Photo by J.B. Forbes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery

How can you work and loaf at the same time? Costello’s famous question might not seem so comical after a visit to this new bakery and cafe in Botanical Heights. Ted Wilson’s breads are so ethereal that they might have arrived fully formed from a higher plane of existence. In fact, Wilson and business partner Sean Netzer took several years to plan and then build out Union Loafers. The result is a great bread bakery and one of St. Louis’ most compelling lunch destinations. Brian Lagerstrom, formerly of Niche, oversees a brief menu of sandwiches — roasted pork; turkey and Swiss; a marvelous Reuben-esque creation with smoked beets — and 2016 promises an evening menu centered on pizza.

Last year's ranking: New

Opened: 2015

Must order: Smoked-beet sandwich ($10)