Restaurant owners felt the love on Valentine’s Day in St. Louis

Through all the setbacks from the pandemic, two St. Louis County restaurants had an uptick in business as people dined out to celebrate their love.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A candlelit dinner, flowers and champagne must mean it’s that time of year.

Andrew Hargas, the General Manager of Le Meridien Hotel in Clayton says this Valentine’s Day was much different than the last at the Café la Vie restaurant.

“We had just opened this hotel and indoor dining had been closed for a period of time and we just had opened back up, so that Valentine’s Day last year was really our first introduction into the market,” Hargas said.

Hargas focused on employee retention and making sure they had enough staff to care for their guests.

They’ve had about 100 reservations each night since Friday.

“Now, we have a full staff on board we have a full prefixed menu that we’re offering that’s really varied around different destinations around France that are great for honeymooning,” Hargas said.

30 minutes away in Wildwood, the modern Italian-American restaurant Botanica is usually closed on Mondays. 

Owner Ryan Sherring opened its doors just for this occasion.

“We’re going to do reservations only, it’s a four course dinner with paid drinks,” Sherring said.

He opened Botanica in October, dealing with many of the same challenges restaurants faced all over the nation during the pandemic.

“We’ve struggled to get staff. We’ve seen prices increase on labor, on cost of goods sold but it’s been interesting, but we’re doing okay,” Sherring said.

He says the last two weekends have been their busiest yet. He’s hoping it’s a promising sign of what’s to come.

“I know that we just kind of come off the back of this Omicron virus and these spikes are coming down and I think that people are getting a little bit more comfortable going out,” Sherring said.

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