Best Pizza in St. Louis

Jun 6th, 2004, 07:34 AM
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Best Pizza in St. Louis

Hello!

I am heading to St. Louis next weekend and I keep reading about St. Louis pizza. Where is the best St. Louis pizza. Some websites refer to Imo's and Elicia's.
enjoylife is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 11:19 AM
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I love great pizza. I have been spoiled by the great options in Chicago. St. Louis has nothing in the way of great pizza...that is, national caliber memorable pies.
Imo's is often recommended.
Nothing wrong with it, but it's very ordinary IMO.
Maybe someone knows a non-chain local joint I'm not familiar.
But I can't offer any great recommendations.
TedTurner is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 12:33 PM
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I know native St. Louisans think this is blasphemy, but St. Louis pizza is horrible. A local newspaper writer once said, "To say that St. Louis pizza is like Velveeta on a cracker is an insult to Velveeta and crackers." I couldn't agree more.

St. Louis style pizza is very thin crust (which I love) with something called provel cheese on it. Provel is to provelone what Velveeta is to cheddar. So, if you like processed, slimey, tasteless cheese that sticks to your teeth, you'll like StL pizza.

Imo's uses all provel, Elicia's uses half provel, half mozzerella. The only decent pizza I have had here is from national chains: Uno's, Pizza Hut, etc. I wish they had Donato's here - now that's great pizza.

The Black Thorn Pub has pretty good pizza. The original one is in the South Grand neighborhood - which has much better restuarants than Black Thorn (King and I for Thai, Pho Grand for Vietnamese) but if you want pizza, it's good.

There is a lot of great food here. I love pork steaks and toasted ravioli, and Ted Drewes frozen custard is good, the atmosphere and tradition make it great. You'll find toasted rav at most restaurants and bars, pork steaks are hard to find at restaurants, but you'll find them at most backyard barbecues!

Let me know what neighborhhods/areas you'll be in and I can narrow it down more. You'll find much better pasta in StL than pizza. Go to the Hill!
EricaS is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 05:06 PM
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Erica,
That is what I always call it - cheese on a cracker. I live in St. Louis, and the pizza is dreadful.

One place everyone talks about is - Cicero's. It is in the trendy loop area. It is a fun place to walk around and people watch, eclectic shops, good restaurants, etc...
anothr area to consider for pizza is The Hill. It is an Italian area which has endless fabulous restaurants. Most any one of them should have decent pizza.
Have fun!!!
annesherrod is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 08:16 PM
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I remember stopping for the night in St. Louis with friends, and ordering a pizza to our hotel room. When it arrived, we paid for it without opening the box. When we DID open it, one of my friends said, "This is pizza nachos!"
ChristieP is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 09:54 PM
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This is a crying shame! I grew up in St. Louis and we used to have the most delicious pizza. All the little places we went to are gone now, but I can't believe the pizza itself has gotten so bad! There was a place in the Loop called Rinaldi's I think, and so many others.
Marilyn is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 10:44 PM
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You may want to try Vito's, 3515 Lindell near St. Louis U., Black Thorn, 3735 Wyoming in the Grand South Grand neighborhood, Fortel's 7922 Mackenzie Road in Affton (south county - but has other locations) Racanelli's, 6655 Delmar in the U. City Loop and a couple of other locations if you want really good pizza.

I also didn't understand the lure of Imo's until I had it off and on for a few years but "dreadful"? Yes, they use provel cheese and it is VERY creamy, and the crust is super thin. However St. Louis is a city with a definite Italian lineage and with Imo's having 93 locations in the St. Louis area - also spreading into outstate Missouri including Kansas City MO, and Kansas City KS, and southern and central Illinois (I went to their website and counted), you can just dismiss that if you want - but 93 locations!!! ? they are obviously making a product that is making a lot of people happy! Personal preferences may cause one to use the term "dreadful" but there are many who would use the term "delicious."

