Sunday, June 28, 2009

Racanelli's Cucina Original Pizzeria & Bar

Racanelli's Cucina on the Delmar Loop in University City is owned by John Racanelli who also owns all of the Racanelli's New York Pizzeria's. Racanelli's Cucina isn't just a fancy name on one of their Pizzeria's, it is a full service Italian restaurant with a completely different menu. They offer appetizers, salads, soups, pasta, burgers, grilled foccacia paninis, desserts and 12 inch stone oven pizza's. They all so have an extensive wine list.

I started off with a small house salad. It had mixed greens, tomato's, cucumber, red onion and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I'm not big on "mixed greens", those two words can sometimes mean weeds in my book, but these weren't bad. The rest of the veggies were cut into small cubes. The salad was served with the dressing on it, but not tossed. Overall the salad was very good. I was hungry and started eating the salad before I remembered to photograph it, so no photos. My Fellow pizza eater ordered a Mediterranean Chopped salad, it had mixed greens, feta, kalamata olives, red onion pepperocini and house made vinaigrette.

In the 4 weeks prior to eating at Racanelli's Cucina I had pizza 7 times, so for pizza I ordered the Magherita, not the sort of thing I would normally order, but having had a lot of pizza I was open to something new. The Margherita is the classic pizza, just tomato sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella. The hand tossed crust was very good, both crisp and chewy. The combination of tomato sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella works great. I have had cheese pizza before and it's OK, but this no cheese pizza. The Margherita was surprisingly good, I believe the fresh mozzarella makes a big difference. I will definitely order it again. We had leftovers but I didn't store them properly and they got a bit dry, next time I will be a pig and not bring any home with me. My fellow pizza eater didn't get pizza!!! He was paying so he could get what he wanted. He got the Panini Portabella (roasted portabella, fresh mozzarella, spinach, roasted pepper and pesto). Even though it was pizza I did sample it and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. It's differently not the kind of thing I would order, but I was glad my fellow pizza eater did.

There will be a next time. I was pleasantly surprised by Rananelli's Cucina, both the food and service were very good. I need to try the "Action Jackson" pepperoni, sausage and onion pizza. I also need to try the "Johnny's Famous Pound cake Sandwich" (house-made pound cake, chocolate hazelnut spread, strawberry jam, griddled and served with fresh whipped cream and powdered sugar) , it sound like a sugar rush.

Racanelli's Cucina Original Pizzeria & Bar is located at 6655 Delmar Boulevard (the Loop) in University City, MO. You can reach them at (314) 727-8880, for more information check out their web-site(click on the title link).

Highly Recommended.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Erio's Ristorante

A co-worker has been telling me about Erio's Ristorante for some time, but they are only open for supper. Recently both of us were working the late shift and decided it was time to order from Erio's. Erio's Ristorante is family owned and opened for business in 1970 in Florissant, MO. They moved to St Peters in 1991. Their menu has all items you would expect at an Italian restaurant, appetizers, salads, pizza, steaks & veal, chicken & fish, pasta, sandwiches and desserts. Their hand tossed pizza's come in 12" and 14", for an extra charge you can get a thicker New York style crust. For cheese, you can choose between fresh mozzarella and provel cheese.

We started with a Erio's House Salad, it had Mixed fresh greens with artichokes, Italian Volpi salami, provel cheese, red onions, peppercinis, Sicilian green olives and Erio's House dressing (Italian vinaigrette). The salad was very good, but the salami was just a bit more than I needed. I would get the dinner salad next time, it's the same minus the salami.

For pizza we ordered a standard hand tossed large with pepperoni, hamburger, onion and yellow peppers. The crust was was similar to New York style, but of uniform thickness all the way across. The bottom had a fair bit of char (pizza lingo for the black bits on the bottom) but didn't taste burnt. The crust would droop a some when it was still hot, but was quite chewy. the pepperonis were sliced thin the way I like them, and the small nuggets of hamburger were lightly seasoned. Both the onions and yellow peppers fresh. Oh yeah there was sauce in there also. The combination worked well. I have to say that I was awestruck by the crust, it was exceptional!

Over all the food was great, the crust warrants a return trip alone. The Sicilian salad and the Pizza di Palermo are both on my list for the return visit. The downside of Erio's is that they are only open for dinner (4p.m. - 9p.m. later on weekends) and they don't deliver the delicious pizza. So if you find your self in St Peters after 4 p.m. you can't go wrong with Erio's.

Erio's Ristorante is located at 951 Jungermann Rd. in St. Peters, MO. You can reach them at (636) 928-0112, for more information check out their web-site(click on the title link).

Highly Recommended.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Dewey's Pizza Part 2

It all started something like this:

The "Man" calls the "Dude" and asks the Dude if he wants to get some pizza? The Dude is all like "yeah man, cool". The next thing you know the Man and the Dude are at Dewey's.

I Reviewed Dewey's back in November 2008 so I will only talk about what the man and the dude had to eat. The Man went Greek and ordered a Greek salad and the Socrates' Revenge pizza (Olive oil, minced garlic, mozzarella-fontina blend, spinach, black olives, green olives, feta cheese, red onions and tomatoes). The Dude ordered a Peppercorn Ranch salad and the Southwest BBQ Chicken pizza (olive oil, smoked cheddar, mozzarella, black bean corn salsa, Amish chicken, roasted red peppers and BBQ sauce). I shall refrain fro the Dude and The Man for now. I had been eating a lot of pizza around the time of this review and I've eaten at Dewey's a number of times, so when I ordered I went out of my box some. The Socrates' Revenge was very good, I especially liked the olive oil instead of regular sauce. As much as I liked it I would probably max out with one or two slices. A small dose of olives go a l0ng way for me and the Socrates' Revenge is all about the olives. The Southwest BBQ Chicken pizza was also very good, not something I would routinely order, but very good for a change.

