My first visit to Gian-Peppe's - wasn't. My beau, accustomed to the hurly-burly of Boston, felt that in St. Louis one surely wouldn't need reservations at a restaurant, even one who'd recently been reviewed with considerable relish by a certain food critic of the Post-Dispatch. We waited until he, embarrassed, confessed to being too hungry to wait another half-hour. I don't recall where we went instead.
But life changed, of course; it always does. I got to know it much better a decade later when I married that selfsame critic. When I left there after the first real visit, a quote from Robert Morley came to mind. "No man can be lonely while eating spaghetti." Despite its formal air, there was a warmth that was quite real.