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St. Louis Style Pizza

Call me strange or bizarre, but every now and then I am in the mood for a Saint Louis style pizza. I use to go to Saint Louis on business trips quite often and had what my coworkers and I would call "cracker pizza." The crust was ultra thin and crispy.

I no longer go to Saint Louis for business, so I'm looking for something closer. Can anything remotely like that be found in the Boston area or do I have to wait for an excuse to visit Saint Louis?

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  1. Never been to St. Louis, but I do like Emma's Pizza in Kendall Square, Cambridge, and that's about how I'd describe their crust. Toppings are good, and a fun place, too.

    Emma's Pizza
    40 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139

    1. having spent more than a few late nights at Imo's and Talayna's, I know what you're looking for..:)

      3 suggestions are Cambridge 1, Picco and Emma's. The crust will be very similar. Maybe they can blend a few cheeses to come close to the Provel cheese used in St Louis.

      5 Replies
      1. re: 9lives

        All a matter of opinion, of course, but I think of those three Emma's comes closest--Picco's I think of as more of a Neapolitan style pizza and Cambridge One is almost on a soft flatbread. Both are great, to be sure, but different than that thin, crispy crust of St. Louis style. Perhaps Emma's could make you a simple pepperoni and cut it in squares and you'd be more than halfway there. I looked if Donato's, a chain I grew up eating in Cincinnati, has come this far east but they have not. It is also not straight St. Louis style but is closer than most other things I have had.

        1. re: hckybg

          I agree - Emma's is close to Imo's/St Louis style but way fancier and yuppie-er (my best friend's hometown...I have visited several times). How about any decent Boston bar pizza? Does any come close? I feel like I've sampled some examples that might fit the St Louis model; however, it's bar pizza, so memories are fuzzy.

          I chuckled about the Donato's reference...my hubby is from OH and I was disappointed by Donato's (Akron), thus crushing his heart.

          1. re: digga

            To be honest, Donato's was actually a latecomer to my regional pizza experience. In Cincinnati there is the even more obscure LaRosa's, which never really expanded outside the metropolitan region. Known for its fairly bland crust, tangy sauce, and provolone, most Cincinnatians love it (or at least have a Proustian affection for it) while most everyone else who comes to it late finds it extremely disappointing. But I'll always have a place in my heart for it, and perhaps for Donato's too (100 pepperonis on every pizza!!).

            More on topic, you may just be better off making your own St. Louis style pizza because I have a very hard time thinking of anything that comes even remotely close to the weird mix of cheese and extremely thin, hypothetically crispy crust. My favorite Slice blog post of all time attempts to capture at least 21 of the American regional pizza variations. Some are very obscure!

          2. re: hckybg

            agree, Emma's comes closest in crust. the cheese is the "hard" part.

            It's been a while since I've been to Picco; so maybe my memory is off. I remember it as very thin but I'll take your word for it if you know it as the Neapolitan style.

            being a born and bred NYer, my first St Louis pizza was a real WTF moment..:) but I grew to have a fondness for it..toasted ravioli anyone?..:)

            1. re: 9lives

              Had Picco three times in the last few months and it is definitely more of a Neapolitan crust than the cracker-thin style the OP is looking for.

        2. Have you tried Flatbread Company? Not sure it is what you are describing as St. Louis style, but it is v. crispy, v. flat, and I would say "cracker-like" (at least the couple I had were). They are a growing chain specializing in organic with locations in Somerville, MA (this is new one I believe), Amesbury, MA, Martha's Vineyard, NH, and Hawaii. Use wood fired ovens. Also have nice salads and some desserts.

          Flatbread Company
          138 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

          1. Flatbread isn't quite what I'm looking for (the crust isn't nearly crispy enough), but we do like going there. I'll try your suggestions bear and 9lives. Thanks!

            1. Is this the same as grilled pizza? Bob & Timmy's, in Providence, has outstanding grilled pizza.

              Also, the pizza at Mistral is super thin and crispy.

              1. I don't know anything about pizza in Boston, but IMO the key to STL style pizza is the cheese, and for better or for worse, you're not going to find Provel outside of the greater STL area. My husband is from STL and drags me to Imo's or a similar place every time we visit - I find the pizza unappealing yet weirdly addictive. I've had lots of other pizzas that have similar crusts, but no other cheese tastes or melts like Provel. You can mail order it I think, though, and make your own!!!

                3 Replies
                1. re: biondanonima

                  Imo's and Talayna's, oh my!

                  I agree about the provel being key. Looks like you can order it for overnight delivery from Viviano's:

                  1. re: STL BOS

                    If you ever on the North Shore, try Calitri's or Sam and Joe's in Danvers. Cracker thin crust and decent toppings. For a really thin bar pizza (personal size) try Monte's in Lynn. Really amazing value for the price they charge and very thin crust

                    1. re: Cheffrank

                      I was also going to chime in and recommend Sam and Joe's. I think Sam and Joe's crust is thinner than Calitri's. They also use a special sort of cheese on their pizza. But it's not Provel - which I had never heard of (had to google it). sounds quite interesting to use on a pizza.

                2. I was fascinated to learn of a regional style of pizza I'd never previously heard about. In Googling provel -- which I never heard of either -- I ran across this definition of St. Louis Pizza in the Urban Dictionary (which is both educational and funny as hell). I include it purely for fun:
                  "1. St. Louis Style Pizza
                  A nasty concoction consisting of extremely thin, tasteless cardboard-like crust slathered in runny cheap salty pizza sauce and topped with gooey St. Louis-exclusive cheese called Provel that looks and tastes like melted Velveeta. While many St. Louisans inexplicably love this crap, don’t let them con you into thinking it’s real pizza – it isn’t! Imo's is probably the most famous type of this stuff - stay away!
                  Example: While visiting Sally in St. Louis, she tried to get me to eat St. Louis style pizza. I told her that I'd rather die a slow death.''

                  Louis Pizza
                  RR 108, Plaistow, NH 03865

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: katzzz

                    I don't know the history but it tastes - and looks - similar to frozen pizza and I can't help but think that was the source.

                  2. Oh, no offense but the memory of provel still gives me the shudders! FWIW, I've never seen it here.

                    Odd, too, cos I actually like velveeta (under certain circumstances), but provel is a cheeze of a different horse. :P

                    1. Thanks everyone for the replies, particularly for the ones North of Boston as that is where I live and it's easier for me to get to Danvers. I'll try Sam and Joe's this weekend.

                      I agree the Provel is unlikely unless I make a pizza myself. At this point I'm looking for texture more than the Provel, though there's nothing wrong with it!