Wildwood Botanica Combines Italian Cuisine with South American Flavors | Food
Story and photos by Mabel Suen
Botanica – by Ryan Sherring of Six Mile Bridge Brewery in Maryland Heights and acclaimed chef Ben Welch – recently opened in Wildwood, showcasing a mix of new Italian and South American cuisine.
Using ingredients like fermented garlic honey, pecans, and sweet potatoes in a menu of small plate, pasta, appetizers, and romaine-style pizzas, Botanica fills the space previously occupied by Sllyce Republic Pizza.
The 13,000-square-foot restaurant, which includes two event spaces, can seat 130 people in its main dining room and another 16 in a 40-foot-long concrete bar wrapped in white oak. A patio and an outdoor dog-friendly bar can accommodate another 130 people. The modern interior features a clean design with plants throughout.
âWildwood is very nature-oriented, with a lot of beautiful state parks, and with Botanica, I wanted to bring that feeling inside in a modern, chic way,â Sherring said. âThe patio also attracted me a lot to this place. Our goal is to bring people together and create new spaces for them to come together and build good relationships.
Botanica’s comfort food menu includes entrees such as a buttermilk cookie with speck (smoked or marinated pork belly) and chili cheese, as well as a dish of slow roasted sweet potatoes with pork cheek. , candied pecans, ricotta and fermented garlic honey.
âBasically, I’m trying to showcase my Italian cooking experience while slowly introducing my Southern cuisine to St. Louis,â Welch explains. “Eventually I want to make” Lucy Quinn “- a soul food concept named after my maternal grandmother that reflects my black culinary experiences going to school in Charleston, working in New Orleans and growing up with a Mississippi family, eating what my grandmothers fed me.