Best Shoeshine - 2006
Allen Feaster, St. Francis Hotel
"I don't give shoeshines," says Allen Feaster. "I give shoe care. I'm a shoe doctor. You know what I call people who put shoe polish right on a shoe? Shoe murderers. And if you do it yourself, it's shoe-acide." Instead Feaster, proprietor of the vintage shoeshine stand off the St. Francis Hotel lobby, prepares the leather with a thorough cleaning and a healthy application of shoe cream. Then, accompanied by plenty of patter, he applies a mere suggestion of polish. After several vigorous minutes of brushing and buffing (not to mention the snipping-off of loose threads and shoelace tendrils), the result is gleaming, supple, reborn footwear that won't lose its shine for a good month or so. All this for a mere $8 (before tip). Feaster's stand features two leather-upholstered armchairs, reading material, free shoe-care advice, and snapshots of Johnny Damon, Doug Mirabelli, and other satisfied customers.