I was in New York week before last and went to Grimaldi's in Brooklyn on a Sunday - pizza there is always recommended on the NY board and was meeting my daughter who lives in Elizabeth NJ - really wanted to have pizza ther but they were closed because of air-conditioning problems. But had a good pizza at John's on lower west side.

And Chicago! I've had great pizza there, but Pizzaria Uno - don't get it. If you like lots of grease from the cheese combined with lots of grease from the sausage, pepperoni, then go for it. (BTW - I think I did - but I'm one who thinks there are very few bad pizzas.)

In St. Louis, my personal preference is Fortel's (Affton location is great). They also have a location in Kirkwood and Fairview Heights, IL. Also, Vito's has a very thrifty lunch buffet - for St. Louis U. students - and others.

Also, some pizzarias in STL that use provel have a notation on the menu that mozzarella cheese will be used on request.
ziggy is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 04:05 AM
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Just have to respond to Ziggy. How many locations does McDonalds have? KFC? Taco Bell? I really don't think having a lot of franchise locations has anything to do with quality or good tasting food.

I know tons of people who love Imo's and provel - all of them are native St. Louisans. I grew up in Cincinnati and would , at times, give my left arm for Skyline Chili. Growing up with something makes a big difference.

But please do not say that provel has anything to do with St. Louis' Italian heritage! I don't know one self-respecting Italian-American who will claim provel as Italian!

I stand by my claim that Imo's is awful, in my opinion. I'll eat most anything, but won't touch provel cheese.
EricaS is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 04:23 AM
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I really hesitate to recommend a place, because, as you can see - St. Louis style pizza is an acquired taste, and not everyone acquires it. There's a very strong possibility that no matter where is recommended, if it really IS St. Louis style, that you aren't going to care for it. This just based on reactions I'd seen from out of town guests.

In that St. Louis has a large Italian population and some of the best "other" Italian food anywhere, I guess the pizza style had to come from somewhere.

No that I did my disclaimer. Personally, I don't like Imos. They just do their crust a little too dry and crispy for me. I always went to a like a little place out in St. Charles called Saullo's, since I was young. But closer into the city, I agree with ziggy (who explained the style very well), and would pick Fortels.

On top of what ziggy said, look for a pizza cut in squares, not slices. Authentic STL pizza is always in squares. Chances are that the pizza will be kinda round, kinda square. No consistant shape at all really.
Clifton is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 04:25 AM
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Actually, it may not even be an acquired taste. I think you may have to be born with it.
Clifton is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 05:21 AM
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Racanelli's, no question.
alex is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 07:56 AM
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I live in St. Louis (born and raised) and I have to agree that St. Louis-style pizza is, at least in my opinion, awful. St. Louisans definitely have a love-hate relationship with Imo's. Either you love it or you hate it. There are people in my office that have it delivered about once a week and love it. I can barely even stand the smell of it. But its obviously very popular around here and may be worth a try if you like this type of pizza.

