Ann Lemons Pollack, a noted food writer and restaurant critic, died Wednesday from injuries sustained in a fall at her home in Clayton. She was 76.
Spending almost 30 years writing about the St. Louis dining environment, Pollack was a well-known guest at most local eateries.
Those meals provided her with enough material to write two books about local eating landmarks: “Lost Restaurants of St. Louis” and “Iconic Restaurants of St. Louis.”
She also wrote three guide books about local restaurants with her late husband, longtime Post-Dispatch critic Joe Pollack.
Ann Lemons Pollack was born July 14, 1945, in St. Francois County, Missouri, the daughter of two school teachers from Flat River.
Her son, Terry Lemons, noted that her first profession was that of a nurse.
“She put herself through Mineral Area College, got an associate’s degree and then became a registered nurse —all while being a single mom and raising two kids,” said Terry Lemons.
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“Few people I know could’ve pulled all that together, building a career and raising two children,” he said.
Moving to St. Louis in 1974, she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Louis University.
“She was always proud of that fact. And no matter what else she did (in life), she always spoke highly, and often, of the sisterhood of nurses,” her son said.
While working as a nurse, Pollack began traveling and writing food stories for Menu, a New Orleans publication. Her stories drew the attention of the higher-ups at St. Louis Dining, for whom she began writing in 1984.
While covering the restaurant beat for St. Louis Dining, she met Joe Pollack and the two were married in 1994. He died in 2012.
She was a board member of the St. Louis Media History Foundation. Foundation president Frank Absher noted that he always enjoyed “just being around her.”
“She could tell great stories, and she could tell them for hours,” Absher said.
Pollack’s son was in agreement on that point. “I think if there was one thing my mom liked more than food, it was talking,” he said with a laugh.
Terry Lemons said that a memorial service likely will be held this summer.
“She and Joe’s family were very close, but they’re spread out from Norway to Arizona. So we’ll get everyone together later,” he said.
Along with her son, who lives in Virginia, she is survived by a daughter, Jennifer Lemons of Georgia, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.