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St. Louis-area craft brewer to open Italian restaurant, Botanica, in Wildwood

Chef Ben Welch’s menu focuses on Italian dishes "prepared with a touch of the American South"

ST. LOUIS — The owner of a Maryland Heights-based brewery plans to open an Italian restaurant in Wildwood this fall.

Ryan Sherring, owner of Six Mile Bridge Brewery, is working with an undisclosed partner to open Botanica at 2490 Taylor Road in Dierbergs Town Center in September, he announced Monday. The space, formerly a location of Llywelyn's Pub and later its Sllyce Republic Pizza, is being leased from Dierbergs Wildwood LLC, an entity affiliated with Dierbergs Markets.

Chef Ben Welch will be Botanica's executive chef, according to a release. Welch most recently was executive chef at The Midwestern Meat and Drink and was formerly chef/owner of Big Baby Q barbecue restaurant. Six Mile had announced earlier this month that Welch would be Six Mile's executive chef and had worked with Stephen Kovac to develop a new menu there. Welch will retain his post at Six Mile and is developing Botanica's menu, where he will be on site when it opens, according to a spokeswoman.

Welch’s menu focuses on Italian dishes "prepared with a touch of the American South," with ingredients such as Cajun spice, candied pecans and sweet potato, officials said. The new restaurant will include 12 mainstay beers on tap with rotating seasonal styles from Six Mile Bridge Brewery, craft cocktails and a wine program.

Offerings will include "unconventional" spins on Italian dishes, with starters such as sourdough with whipped lardo, and crab zeppoles with cocktail sauce. Main courses will include tagliatelle with pork neck ragu; mortadella pizza and sweet potato pizza; and steakburgers with tomato agrodolce.

“My goal for Botanica is to explore the marriage of traditional ingredients and recipes from two of the world’s best food cultures: Italian and the Southern United States. You’ll find little touches of Southern cooking on the menu with the ingredients featured on pizzas, pastas, and more. The dishes will change seasonally, but my signature gnocchi will always be on the menu," Welch said in a statement.

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