First an old farmhouse was converted into a gift shop in 2003, then Sybill’s Saint James was built on the property in 2006. The fine-dining restaurant and accompanying gift shop are owned by Tom and Janet Scheffer and their daughter Sybill Scheffer.

The two-story restaurant features a wrap-around porch and four dining spaces. Three are inside on the first floor and one outdoors in a peaceful setting. Since there are multiple dining areas, there is plenty of room for social distancing with seating for around one hundred people, and takeout is available, too. The eye-catching artwork that lines the wall is for sale.

“It’s not uncommon for someone to have dinner and walk out with a painting, because you can sit there and enjoy it and then you realize, ‘Ah, I want that in my house,’ ” Sybill says.

Filet-stuffed shrimp

In addition, the charming gift shop also has seasonal decor, jewelry, and an array of other Missouri-made products and gifts.

At the restaurant, the food is made fresh daily, including the seafood that is offered once a week. When they can get their hands on fresh swordfish, it is a customer favorite. It is served in a shrimp and scallop cream sauce with extra pan-seared sea scallops on the side. The hand-cut, certified Angus steaks and specialty salads are also popular options. The bacon-wrapped maple Dijon scallops are a highly recommended appetizer.

If you save room for dessert, the brownie bottom cheesecake tastes as good as it looks, or opt for one of the dessert cocktails.

Coconut Cream Pie

Although the food is delicious and unlike anything else you can find in St. James—a town of less than five thousand people—it’s the service and attention to detail that keep people returning.

“We pride ourselves on having great service just as much as we focus on having great food,” Sybill says. “I feel like service is an art form and we try to really put an emphasis there as well as ambience.”

Chicken & Prosciutto Tortellini

The consistency that Sybill’s constantly strives for shines through in customers’ reviews and comments. Sybill’s Saint James is a restaurant that people bring visiting family and friends to when they want to show what Missouri has to offer.

“They know what kind of experience they’re going to get here every time,” Sybill says.

Open Tuesdays–Saturdays 11 AM–9 PM • The Gift Shop is open Tuesdays–Wednesdays 9 AM–4 PM and Thursdays–Saturdays 9 AM–8 PM • 1100 North Jefferson Street, St. James • 573-265-4224 •

Photos // Sybill’s Saint James

Article originally published in the Octiber 2020 issue of Missouri Life.