Botanica Has Closed in Wildwood

The restaurant, from the owners of Six Mile Bridge Beer, served its last guests this past Sunday

Botanica has served its last guests. - Phuong Bui
Phuong Bui
Botanica has served its last guests.

A once promising light in Wildwood's dining scene has gone dark. Botanica (2490 Taylor Road, Wildwood; 636-821-1233), the stylish restaurant and bar from the team behind Six Mile Bridge Beer, has closed. The restaurant served its last guests this past Sunday.

The restaurant announced the news on its social media accounts Monday afternoon, citing two main reasons for its closure.

"Unfortunately, economic headwinds combined with chronic staffing shortages prevented us from achieving the goals we had dreamed of and ultimately forced our hand to close the business," a post on the restaurant's Facebook page reads.

Ryan and Lindsay Sherring opened Botanica last October in the former Wildwood location of Llywellyn's Pub in the hopes of becoming a neighborhood gathering place that could appeal to those looking for a romantic date night, as well as to families wanting a come-as-you-are spot for weeknight pizza, and everyone in between. They started out with great promise, converting the formerly dark pub into a sleek, light-filled dining room and assembling a dream bar team anchored by the well-regarded former Salt + Smoke beverage director Chris Figeroa.

However, the Sherrings signaled they meant business by bringing on Ben Welch as Botanica's executive chef. Welch, who made his name at his now shuttered Maryland Heights  Smokehouse Big Baby Q and later as executive chef at the Midwestern, saw Botanica as his chance to finally tease out his ideas for a more Southern-inflected upscale dining concept. This, combined with the Sherrings' desire to offer creative pizzas and an Italian-inflected menu, resulted in unique fusion fare such as a sweet potato pizza with speck, gorgonzola and candied pecans, as well as fried catfish with eggplant parmesan and spicy tartar sauce.

Their daring culinary style paid off, resulting in a James Beard Foundation Award nomination for Best Chef: Midwest for Welch this past spring. However, not long after the nod, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Welch had quietly departed Botanica at the beginning of the year, before the nomination came out.

The RFT has reached out to Botanica and will update this article as more information becomes available. In the meantime, the restaurant's full announcement is below.

"With a heavy heart, we announce that Botanica is closed for service, effective immediately. We want to thank our loyal customers for their patronage. It has truly been our joy to serve you. Unfortunately, economic headwinds combined with chronic staffing shortages prevented us from achieving the goals we had dreamed of and ultimately forced our hand to close the business."

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About The Author

Cheryl Baehr

Cheryl Baehr is the dining editor and restaurant critic for the Riverfront Times and an international woman of mystery. Follow her on the socials at @cherylabaehr
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