Wednesday, March 4, 2009

St. Louis-style Pizza, and why I no longer eat St. Louis-style pizza

Chicago has its deep dish, New York pies are so famous, the even the Ninja Turtles were obsessed. How does St. Louis compare?

That's right, on a day in which people are freaking out that an airplane has been detailed with a picture of Bar Rafaeli in a swimsuit, Iran makes comments about being able to hit Israeli nuclear sites and try Israelis for war crimes, The St. Lou Jew brings you the all important question of St. Louis pizza.

First off, let's discount kosher pizza. It sucks everywhere (excluding perhaps, NYC and IL, which don't count anyways). Its a fact. Where is the prohibition against things tasting good in the Talmud? I can't recall a commandment that says, "thou shalt not add flavor." Seriously, Rabbis, if you want people to keep kosher, find a way to get kosher food tasting better and cost less.--end kosher food rant.

Ok, now that we settled that, what about the St. Louis pizza staples? The first that comes to mind is Imo's. Imo's pizza might be described as tomato paste on a cracker covered with cheese, but that may be too generous. The cheese is a particular varietal known as provel. If you just clicked that link (to Wikipedia) you'll see that provel is a uniquely St. Louis cheese. People don't know about it elsewhere. And for good reason. Whereas other St. Louis staples, like toasted ravioli, have some redeeming value, provel-based pizza does not.

This does not mean that it is impossible to get good pizza in STL, it just means you have to know where to look.

Pi, a green gourmet pizza parlor on the Loop, provides really interesting and tasty pizza. Bonus points for being environmentally friendly, to the extent of only serving beer on draft (to reduce waste).

Then there is Blackthorn Pub, located near the South Grand area. This little place is the best pizza you can get with a legitimate St. Louis atmosphere. The pizzas take a while, so it often makes sense to call ahead.

Finally, as a Cincinnati boy, I have to show love for Dewey's. The small chain, based out of Natiland, and locally located on Delmar between 170 and the Loop makes gourmet pizzas right. With interesting toppings and a crust almost like a pastry, Dewey's is a place to get a pie.

I'll be the first to admit, though, that I haven't tried every slice in the city, so fill me in, what am I missing out on?

6 comments:

Michael Sweeney said...

The Good Pie makes pretty good Neapolitan style pizza. It's right across the street from Pappy's and Buffalo Brewing.

erica said...

Pizza-a-go-go on Scanlan. I have no words to describe how good it is. Go see for yourself.

LC said...

An older (maybe not wiser) friend once told me, "you will never understand the eighties even though you are a product of the eighties."

And now I'm telling you, you will never understand the square beyond compare even though you are living in St. Louis. Imo's is awesome. The end. :)

Dave said...

I agree that provel cheese sucks...big time (unless you like the feeling of melted plastic sticking to the backs of your teeth), however, if you want a delicious version of St. Louis thin crust pizza check out Cafe Manhattan in Clayton and make sure to ask for mozzerella instead of provel.

One more note..."toasted ravioli MAY have redeeming qualities"? Toasted ravioli DEFINTILY has redeeming qualities in that it is delicious.

Dave said...

I agree that provel cheese sucks...big time (unless you like the feeling of melted plastic sticking to the backs of your teeth), however, if you want a delicious version of St. Louis thin crust pizza check out Cafe Manhattan in Clayton and make sure to ask for mozzerella instead of provel.

One more note..."toasted ravioli MAY have redeeming qualities"? Toasted ravioli DEFINTILY has redeeming qualities in that it is delicious.

M said...

As the arrogant son of two new jersey'ans, I feel obligated to recommend the only couple of pizza places that make palatable pizza--if you're a pizza snob, like me.

1. Ferraro's. Hole in the wall place in Soulard. You know they're the real deal since they don't advertise being a NY-pizza place, but rather a new jersey pizza place. If you're an east-coast pizza snob, this is by far your best bet in the good ole' STL.

2. Raccanelli's*. More of a NY-style place. *Very streaky. Sometimes I eat their pizza and can't believe I'm in St. Louis; other times, I can't help but think I've accidentally ordered Imo's.

3. Il Vicino in Clayton. Best wood-fire pizza I've had in the STL. It's like The Good Pie, but cheaper, simpler, and well.. better! They also typically have one "home-brew" on tap as well, an added bonus.

I thought I had tried most every pizza in St. Louis on my quest to find a decent NY pizza, but haven't heard of Pizza-a-go-go. Will have to try it out!