Arthur Clay's (2003)
The only shuttered restaurant (its Maplewood space is now Acero) to make this list, and one I include not out of sentiment -- I never ate there -- but because my many conversations with other observers of our dining scene have revealed that it was a harbinger of what the city's best young chefs are doing today. I turn things over to Bill Burge, author of the blog STL Bites and co-leader of Slow Food St. Louis:
At a time in St. Louis when you were lucky if a restaurant changed its menu four times a year, Wentzville native Steve Scherrer opened Arthur Clay's with the idea that he'd change the menu daily. Sadly, St. Louis was not yet the market to support such a concept, but for those of us that fell in love with Scherrer's boundary-pushing flavors, we can't help but feel the new guard of St. Louis restaurants has benefited from the foundation he laid. While his creations didn't always hit the mark (tripe ravioli), dishes like roasted apple soup with peppercorn cream and berry coulis have kept those of us who were in the know back then hoping we'll one day see Scherrer take his rightful place amongst St. Louis best chefs.