That being said, there are some great pizza places around St. Louis. A few of my favorites are Guido's, which is on the hill. Another is Il Vicino, in Clayton. Both have good pizza that is not "St. Louis-style". Talayna's, a chain here in St. Louis, also makes decent pizza.
tcreath is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 09:52 AM
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I agree Racanelli's has delicious pizza. It is New York style pizza though. Like it or not, Imo's would be considered St. Louis style pizza. Not only does Imos have provel cheese and extremely thin crust, but it is cut in little squares instead of triangular slices. It is unique to St. Louis.
I have two comments to make on this discussion in general.
First, most ethnic food in the United States has been modified to American tastes. To say that Imo's pizza isn't Italian is true. But then most pizza in America can't be duplicated in Italy any more than Chinese food in America looks or tastes anything like the food eaten in China. You will find toasted ravioli on many Italian restaurant menus in St. Louis. It is not Italian. You will find something called crab rangoon on many Chinese restaurant menus in St. Louis. It is not Chinese. Both are St. Louis inventions.
Second, when I visit different parts of the US and beyond, I look for the foods unique to that area. Many are different versions of familiar items. Some are unique items unavailable anywhere else. From these experiences I have found foods I miss and some I live happily without, but I am always glad that I tried.
St. Louis style pizza is Imo's. Is it good? Is it an aquired taste? Why don't you try and decide for yourself. Either way, its what makes travel fun.
WendyLynn is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 01:42 PM
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WendyLynn, you are absolutely correct - I thought the original poster was asking for recommendations of where to eat pizza in St. Louis but upon closer reading, they are asking about St. Louis style pizza. I am originally from NY so Racanelli's is where I always go when I am in St. Louis - it is definitely NY style and Imo's is what I think most people would consider St. Louis style.
alex is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 04:47 PM
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See? Now I'd agree if you said Imo's was St. Louis style pizza but not if you said St. Louis style pizza was Imo's. The basic logistics are the same: cheese type, crust depth, square cut. But not all St. Louis style pizza is wafer crispy. I've had it at a number of places where it's soft enough to roll a slice up without cracking. The best STL style crust has air pockets. Much lighter on the provel than Imo's does it but with more parmasan. And really, provel isn't anything more than provelone with a little cheddar and swiss thrown in (I know, I know...)

Mind you, I'm not saying it's a gourmet dinner, but Imo's hardly represents the style best.

Clifton is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 07:04 PM
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HI EricaS, I couldn't agree more re: your comment on franchise locations< just because there are a ton of Domino's pizzerias around the world certainly has nothing to do with quality or good tasting food.( I personally can't stand that either,sorry.)
Imo's certtainly is a love/hat thing in this town. Out of five of us in my family only one likes Imo's.

Again, there are a number of restauarants on the hill which serve St. louis style pizza. I have been told that Lou Baccardi's is great....
annesherrod is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 09:23 PM
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Okay, you have convinced me to skip the pizza. What should I have, other than lots of frozen custard at Ted Drewes?
enjoylife is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 03:52 AM
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Sorry to have put you off St. Louis pizza. But there are lots of good things to eat here. If you have a car, and I assume you do since you're going to Ted Drewes, you should eat at least once on the Hill. Once again I will utter StL heresy by saying that Cunetto's (the most popular restaurant on the Hill) is terribly overrated - long wait, mediocre food. Here are my suggestions:

Rigazzi's - cheap, fun, loud, family-style spaghetti house

Lorenzo's Trattoria - a little more modern than other Hill places, good food, good service, laid back, decent prices

Dominic's - very elegant, very expensive

Or go to South Grand for Asian food. Or Peublo Solis for good Mexican food (in south city). Or Chuy's for good Tex-Mex (in Dogtown). Or Blueberry Hill for good burgers and great atmosphere (in the Loop).

I can give you specifics if you want, just let me know what interests you.
EricaS is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 04:39 AM
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Favorite is Favazzas on the Hill for sort of "mid-level" Italian. Rigazzi's is ok, but haven't eaten there in a long while. One of those, once you've been in the kitchen things...

Clifton is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 05:37 AM
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Its hard to go wrong with the many wonderful restaurant in Clayton. Remy's is our favorite. We also enjoy Figarro's, Barcelona, Almond's. The restaurants in the University City loop (on Delmar Blvd) offer an ethnic mix. Blueberry Hill is a classic for burgers and such and has outdoor dining for interesting people watching. New to that area is Mirasol where we recently had a great meal (latin fusion cuisine?)
I wouldn't skip the pizza. I would try one and let us know what you think!

ziggy, I haven't tried Vito's yet but last weekend they were at Taste of the West End and their pizza'a looked wonderful!

Clifton, your descriptions of St. Louis pizza variations was intriguing. Where would you suggest for a soft thin, parmesan added, air pocket pizza? I am up for a cultural adventure. My kids are native St. Louisians, they need to be exposed to these things
WendyLynn is offline  

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