Lester Golubovich grew up in the restaurant
business; his father, John Golubovich, owned John’s Buffet in
Soulard. But Golubovich's mentor and idol was his godfather, George
"KO" Koverly, a wrestler-turned-restaurateur who owned the Mural
Room on DeBaliviere. In the 1950s, the Mural Room was one of the
great places to go for music and dining; it was a place to see and
be seen. It was Koverly's restaurant that inspired Les Golubovich to
open The Edge.
The Edge restaurant was hidden at the corner of
Missouri and LaSalle, at the northwest edge of Lafayette Square. It
was located a block to the south and east of Jefferson and Chouteau,
behind the Mack Truck lot. Prior to opening The Edge, Golubovich
owned the entire block at Jefferson and Chouteau, and operated a bar
called The Jungle on the property. When Mack Truck came around
wanting to buy the property, he sold it to generate the cash he
needed to open his new restaurant.
The Edge opened in 1974 as a casual lunchtime bar with a steam table. Golubovich's dream was to eventually add a more formal dining room, and to do so he would need an experienced, proven partner who could run the casual side and make it a success. He turned to his long-time friend Frank Bommarito, who had many years of experience in the restaurant business, both as the maître d' at the Gallery restaurant in the Forest Park Hotel and managing the bars at Henrici’s on Lindell and Al Baker’s in Clayton.
By 1978, The Edge was an established success,
and in the summer of 1979, Golubovich and Bommarito expanded their
restaurant, reconstructing an old warehouse which was attached to the west
side of the initial space into an upscale dining room – Golubovich’s
version of his godfather's Mural Room. The Edge now offered casual
dining on its east side and gourmet fare on the west.
On August 23, 1983, Lester Golubovich died at the age of 53. After his death, it became clear that both the restaurant and his estate were in debt, and for a time, the future of The Edge was uncertain. On April 25, 1984, Frank Bommarito bought the outstanding shares of The Edge at a foreclosure sale, and he and his three sons, Terry, Jim and Joe, continued to successfully run The Edge for another 20 years.
* * * * *
The original casual side of The Edge had the
feel of a neighborhood tavern. It was fairly dark, with recessed
lights. There were mounted
turn-of-the-century posters and playbills on the walls, and a
portrait of a woman behind the bar. There were small rectangular
tables that could be set for four or pushed together for forty; the
room seated ninety-two.
The Edge's casual side became the in-spot for daytime eating and drinking, with a good cross section of the business community – primarily male – selecting their lunch from the restaurant's small steam table.
Lunch at The Edge was simple, hearty, modestly priced and in large portions. Mostaccioli
in meat sauce came with meatballs or nicely spiced Italian sausage.
There was a wide array of sandwiches, including hot dog, Polish sausage,
meatball and open faced roast beef with gravy. A satisfying tamale
was topped with chili. The Greek salad had lots of feta cheese, with
well-balanced vinegar-and-oil dressing, and there were full-meal
salads, with chicken or tuna. There was table service in addition to
the steam table line, although the latter provided a closer look at
The luncheon steam table was converted into a salad area at dinner, which began at 5 p.m. Dinner was "all you could eat" of any one of sixteen pasta dishes, which were served with salad and garlic cheese bread. Barbecued ribs were served on Friday after 5 p.m. and all day Saturday.
Green plants and stained glass decorated The
Edge's softly lit, brick walled gourmet dining room, with its
Victorian furnishings, white table linen, silver and crystal. A wood
paneled entrance led to a barroom, with marble topped tables and
cane backed chairs. The woodwork, Victorian lighting and furnishings
were obtained from old mansions in Lafayette Square and Soulard. The main dining room seated 65, and an
additional 35 places were available on weekends in a smaller
The gourmet menu offered elegant cuisine, with
beef, veal, lamb, fowl and seafood entrées.
The Edge's customers were as diverse as its
menu. There were ladies in fur coats, men in tailored suits, the
blue jean crowd and everything and anything in-between. It was a
hangout for entertainers, sports figures, politicians and cops.
Steve Perry and Journey had dinner one night on the formal side;
Eddie Money came in for lunch one day before his evening concert;
Tony Bennett and the Charlie Daniels band would come in for
barbecued ribs; Stan Musial would stand up in the middle of the dining room and play
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on his harmonica and then sign
One of The Edge’s attractions was its
remarkable bartenders, beginning with Patti Murphy, a spectacular
redhead known for her sharp repartee, double-entendre comments and
revealing clothes. When she left The Edge to open her own place,
Carol Ernst stepped behind the bar with a striking array of
shirtfronts. Customers would shower Ernst with gifts – champagne,
crystal, Rolex watches and more.
The Edge did phenomenal business; it was often difficult to get near the place. But the restaurant had
financial problems it never escaped, despite packing in lunchtime
crowds almost to its dying day. The Edge closed unexpectedly just
before Christmas of 2004, and its doors never reopened. In October
of 2011, Les Golubovich's homage to his wrestler-turned-restaurateur
godfather came crashing down.
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