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Blue Sky Tower Grill: Home of the Ten Ounce Martini

Blue Sky Tower Grill, a new restaurant in University Club Tower, brings an eclectic menu and great happy hour specials to Richmond Heights.

, a chic new addition to the University Club Tower building opened this past summer. It is the sister restaurant to  in O'Fallon, MO. Here, business people steal moments away from work for a quick bite, while others meet for a working lunch. Of course, a friendly and leisurely lunch or dinner, or a drink at happy hour with friends, is great, too.

The restaurant's dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows brighten the crimson decor inside the Blue Sky Tower Grill, and it maintains a comfortable, relaxed and elegant atmosphere. Various seating arrangements allow for different types of meetings. The Sky Box, located on the mezzanine level above the bar, creates a semi-private area that's great for small parties and get-togethers such as showers, rehearsal dinners and business meetings.

The large windows give way to a striking view, and at the right time of day, you can see the sunset. On the lobby level are bar-height tables, private booths and a few tables of regular height surrounding the fully stocked bar.

The menu, especially for dinner, is eclectic. Choices include coffee-rubbed strip steak and ancho pepper chicken. The 12-ounce angus steak is rolled in coffee grounds, pan seared and topped with a Kentucky bourbon glaze. For those unfamiliar with the practice of rubbing steak in coffee, it creates a rich and smoky flavor. The chicken is grilled and served with a multi-dimentional ancho sauce and wild rice.

I had the opportunity to dine with , president of the Richmond Heights Chamber of Commerce; Mark Mueller, Chamber vice president and an area lawyer; and Derek Main, a financial adviser at , as well as an entrepreneur and mentor.

The prices for lunch were very reasonable: a business lunch for four, including a shared appetizer, was close to $50 without alcohol. Croghan raves about the food created by Bill and Patti Hildebrand, owners of Blue Sky Tower Grill. The couple also have catered events for the Chamber.

Lunch included a sliders appetizer: four beef brisket sliders with spicy barbecue sauce and fried onion straws. The barbecue sauce was well-balanced and restrained. It was not overly sweet or annoyingly spicy, making it easy to eat. The manager informed us that it is Patti Hildebrand's grandmother's family recipe.

For an entree, I chose the avocado chicken club: a grilled chicken breast with sugar maple and peppered bacon, Swiss cheese and avocado mayonnaise on a bun. I received a slice of avocado and not avocado mayonnaise—perhaps a comma is missing from the menu description. But I preferred the slice of avocado. The chicken was properly cooked and juicy. The bacon, a critical flavor component, was not sickeningly sweet and the pepper was subdued but flavorful, creating a balanced dish.

Two of my companions ordered the Big Ass Fish Sandwich, which was quite large. It is a single whitefish filet approximately 10 inches long that is battered and served with housemade tartar sauce. Despite the generous portion, both of my companions worked to finish their sandwiches.

Like the onion straws in the appetizer, the fried fish was light and not oily. Main ordered a buffalo chicken wrap, which includes a huge portion of grilled chicken tossed in buffalo sauce with mixed greens, red onions, pepperjack cheese and blue cheese dressing. All of the entrees were served with fries, coleslaw or cottage cheese. The crispy fries were served in cute kitchen measuring cups, making them extra appealing.

The drink menus and specials are just as exciting, if not moreso. Blue Sky Tower Grill claims to be "the home of the 10 ounce martini." And with names such as Dirty CEO (Titos vodka, a splash of dry vermouth and olive juice) and Silk Stocking (Pearl cucumber vodka, elderflower liqueur and fresh-squeezed lemon juice), how can one resist? The happy hours and drink specials provide a great opportunity to try their hand-crafted beers, half-priced bottles of wine (with dinner), $5 martinis and other discounts on appetizers and pizza.

There are enough curious and interesting items on the menu to keep people coming back for more.

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