just southwest of I-64. Ruth’s Chris occupies approximately 16,600 square feet of indoor space, with seating for up to 450 guests. Three outdoor dining opportunities also are available, one on the ground level and two on the roof. The restaurant boasts three bars and six private dining rooms—one has access to a private outdoor patio that seats 14 guests. Along with wine lockers, there’s a double-sided fireplace. Expected to create 125 new jobs, Ruth’s Chris will serve both lunch and dinner seven days a week. The WildHorse development is projected to include 188 one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments, 25,000 square feet of retail space, and a hotel and conference center. Housing units should be available for occupancy in early 2021, with the AC Hotel by Marriott slated to open later in the year.
Photo: Suzy Gorman
Illustrations of intubation are all over the internet. Some feature dummies, others are actual hospital photos of our heroic healthcare workers putting someone on a ventilator. The images may make some of us feel very uncomfortable. Other folks, not so much. But some of the images feature copy likely to anger anyone who believes mask mandates are an egregious insult to personal liberty, from the Missouri governor’s mansion to the maskless morons demonstrating everywhere since, like, March—even going so far as to plan abducting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this fall and putting her on “trial.” So, the “offensive” language that gets under thin skin reads something like this:
You think a face mask is inconvenient. WAIT till you try a ventilator.
That might have wiped the smile off the face of the demonstrator just outside our readership area a few weeks back, holding this sign: “Hitler demanded compliance.” But after a moment, her snarky smile would have come right back, perhaps showing even more teeth. I just don’t get why “they” don’t get it—some, coronavirus patients in the ICU themselves, to the very gates of death. “Masks don’t work!” they shout, although scientific research shows that proper masks (not bandanas, not gaiters) mitigate infections anywhere they have been required. But, you know, science. And, of course, people who wear masks are nothing but “snowflakes.” All that said, we hope your Thanksgiving was … interesting.
Many of us reluctantly adhered to CDC recommendations and didn’t get together with family and friends for Thanksgiving this year. At deadline for this issue, early last week, my kids and I were still discussing whether to do something via “Hollywood Squares,” an affectionate term for getting groups together on Zoom. Anyhow, even the fifth annual Plein Air Art Festival was virtual this fall. Artists began painting outdoor U. City scenes when the weather was favorable, rather than having to set up an easel and complete a masterpiece under the gun on a specific weekend. This year, artists uploaded their works digitally. You may have seen painters at their outdoor easels around town during September in preparation for a virtual exhibition Oct. 4. And we’re telling you this why? You can add to your priceless art collection with minimal investment. Remaining paintings will be available for viewing through the end of the year at ucityinbloom.org/shop-artwork. You may purchase paintings using PayPal or a credit card. Afterward you’ll receive details about picking up the work from the artist. A portion of each sale benefits U City in Bloom. In any case, don’t dawdle—your heirs could wind up with a heavily insured masterwork on the wall, a Monet above the mantel, as it were.
Watercolorist Marilynne Bradley has spent a half-century immortalizing St. Louis gems, from the Jewel Box to our three distinctive water towers in the city, from county landmarks such as the Kirkwood train station to quaint perspectives of her own stomping grounds, Webster Groves. Bradley’s paintings illustrate a new book that serves up a generous helping of vibrant scenes from throughout the The Lou. The bustle of Soulard Market graces the front cover of St. Louis in Watercolor: Living History in the Gateway City; on the back are three paintings of our varied and oft world-renowned architecture: the Gateway Arch, the Spanish Pavilion in Forest Park and perhaps the earliest so-called skyscraper anywhere, the Wainwright Building. Inside, lively text accompanies Bradley’s painting of the historic building, as well as a separate watercolor that shows the architectural detail of the cornice. Lively text, indeed: Throughout, you can almost hear the music, relish ethnic cuisine and cheer on the Redbirds at Busch Stadium (people used to do that, you know), thanks to her partner in the project and fellow Webster resident, writer Jennifer Grotpeter. Her well-researched vignettes capture the essence of each image, leavening animated hometown memories with historical detail, inviting the reader to connect with our rich and varied culture. In fact, Bradley (at right in photo) and Grotpeter have created a wondrous guidebook for an out-of-towner, a treasure in hardcover that certainly wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) fit in a glove compartment. Writer and painter have known each other about 10 years. Grotpeter, who wrote for the Webster-Kirkwood Times during the 2010s, happened to do an article about Bradley. Although the subject was duly impressed, the artist didn’t return the favor by painting the writer’s portrait. She went one better: During Bradley’s planning for the book with publisher Reedy Press, one thing led to another—Grotpeter became the catalyst that brought the project to life. She graduated from Kirkwood High School; it’s become a humorous subcurrent, especially around this time of year’s (usually) annual Turkey Day gridiron contest—alas, COVID-canceled for 2020. Her daughters, a sophomore and junior, attend Webster Groves High. “It is awkward, even though they’re not interested in football or cheerleading,” she says. As happens for so many of us whose words wind up in print, she started writing for her college paper, concocting reviews of restaurants that students could afford “with the change they found under the sofa cushions.” Bradley, a prolific artist—nary a day goes by that she doesn’t pick up a brush—remains in demand as a juror, sometimes for international exhibitions. She characterizes her work in the book as “more commercial.” Many paintings are done en plein air, although that tends to draw ever-curious crowds. She often works in the studio, from photographs. And to anyone frustrated by the medium … paint too dry, paper too wet … watercolor isn’t as prone to permanent error today. “There are new materials,” she notes, with a chuckle. “If you make a mistake, you can wash it off!” Bradley has an opening this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 4–5) at Grafica Fine Art, 7884 Big Bend Blvd., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. She’ll have books to sign, of course. Visit marilynnebradley.com.