from left, sunday best owner john perkins and kitchen manager pat skiersch photo by mabel suen

Sunday Best, formerly Juniper, has closed in the Central West End of St. Louis

The attempted pivot of a longtime Central West End restaurant has ended in defeat — for now.

Chef-owner John Perkins announced by email that Sunday Best at 4101 Laclede Ave. has closed, effective immediately. "Friends, sunday best at 4101 laclede is no more," he wrote. "We are closed. for good."

However, Perkins suggested that the concept — a fried chicken-focused pivot from Perkins' original restaurant at the same location, Juniper — is not done. "Sunday Best is not dead," he wrote. "Not by any stretch. We just inaugurated our stay at CityPark - and we will be there all season. So, if you need a fix, you know where to find us. But for now, we are shrinking. licking our wounds. and deciding how we are going to grow into what Sunday Best is going to become."  

Perkins opened Sunday Best in August, a reboot from Juniper's stylish, server-oriented Southern food to something a bit more casual.

But doing such a different restaurant in the same location, he writes in the email, proved difficult.

"It has been apparent for some time that things needed to change, most likely a different venue," he writes. "The ghost of Juniper has played an outsized role in what Sunday Best was, and I understand the why of it. Rebranding is a tricky thing. I gave it the old college try. There were a lot of things working against us to make it all work, and I knew it when we opened."

But even if the writing was on the wall for awhile for Perkins, for people who loved Perkins' fried chicken and Southern-inflected cuisine, the closure is indeed a difficult blow. There is some consolation, though: We'll always have CityPark Stadium. And hey, it sounds like Perkins is laser-focused on Version 3.0, too. Maybe good news will still be coming.

This article was originally published by the Riverfront Times.