Pizza isn't the only attraction at America's Incredible Pizza Company—families are drawn to its go-kart track, laser tag, and glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course. But the entertainment center's expansive buffet is quite the draw in and of itself, featuring more than 100 items and centering on pizza, including original, thin, and deep-pan crust (gluten-free upon request) crowned with more than 30 types of toppings. Verdant greens and freshly made dressings await visitors at the popular salad bar, and the baked-potato station comes with every necessity for side-dish construction, from cheese to the bacon bits from which bacon is built. A variety of sauces enliven the buffet’s fettuccine and spaghetti noodles, and other homestyle include hot dogs and frito pie.
In the indoor adventure park, meanwhile, gamers zip around a track in two varieties of go-karts—the stock-car speed and the slower Busch speed—as announcers report each turn. Visitors also can instigate harmless car crashes in the bumper-car area or spend five frames toppling pins during mini bowling.
Since 1981, the pizza specialists at Elicia's Pizza have zipped through St. Louis's tangled roads delivering piping-hot pies to households in 30 minutes or less. At the shop, marinara masters stretch house-made dough into the shape of a mad professor's monocle and lavish each thin-crust disk with fresh sauce and the house's three-cheese blend. Additionally, the pizzeria's menu celebrates casual eats, such as wings, baked pastas, sandwiches, and crisp salads.
Onesto is Italian for "honest," so it's no surprise the owners of Onesto Pizza & Trattoria strive for transparency when it comes to their food. They proudly showcase the list of more than 10 local farms from which they gather their menu's organic and seasonal fruit and antibiotic- and hormone-free meat. They even reveal the secrets behind their wild-mushroom- and Gulf-shrimp-topped pizzas by letting diners watch as each pie is hand-tossed. Pasta, from the housemade fettuccine to the macaroni and cheese served with lobster in a cast-iron skillet, joins elaborate seasonal entrees such as pan-seared wild striped bass, accompanied by a pumpernickel-crusted saffron risotto cake and sautéed spinach and apples in a lemongrass-butter broth. In addition to sourcing its ingredients locally, Onesto strives to reduce its carbon footprint by recycling, serving to-go orders in compostable containers, and asking diners to take off their carbon shoes at the door so as not to leave a footprint.
The gourmet ingredients and eco-friendly attitude seem to overshadow the restaurant's decor, which the Riverfront Times describes as "unassuming … with no obvious flash or flair." But subdued is sometimes best, as the paper named Onesto's "simple" patio as Best Outdoor Dining of 2010, hailing it as "an escape from the hustle and bustle of other St. Louis restaurant patios."
At Bono's Pizzeria, the kitchen staff rolls its pizza cutters through pies sized up to 16 inches and dressed with a variety of meats and veggies. The eatery outputs eight specialty pizzas plus the ever-savory temptation of 10-inch Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas. Other savory bites include orders of toasted ravioli, penne and meatballs, and cannoli.
Some spots that feature expedient services, such as human egg timers and express zombie groomers, don't want patrons to stick around too long. At Bellacino's you'll get quick service without feeling rushed. Televisions and patio seating set the St. Louis outpost of this national chain apart from others, making it a place to gather with friends. The menu is full of speedy savories including oven-baked grinders, crisp salads, and pizzas. Indecisive diners can marry together two cultural eats with the taco pizza, a doughy round topped with taco meat, onions, a cheddar-mozzarella cheese blend, salsa, olives, fresh lettuce, and tomatoes ($6.99 for 8 inches, $13.59 for 12 inches, and $18.29 for 16 inches). Vegetarians can opt for the veggie grinder, a finger-friendly feast with green peppers, onions, mushrooms, cheese blend, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo ($5.49 for 9 inches, $10.29 for 18 inches). The light menu, packed with sandwich options clocking in at 9 grams of fat or less, has healthier versions of classics (turkey, chicken, roast beef). Beer and wine, also available at this location, make substantial companions to the quick cuisine.