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.
As devoted Catholics in the early '60s, Ed and Margie Imo would wait until after midnight every Friday night to pickup meat-topped pizzas from their favorite local St. Louis pizzerias. Tired of going out so late, they were inspired to make a change. In 1964, they opened their first Imo's Pizza to offer what was then an innovative concept—home delivery. As a nod to Ed's career cutting squares of linoleum, the duo's pizzas were always cut in squares and used as tiling to construct restaurant's floor. Today, the Imo's franchise encompasses more than 90 stores, and hasn't strayed from their square slices and pledge to never-frozen ingredients. The thin-crust pies are layered edge-to-edge with 100% provel cheese, homemade sauce, and more than 15 meat and veggie toppings.
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.
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.
Cooks at Pirrone's Pizzeria's two locations craft pizzas from fresh dough, housemade sauce, and 17 different toppings. Inside the kitchens, cooks bake lasagnas and deep-fry golden onion rings to pair with sandwiches stuffed with meatballs, chicken parmesan, and italian salami. In the evening, diners can opt for a dinner portion of golden fried jumbo shrimp, skinless chicken breast, or italian sausage accompanied by salad, spaghetti, and all the napkins you can eat. Both locations have sizeable dining rooms, and the newer Saint Peters location fills its red-hued walls with flat-screen televisions showing sporting events for customers seated at the full bar.