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STL: NY/East Coast style pizza

We're moving to STL in June and are about to make our third pre-moving visit and I am beginning to despair of ever finding what I consider "real" pizza there.

I am in no way, shape or form interested in ever again consuming STL style pizza. I don't want any pizza masquerading as NY style that's made with provel or anything but mozzarella. I want an actual pizza crust, hand tossed, soft and chewy. Thin crust is good but no cracker style, no matzo style, none of that.

I'm from Philly. I know pizza. I love pizza. Tomato sauce runs in my veins. Surely there has to be some PIZZA pizza in STL? Any other transplanted Easterners have a tip for me?

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    1. Oh my never fear. Imo's isn't the only thing poor old Lou has to offer.

      To try:

      La Pizza (on Delmar in U City) AWESOME
      Farotto's - Rock Hill (good stuff other than pizza too)
      Black Thorn in the city - a bar but the BEST deep dish pizza to be found in these parts
      Dewey's Pizza - also in U City/Clayton area - near-ish La Pizza - Dewey's is more upscale-ish but good
      Fortel's Pizza Den - various locations. Good thin crust and ALL handmade. Definitely about 200% better than Imo's for thin crust
      Pizza World - a chain but I don't think it is everywhere. They are also upscale-ish, including a white pizza that is out of this world
      Talayna's as lwoerther said is also good - various locations
      Racanelli's - U City and I believe somewhere south
      We also have the Chicago Uno - I can think of two locations - one in Kirkwood one out in Chesterfield. You can also buy smaller Uno pizzas at a few of the stores.

      A really great good research source for you all would be Sauce Magazine which covers not just restaurants but the whole food and wine scene here in St. L.

      Hopefully you won't go running back to Philly in despair. And try Imo's once or so- you might like it. They actually DO offer regular cheese as an option :>

      5 Replies
      1. re: TwoPointers

        Good list, TwoPointers. Add Napoli Pizza in St. Peter and Frank's Jersey style (a slightly thicker crust and slightly sweeter sauce than a typical NY pie.) Dewey's is a small chain out of Cincinnati; actually very good with good beer, too. Racanelli's is pretty good but would be average in NYC; there four of them. La Pizza, along with Napoli, are my two favorites.

        Ooops.. almost forgot Il Vicino in Clayton! Wood oven and excellent! Add them to LaPizza and Napoli!

        As for STL "pizza", I'm a Boston native -- I find that other than the crust, sauce, and cheese STL pizza's not bad...

        1. re: TwoPointers

          As a transplanted Rhode Islander, Imo's will never taste remotely good to me. Ever. Regardless of cheese.

          The one time I went to the Talayna's on DeBallivere, I was not impressed.

          I do enjoy Vito's on Olive, and Ferraro's in Soulard.

          1. re: robotarms

            There are a few locals that can't stand the stuff either, so it's not just a problem for transplants!

          2. re: TwoPointers

            La Pizza is your best option.

            Dough is made fresh daily. Pizzas are tossed to order.

            They're NYC transplants. Father and Son own it. The father used to work for Racanelli's in St. Louis until he felt they stopped caring about quality and had to quit and go off on his own.

            1. re: bobzemuda

              I am glad to hear your affirmation that Racanelli's isn't what it used to be. We haven't been in a year or two because the CWE store's pizza had definitely gone downhill. I'm sad, because it was very good.

              Haven't had a chance to try LaPizza yet. We usually go to Il Vicino in Clayton.

          3. I grew up on Long Island in a town with a large Italian population. Here in St. Louis, the closest I have come to a New York style pizza is the Taylana's on DeBallivere, just north of the History Museum. They give you a choice of St. Louis, Chicago, Boston, or New York style pizzas. I cannot vouch for any of the other Taylana's locations, but this location served a pizza that tasted very close to the pizza I had as a teenager in the 1960's on Long Island.

            Also worth investigating, if you are driving southwest on I-44: Alex's House of Pizza in Rolla, Missouri. It is not New York style, but it is yummy.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Doug

              I also like Ami's in Rock Hill. I can't really vouch for the authenticity of their NY style pizza, but it tastes good to me.

              1. re: shannoninstlouis

                Ami's used to be a Talayna's. I think it is still owned by the same people.

            2. You're all awesome. Thank you. We'll be back for a week in March (before moving for good in June or July) and we'll definitely try Taylana's and probably somewhere else.

              1. The Westport Pizza Co at the Westport Plaza has "New York style pizza." I don't know how authentic it is, but I like it.

                I second the Dewey's suggestions, and also recommend Cicero's in U City.

                1. ok-not in st louis proper, but this will be pizza worth driving for.Roma's Pizza in Bethalto Illinois(about 25- 30 minutes from downtown st louis). Owned by the Pizzo family, from Sicily. Moved there in the early 70's. It was the first pizza I ever had and I am glad to report after living in Chicago and spending time on the east coast I still loved it when I moved back to the area. Plain stuff here....no pesto or artichokes or artisan olives but kick butt sausage and not a bit of crappy provel in sight.

                  In St. Louis, I am fond of Vitos as welll as Dewey's

                  good luck. Keep hitting the food message boards there are lots of foodies here that will help you out.

                  1. you're going to get a LOT of conflicting opinions - just means there are a lot of choices out there. I like the outdoor place with bocce across from Amighetti's on the Hill (I forget the name) STL style, but not Imo's provel style (which I actually like, but if you didn't have it as a 4 YO...)

                    Talayna's and Cicero's are good as others noted.

                    but it's really all word of mouth and ranks right up there with "so what high school did you go to?"

