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J. McArthur's

J. McArthur's (3500 Watson Road) on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 in St. Louis. Photo by Huy Mach,

Lindenwood Park restaurant J McArthur's will close at the end of service Saturday (Dec. 31), owners John McArthur and Kathleen Bibbins announced Wednesday. The couple will continue to own the property at 3500 Watson Road, and a new concept from Robust Wine Bar owners Stanley and Arlene Browne will take over the space.

J McArthur's opened in July 2015 with McArthur's son, Ben, as the chef. I awarded it 3 stars in a November 2015 review and ranked it No. 3 in my list of 2015's best new restaurants.

Ben McArthur left the restaurant in August of this year, and William Volny of Bixby's at the Missouri History Museum took over as chef. Bibbins tells Off the Menu that the decision to close has nothing to do with Volny, whom she calls an "awesome chef."

"Our whole approach was to create a place for Ben to showcase his talents," Bibbins says. "John and I aren't restaurateurs, though we embraced it. With Ben gone, it didn't have the same feeling for us."

McArthur and Bibbins are also partners in Robust, so when they decided to make a change at J McArthur's, Bibbins says the Brownes were the first people they contacted.

"We're excited and sad at the same time," Bibbins says.

Bibbins declined to discuss the specifics of the new concept. Off the Menu was not immediately able to reach the Brownes for comment. More as we learn it.

Ian Froeb is the restaurant critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.