The Great (Pizza) Debate

Tuesday June 7, 2011

The Great (Pizza) Debate - A slice of pizza from America's Incredible Pizza Company in St. LouisSome swear by New York and others insist on Chicago – but all bets are off here because St. Louis has a style all its own. Native St. Louisans were raised on pies featuring a cracker-thin crust, sweet tomato sauce and topped with provel. No, not provolone – provel. This processed blend of cheddar, Swiss and provolone is what makes the Gateway City’s pizza taste like no other.

Popular local delivery chains like Imo’s Pizza and Elicia’s Pizza and Wings Delivery specialize in bringing the St. Louis-style pies to your door, with both offering delivery to downtown hotels. Traditionalists can also get their favorite style delivered, thanks to a downtown location of Papa John’s Pizza.

Cicero’s Restaurant in The Loop offers the best of both worlds (can’t we all just get along?), with mozzarella on its thick crust pizzas and provel on the thin crust versions. Joanie’s Pizzeria in Soulard serves up thin crust pies that include such specialties as the Franco’s Cajun Pride and Buffalo Chicken pizzas. On The Hill, Rigazzi’s St. Louis style was recognized as one of the best pizzas in the U.S. by Bon Appétit Magazine (mozzarella available upon request), with neighboring Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas letting diners choose their cheese.

If your kids insist on having a side order of activity with your pie, then America’s Incredible Pizza Company is the place. There are two – count ‘em two – locations in the region, and they’re guaranteed to have enough activities to help the wee ones work up a big appetite.

But there’s a new kind of pizza in St. Louis, thanks to a unique crust and the endorsement of a world leader. Pi Pizzeria captured the heart – and taste buds – of President Barack Obama, who first tried Pi’s pies while in town for a campaign stop. The Commander in Chief was so taken with the cornmeal crust and the collection of toppings that he invited the restaurant’s proprietor to the White House to whip up a few pizzas for the First Family and his staff. Pi offers specialty thin crust pizzas and a unique deep dish recipe that features a soft cornmeal crust that has to be tasted to be believed. There are now four Pi locations throughout St. Louis.

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