When founders J. Kim Tucci, Joseph A. Fresta, and John P. Ferrara first opened The Pasta House Co. in 1974, they wanted to elevate pasta to an art form. “Some artists sculpt, some paint, and some sketch,” they write on the restaurant’s website. “But, at The Pasta House Co., we create authentic Italian culinary delights.” A few of the locations even have giant, exhibition kitchens so you can watch as pizzas, pastas, and entrees come to life.
Naturally, The Pasta House Co.’s menu revolves around the Italian staple from which it gets its name. There are more than 25 varieties of pasta to choose from, including linguine with chicken livers and the signature lasagna, plus weekday specials such as stuffed manicotti. Meanwhile, the mangia bene menu—which translates to “eat well” in Italian—showcases the more wholesome side of Italian eating, with dishes low in fat and calories that won’t peer pressure you to break curfew.
The pizza at Papa Murphy’s Take 'N' Bake Pizza is always cold. Not because it's old, but because it’s so fresh that it hasn’t been cooked yet. Assembled and customized before your eyes, the colorful, unbaked disk is then taken home and thrown into your own oven. The crust crisps to exactly your preference, whether a thin crust bubbling with chicken, bacon, and artichoke, or a Chicago–style stuffed with salami, pepperoni, sausage, and ground beef. Each pizza can also be customized from scratch, with ambitious eaters choosing from 8 meats, 4 cheeses, and 15 veggie toppings. A bevy of side plates complements any meal, with crisp salads, bake-your-own cookie dough, and dessert pizzas.
Italian-born recipes guide Schiappa's chefs as they hand-spin pies out of house-made dough, crafting colossal disks that span up to 40 inches. Dining duos weave one of the menu's traditional toppings, such as italian sausage, pineapple, or pepperoni, through the14-inch pizza's lush mozzarella foliage or into drab living-room tapestries. Cheesy first courses make way for 10 wings dressed in one of eight flavor getups, including sweet hot, Caribbean jerk, and scorching. A pair of soft drinks washes down savory slices, and on Sundays during football season from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., NFL games get sports buffs more riled up than a bull trapped in Santa's walk-in closet
Like the restaurant's brand-new menu, House of Savoy's Chef Paola Bugli is a relocated native of Florence—Tuscany's regional capital and leader in savory dining. Begin your repast with antipasto toscano—assorted cured Tuscan meats and cheeses with roasted peppers and marinated olives ($15)—before opening the gates to your gut with a savory secondi of pasta such as the lasagna matta (baked crazy-lasagna with bolognese meat-sauce and béchamel, topped with parmesan and mozzarella, $15). A grill entree such as the 12-ounce prime-choice, dry-aged beef tenderloin fillet ($32) and a side of Tuscan cannellini beans ($5) connects meaty Midwest traditions with Tuscan artistry, much like an oil painting depicting a naked Mike Ditka atop a clam-shell, while a salsiccia pizza flattens appetites with tomato sauce, spicy sausage, sweet red-peppers, caramelized onions, and mozzarella ($10). For dessert, head to the Cascade Bar and finish the feast with $10 worth of post-prandial potion.
Joe Sanfilippo got his start in the food industry at age 11 when his Uncle Agostino recruited him to bus tables at his St. Louis restaurant on a particularly busy New Year’s night, according to St. Louis Magazine. Two years later, he returned to his hometown of Palermo to study and to attend culinary school at night, which ignited his passion for cooking and spurred him to open his own eatery at the tender age of 24. Today, the owner and executive chef of J.F. Sanfilippo’s Restaurant mingles his southern-Italian training with northern-Italian influences in a menu of pastas with tomato- or cream-based sauces, sautéed chicken and veal, and broiled steaks. In a recent KSDK 5 interview centering on the opening of his second location in Chesterfield, Joe confided that his 80-year-old mother still bakes the restaurant’s bread each day and divulged plans to bottle and sell J.F.’s popular vodka sauce, then ship it to Neptune.
When Mr. and Mrs. Kemoll opened Kemoll’s in 1927, Mrs. Kemoll served her mother’s authentic Italian recipes in a casual dining room adjacent to their living quarters. Today, the dining room fills the 40th floor of Metropolitan Square, the tallest building in downtown St. Louis. Two floors above, Kemoll’s Top of the Met banquet facility caters to weddings and private parties. Spectacular views of the city and riverfront helped Kemoll’s earn third place for Best Romantic Restaurant from CityVoter in 2010, and prompted Gayot to note that “the three-direction views only heighten what was already a lovely dining experience.” Lunch and dinner menus include Italian delicacies like cannelloni, manicotti, and Kemoll’s signature fried artichokes. In the spacious dining room, elegant place settings perch upon white tablecloths as diners attempt to spot celebrity clientele or undercover espionage agents from Chef Boyardee. Complimentary parking is available in an enclosed garage.
More than 40 years after opening his first restaurant, Sicilian chef Franco Bongiovanni embarked on his third culinary venture: Il Posto Pizzeria, which translates as “the place for pizza.” And pizza they have. Sauces made in-house slather homemade dough, which chefs then top with such fixings as bacon, anchovies, onions, and Italian salami. Specialty pies include Lina’s veggie special—named for Franco’s beloved wife—and chicken-alfredo pizza. The menu rounds out meals with a quartet of salads and sides such as garlic bulbs’ high-strung cousin, the garlic knot.