Even if pizza isn't your thing—which is unthinkable—the menu at St. Louis Pizza & Wings has something tasty and satisfying to please palates. The kitchen staff prepares 14 signature sandwiches, including an open-faced ham and cheese on garlic bread, and seven traditional pasta dishes for in-house dining or takeout. Double-decker burgers and boneless wings sate cravings for classic pub cuisine, and nine specialty pizzas come with hand-tossed thick crusts or St. Louis–style thin crusts.
At Pizza Express, cooks toss yeast-free dough into skinny discs, topping it with the St. Louis's signature provel cheese that melts into a delightfully molten and not-at-all-stringy thing of beauty inside the oven. Alongside their pizzas, they bread, fry, and toss wings in any one of a dozen sauces, ranging from classic buffalo to exotic habanero-mango BBQ, which is served in a grass skirt. Pizza Express also serves up salads, hot sandwiches, and a variety of desserts and hand-spun shakes.
Kingpin Lanes facilitates retro revelry with 24 tenpin bowling lanes, leagues for men, women, and children, and an arcade stocked with video games. More than 10 television screens shine down into the facility, allowing bowlers to simultaneously watch sports and play a sport without having to ice-dance during a professional hockey game. After achieving a new high score in Kingpin's arcade, visitors can refuel at the in-house Brickhouse Pizza Company. Its specialties include classic pies in addition to sandwiches such as the Kingpin combo with ham, roast beef, salami, and provolone cheese.
Fortel's Pizza Den was founded more than 30 years ago by pizza enthusiast Bob Fortel, giving the restaurant plenty of time to develop a compelling formula for creating its hand-tossed pies. It starts with the crust: the dough is made fresh daily, and—since eating pizza, like playing Battleship against yourself, shouldn't involve too many tough decisions—it's formed into a single, medium-thin thickness. Chefs then slather this crispy foundation in one of seven sauces, including pesto, gravy, or Bob Fortel's original sweet-and-spicy tomato sauce. Topping choices number in the dozens, ranging from sweet chicken sausage and eggplant to corned beef and sauerkraut. While waiting for their pizza masterpieces to arrive, diners nibble on beer-battered mushrooms, toasted ravioli, and other appetizers.
Grassi’s West administers mammoth lunches and capacious dinners from a menu teeming with Italian favorites. Cheesy heaps of chicken parmigiano ($8.95) accompany an entourage of crispy salad and buttery bread, and the Carla special boasts lean layers of trimmed roast beef, turkey, veal, or meatballs bookended by italian bread ($7.25). Sixteen-inch thin-crust pizzas ($13.75+) sport an undershirt of homemade sauce reinforced with rooftops of veggies, sausage, pepperoni, and strips of american and canadian bacon. Locals have gotten lost within the labyrinth of Grassi’s chef salad, drizzled delicately with homemade dressing ($5.05+), and diners who prefer big chomps to small talk can revel in the cafeteria-style serving, in which indecisive slowpokes won't stymie valuable chewing time. If there’s room for desert, a slice of cherry cheesecake ($3.75) can tickle tongues or provide creamy insulation for another mound of jaw-dropping sandwich extravagance.
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."