Buy Me a Pizza Pi

Lately I’ve been infatuated with pizzerias that have stories behind them. Last Tuesday, a coworker informed me that a parishioner who used to live in San Francisco loved his local pizzeria so much that when he recently moved back to St. Louis, he bought the recipe for the sauce and opened his own restaurant here. He called the restaurant “Pi,” as in the number.

As soon as she finished the story, I knew I had to eat that pizza. Immediately.

I think I just love food with a story. Food with a reason. I like that people talk about certain restaurants they’ve encountered in a mythical light, as if Jesus Himself (that’s Jesus’ last name) were the cook. I love when restaurants won’t franchise because they’re worried that their recipes won’t be treated with same respect. Well, I love it and I hate it, because when I read that the best burrito in the world is served at a tiny log cabin restaurant in the foothills of Tennessee, I wish that I could eat the same burrito closer to home.

Coincidentally, another high-end pizzeria recently opened in St. Louis. It’s called Katie’s Pizzaria Café, and the owner opened it after studying the making of pizza in Naples (where, according to Eat, Pray, Love, the best pizza in the world is served. It’s Papa Johns, of course, but they serve it with such grace). I just heard about that one today. Of course, I had to have it immediately.

Of the two, Pi’s pizza is better, but neither are legendary. Pi’s sauce is perfect, and it smells delicious. The crust, made out of hand-tossed cornmeal dough, is really good, and the cheese is delicious as well. The ingredients are clearly very fresh, and the menu indicates that they use local ingredients when they’re in season.

The only problem was that after about two pieces of pizza, the cheese sat like lead in my stomach. Cheese will do that to you, but something was off about this cheese. It didn’t seem all that greasy—maybe it needed to be more greasy so it would slip into my intestines. I’m not sure. Despite that misfire, I’d give Pi an 8 out of 10.

Katie’s Pizzaria Café is another story. The sauce is good, albeit a bit watery, and there’s very little cheese on the pizza. The pie itself was pretty small—too small for $15 when Tostino’s party pizzas are $10 for 10 at the grocery store across the street. The biggest problem was the crust. It was really thin and really hard, like a thick, stale cracker. It tasted good—it has that brick-oven taste—but it didn’t have enough give to it. It’s the kind of crust that cuts into your gums if you chew it the wrong way. Although the pizzas at Katie’s were pretty interesting—she eschews “American” pizzas for their true Italian counterparts, including potato pizza—I don’t think I’d go back.

Those of you in St. Louis might wonder how these pizzas stack up to the local competition. I’m probably forgetting someplace good, and I don’t know pizza on the Hill, but here’s where they’d fit in with the competition:

Black Thorn
Il Vicino
Katie’s Pizzaria Café

0 thoughts on “Buy Me a Pizza Pi”

  1. I can understand your infatuation of a pizzeria with a back-story. I, however, am personally am not one to hop out of the box. Once I’ve found something I love I stick with it and frequent it quite often. El Paso should have a menu item named after me, I eat there so often. But I diverge, its pizza of main importance here. Perhaps I don’t feel the need to gallivant around town like you in search of the perfect pizza pie, as I’ve already found it. And since it appears you’ve forgotten your roots, I should remind you that while Richmond is no St. Louis we have our very own pizza haven. Tony’s Italian Restaurant right off of Cox Road in Innsbrook (conveniently located next to El Paso) not only has the family story behind it to satisfy you but has mastered the art of pizza perfection. If you’ve eaten there you must have sadly forgotten the wonderful meal in which you indulged. If you haven’t taken in their fine cuisine then you’re missing out my friend. Next time you’re in town, I believe it calls for a visit. And if you’re so lucky, my treat.

  2. Seeing that Imo’s is not listed, I’m assuming that it is the presumed #1 pizza place in St. Louis and that your list constitutes the competition for second. That said, you should also try Happy Joe’s canadian bacon or hawaiian (canadian bacon w/ pinapple). It’s my favorite non-thin crust in St. Louis.

  3. I’m going to have to agree with mysterious anonymous poster #1. Tony’s in Richmond serves superb pizza. And I think if I try and take Kendall to El Paso even one more time then I’ll be getting a divorce.

  4. I just went to Pi the other night. Great atmosphere, love it that it’s smoke free. However, $17 for a small deep dish pizza is a rip off. The pizza itself was pretty good.

  5. Where is Dewey’s and why did I never eat there? Also, if you ever find yourself in Columbia, MO, go to Shakespeare’s Pizza. I’d put it just below Black Thorn.

    I live a block away from Pizza Luce, which makes a mean potato pizza. And they are open until 2:30 AM, serving pizza by the slice.

  6. Oh you left out a bunch of places! As far as the guy up at 2:30 AM, next time you might want to try Pointer’s. If you live around Wash U. they will even deliver it to you until 3 AM.

    You said that you love a story with your pizza, well how do you feel about a challenge served with your pizza? Pointer’s has thrown down the gauntlet to us all the challenge, 1 Point-A-Sauras, 2 meat toppings, 1 hr, 2 people, $500! If at the end of the hr only the 2 people and the $ are left then the money goes home with the victors, but if your eyes were bigger than your stomach then you got to buy the pizza. Don’t know for sure but a buddy of mine was saying that he thought that no one has been able to take home the 5 bills yet.

    Pointers is pretty good but really only makes my list because of how late they are open and of course the point-a-sauras, when I want a really good pie I go to Joannie’s Pizzaria in Soulard or La Pizza in U. City or my all time favorite place in St. Louis to go for pizza is Frank & Hellen’s on Olive. I can remember going there as a kid and the place hasn’t changed it’s just as good now as it was then. Man I love that place.

  7. Aaron–Thanks for the post. I have indeed heard of (but not attempted) the Point-A-Saurus challenge. There’s a similar challenge at Talanya’s.

    I like a quality piece of pizza–I’ve had La Pizza and like it, but if I’m over in that area, I’d choose Dewey’s over it. I’ll have to try Joannie’s or Frank & Hellen’s–what style pizza do they serve?


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