the patio at bowood by niche in the central west end photo by greg rannells

2022 Best New Restaurants // No. 5 Bowood by Niche

The challenge – and opportunity – of the restaurant space attached to aspirational garden store Bowood Farms is crafting a dining experience that matches the shop’s upscale-yet-cozy, au naturel vibe. Niche Food Group’s Bowood by Niche strikes just the right note with a superlative brunch program and a vegetable-forward dinner menu focused on locally sourced, seasonally available ingredients. Here, the category is familiar with enough of a twist to take you “one step outside your comfort zone,” executive chef Dakota Williams said.

the dining room at bowood by niche // photo by greg rannells

You can’t go wrong with the burger, taken up a notch with pickled shallot and caramelized onion aioli, or the comforting roast chicken served with grain porridge and local vegetables with a lemon-rosemary jus. We particularly enjoyed the Fall Forward pizza: local butternut squash and mozzarella are topped with purple sage lending pungent herbaceousness, and finished with a spicy drizzle of unctuous Perennial Artisan Ales chile crunch. The cocktails are pleasant with some fun seasonal offerings, such as the spiced pear gimlet, which tastes like autumn in a glass.

fall forward pizza at bowood by niche // photo by greg rannells

Pastry chef Suji Shaw’s show-stealing desserts are the perfect way to end your meal. The hearty Dia’s rice pudding, served warm in an adorable mini Dutch oven, is ambrosial with caramelized dulce de leche. (The mini Dutch oven also puts in an appearance at brunch, where it helps put the exceedingly delicious baked oatmeal with brown sugar, cultured butter and three kinds of fruit – roasted, dried and jammed – over the top.) The toppings vary seasonally, but the iteration with butternut squash sous vide with rosemary caramel was almost savory, perfect for when you want something that’s not too cloying. The sweet, rich panna cotta is silky-smooth with a hint of tang thanks to the addition of mascarpone and studded with crunchy puffed buckwheat for an impeccable textural contrast.

panna cotta at bowood by niche // photo by greg rannells

A pizza oven was recently added to the patio, and a wood-fired grill should be installed within a month or so, making way for a whole new range of grilled items to be added to the menu. In the future, the staff hopes to ramp up the to-go breakfast pastry and coffee offerings and to eventually be open seven days a week.

Bowood by Niche, 4605 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.454.6868,