by Liz Miller
Tomorrow, April 26, participating St. Louis restaurants will donate a portion of their daily earnings to Dining Out For Life, a national event that benefits and raises awareness for AIDS service organizations. With a heart full of compassion and tactlessness, Gut Check wondered which restaurants were most philanthropic, and therefore most deserving of our dollar bills for this really good cause. If you will: On a scale ranging from phoning it in a la the Gap's Project Red to UNICEF volunteers nurturing sick children abroad, how dedicated were local restaurants to supporting the charity? Yeah, yeah, we know, they're all heroes just for agreeing to participate. Everyone is a winner. But who is the real winner?
It turns out the most heroic is Atomic Cowboy (4140 Manchester Avenue; 314-775-0775), which is the only restaurant in the metro area that is donating 100 percent of its lunch and dinner proceeds to Dining Out For Life. The next percentage bracket drops to 50 percent, where many noble eateries also make the list: Baileys' Range, Baileys' Chocolate Bar, Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar, Buffalo Brewing Co., La Dolce Via Bakery & Cafe, Pappy's Smokehouse, Pickles Deli, Rooster, Shameless Grounds and SqWires Inc. will all donate 50 percent of their daily proceeds.
Next is the faction that falls in the 35 percent category, with about as many participants as the 50 percent category: Chava's Mexican Restaurant, Home Wine Kitchen, Joanie's Pizzeria, Novak's Bar & Grill, Olympia Kebob House & Taverna, Spaghetteria Mamma Mia, Sub Zero Vodka Bar, Tucker's Place Soulard, Tucker's Place South and Tucker's Place West. The largest pool of participants, however, clocks in at more than 120 restaurants sharing 25 percent of their daily haul with Dining Out For Life.