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: hill food

                      The bocce place is called Milo's. They also have indoor, albeit smoky, seating.

                      1. re: marymac

                        Milo's yes! I Iike the dive-y indoor part as well.

                        1. re: hill food

                          Let's not forget "The Wall" at Milo's may it rest in peace.

                          1. re: DetectDave

                            DD, that was before my time. What is "The Wall" por favor?

                            1. re: marymac

                              It was a list of drink combinations, I believe some 14 in all that if you drank every drink in the combination in order w/ out losing it, you got them all for free. I think there were about 10 drinks in each set. There was no rhyme or reason to it either. One minute you would have a margaraita next you would have a Rusty Nail or something equally rough as a followup. There werer quite a few people that had their names up there...mine wasn't but not for lack of ambition but intestinal fortitude so to say..LOL It;s been years since they had it due to the lack of sobriety on the winners.... and losers. After doing further research, I see that Milo's had its last name printed on "The Wall" on May 13, 1999.

                    2. Boy oh boy...entering the great St. Louis pizza debate from the Philly-New Jersey perspective.

                      For true East Coast pizza:
                      --Feraro's Jersey-Style Pizza in the Soulard neighborhood. Very good overall.

                      --Racanelli's (multiple locations; best is on Delmar Blvd. in University City) -- can be greasy. Good crust. Can be overloaded with cheese at times, but perfect at other times. Depends on who makes the pies.

                      --La Pizza (also on Delmar Blvd. in University City, about 2 miles west of Racanelli's) -- owned by ex-New Yorkers. Pretty solid.

                      Honorable mention might go to Il Vicino, in Clayton. Not terrible for a yuppie place that is convenient if you are nearby. Fresh ingredients, but they could work more on the sauce and crust.

                      As mentioned earlier, check out Sauce Magazine -- a free weekly newspaper devoted to the food scene.

                      1. Without a doubt, Pizza-a-Go-Go on Scanlan in SW City:


                        1. You need to try Balducci's Wine Fest in Maryland Heights.

                          1. We're here for a week, and we tried La Pizza last night. It was fantastic. We plan to try some of the others but we are no longer afraid of STL being a pizza wasteland. We just bought a house in U City off Delmar, so La Pizza will do quite nicely. The sauce was good, the cheese was real, and sausage was delicious, and the thin hand-tossed crust had that nice bite reminiscent of how marshmallows crunch after you toast them. Thumbs way up for La Pizza!

                            We also tried Katie's Pizzeria in Clayton, which is apparently very new, and thought it was excellent. Her pizza is more of the gourmet kind, though - mine had proscuitto, brie, and apples, and I loved it. Great crust.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ladydisdain

                              Good for you! I think you lucked out with Katie's just opening - lots of good talk about the place.

                              1. re: ladydisdain

                                I am really glad you found some places that you liked! I know how it is to move and worry that you won't be able to have any of your favorites anymore. You will love U-city. great community.

                                1. re: jardin32

                                  best central location in the area IMHO (unless you can afford a place on Portland and Lake), enjoy!

                              2. We're just back from a very brief final pre-moving visit (less than a month to go now!) and we tried Feraro's Jersey Style Pizza. Although I'm thrilled that they serve pork roll (Taylor ham) I wasn't overly impressed by the pizza. It was serviceable, I suppose, but La Pizza blows it out of the water (and La Pizza is less than five minutes from our house). I found Feraro's to be overly cheesy, which makes the crust overly wet. When I pick up a piece of pizza I don't mind if the front tip sags, but when the whole front half just flops down? Too wet for me. The sauce was nice, but the meatballs were spiced far too much. Nice flavor to the crust but just too wet. My husband liked it better (and wants to try the stromboli) so we'll go back, but I think I'll stick to a pork roll sandwich and save the room in my tummy reserved for pizza for La Pizza when I'm missing home.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ladydisdain

                                  I don't know if they are still open, but Blackthorn's by the Botanical Gardens used to be awesome. Racanelli's was my savior while I lived there. New York Pizza people are actually better off than the Chicago pizza fans, its pretty dismal for a deep dish pizza.

                                2. I always wondered why they called provel "provel" and not plain ol American cheese. STL'ians put it on everything and it's horrbile. I never understood it.

                                  NYC style pizza in STL is hard to find. Talyana's is New York style, but at it's worst.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: 50west77th


                                    From Wikipedia. The source is mostly Joe Bonwicjh, your intrepid food writer for the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                      Got it ... but I still don't get it. Not only do the pizza's taste horrible, but some of STL's so called Italian restaurants use this cheese on their dishes too. STL has a lot going for it ... I lived there for about 5 years. The STL Zoo is the best in the nation and the entire Forest Park rivals any other in the nation, including Central Park. BBQ is great and so is the asian food ... but that provel cheese really eeeked me.

                                      1. re: 50west77th

                                        Preaching to the choir. I lived there for 13 years and I was never ever able to get into it. My St. Louis friends think I am crazy for wanting some decent cheese. of course I am limited in my cheese intake now so its all moot. The most disgusting application of provel is in the pizza but the second most is when they put it in salads.

                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                          Zackly. Well luckly I'm back in NYC now and have a Ray's on my block and about 20 pizza shops within short walking distance, so luckily I don't have to live with that anymore. Now if we could just get some real BBQ in Manhattan life would be good. However last word about that Imo's pizza ... it's the only pizza where I can eat an entire large pizza all on my own. That pizza is by far the worst I ever had on the planet. Even worst then Ellio's ... while still frozen. Worst then a piece of toast with cheap no name ketchup.