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I joined my friend Mary today at 1111 Mississippi, a common haunt of ours. Considered one of the finest St. Louis restaurants, it was in quite a tizzy today over this review in the local Riverfront Times newspaper.

Apparently one of the owners, Paul, was so aggravated by this less-than-stellar review that he tossed a large pile of Riverfront Times papers into the trash and declared that any suspected Riverfront Times restaurant reviewer would be banned from the premises. Of course, that assumes knowing just who they are in person, and I got the sense from one of the waiters – who related this tale with great gusto – that their identity was suspected but not assured.

So has the restaurant gone down hill? Not at lunchtime anyway, as the food was as fine as ever, but word is indeed about that the evening meal is not what it was. It was striking that the restaurant was barely half full today – in times past, lunchtime would be packed.

I suspect the decline in business has more to do with the failing economy than anything else. People are not eating out like they used to. Expendable cash is simply drying up.

Nevermind. I ordered a simple hamburger with coleslaw today because that was all I was in the mood for, and got a lot more than I had bargained for. The largest sirloin hamburger I have ever seen arrived on my plate, with a large bun that barely covered its center.

It was perfect. I ate the whole thing, mentally rejecting my evening meal after this monster, and emerged from the restaurant totally satiated and very content. 1111 is fine by me.