As with my previous visit to Dewey's the food was excellent. The pizza's both out side my norm were great and I would even order them again under similar circumstances. There are a couple of things about Dewey's though; 1. You will probably have to wait for a table when you go (20 minutes this visit for a table for 2 & 30+ on a previous visit with more people), guess if the pizza wasn't very good you wouldn't have to wait. Time, It's the price you pay for good pizza. 2. We had about 4 or 5 different people ask if we were ready to order. They do "Group Serve", were anybody can take your order and all tips are shared. I think we were taking a long time to decide and that's why we saw so many faces asking for our order. They were all quite friendly and attentive to our needs.

Dewey's Pizza is located at 124 N. Kirkwood Rd. Kirkwood, MO. You can reach them at (314) 821-7474, for more information check out their web-site(click on the title link).

Highly Recommended.


The Binge Part 8, unplanned Bonus.

The Pizza Files 2009 Summer Binge has reached it's original goal of eight pizza joints, in a mere 4 weeks. My original plan was for 8 different pizza joints over a 10 week period, so I can only imagine what my final total will be.

My good friend and fellow pizza eater from last Thursdays Binge suggested that We sample one of the fine Pizzeria's on the Delmar Loop. Thursdays are good for both of us, That's Racanelli's Cucina Part 8.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

G & D Pizzaria (part 2)

Three months ago I reviewed G & D Pizzaria, and stated I would be visiting them again, and it corresponds perfectly with the 2009 Pizza Files Summer Binge (part 5). I won't go into great detail about G&D in this post (see my previous post or G & D Pizzaria web-site), I'm just going to stick to what we ate.

We started with a single trip to the salad bar. Every thing was fresh, but your choices were limited for dressings, just the routine Kraft selections. On any future visits I will try the Greek Salad with the Homemade dressing.

For pizza, my fellow pizza eaters ordered a medium "Country Music" it has sausage, pepperoni, ham, ground beef, bacon and Canadian bacon. I ordered a medium with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, onions and Gyro [meat]. I don't often order sausage and/or bacon on my pizza so I was pleasantly surprised at how good the Country Music pizza was. The sausage and bacon were in just the right amount as were the rest of the ingredients. I would gladly order the Country Music again, maybe add some onions. G&D doesn't have meat balls but they do Gyro [meat], and in my book that equels Greek meatballs. The Gyro was good even if a bit oily. If I were to order my regular pizza again I would probably go with the ground beef, and order a Gyros pita sandwich for an appetizer. The sauce and crust on both pizza's were great. The crust had a crispy edge and was golden brown on the bottem. On my prevouis visit I hadn't noticed how they roll under the edge of the crust to give it a lip to hold the sauce (see photo).

G & D Pizzaria is still in a class all by it's self, and If you find your self hungry and in Columbia, MO it would be worth your time to visit them. G & D Pizzaria is located in the Crossroads West Shopping Center at the corner of W. Broadway and S. Stadium Blvd Columbia, MO. You can reach them at (573) 445-8336, for more information check out their web-site(click on the title link).

Highly Recommended.


The Binge Part 7, unplanned Bonus.

The Pizza Files 2009 Summer Binge has taken on a life of it's own. I'm only 3 weeks into it and have already been to seven different pizza joints. My original plan was for 8 different pizza joints over a 10 week period.

A co-worker suggested that I try Erio's Ristorante in St. Peters, MO. Erio's doesn't open til 4 p.m. daily, and I work late on Fridays, thats how Erio's Ristorante became Part 7.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Pickleman's Gourmet Cafe

Pickleman's Gourmet Cafe opened in October 2005 in downtown Columbia, MO. They are primarily a toasted sandwich shop, but do have a limited pizza menu. Pickleman's is not the kind of place I would have chosen to get pizza, and I didn't. I had invited my mother to go to another pizza joint in Columbia, but she wouldn't go, instead she insisted that we go to Pickleman's because they had the BEST pizza she had ever had. Oh, she said she would pay, and that's an offer I couldn't refuse.

The Menu at Pickleman's includes 16 variety's of toasted sandwiches, chopped salads, soups, extras (cookies, chips, pickles, etc) and 12" thin crust pizza. To start with we ordered a Garden Chop salad with chipotle ranch dressing. I might have chosen the Italian vinaigrette dressing, but I wasn't paying and it was quite good as ordered. For pizza I was told that the Asiago Chicken pizza was the best. The pizza's come only in 12" and the crust appears to be a pre-made St. Louis style crust. The sauce is Asiago Caesar dressing, it's then covered with grilled chicken, bacon and "a Gourmet blend of whole milk cheeses". We also ordered a regular pizza with pepperoni, ham and onions. It had a tomato sauce, but came with the same blended cheese as the previous pizza. The Asiago Chicken pizza was ok, not the type I prefer, but ok. The menu also has a Asiago Chicken sandwich that would probably be better than the pizza. The regular pizza was lacking and left me uninspired. The sauce, pre-made crust and blended cheese were unremarkable. Of the two pizza's the Asiago Chicken pizza was the by far the best.

Would I eat at Pickleman's again? Maybe a sandwich, probably not the pizza.

Pickleman's Gourmet Cafe is located at 1106 E. Broadway in Columbia, MO. You can reach them at (573) 875-2400, for more information check out their web-site (click on the title link).

If somebody else is paying.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Binge Part 6, unplanned Bonus.

I get a call Wednesday afternoon from a friend asking if I want to go out for dinner today. He wanted to go to Dewey's Pizza. I Couldn't say no... That's how Part 6 of the Binge came about.

On the menu was a Greek salad, Peppercorn Ranch salad and a large pizza with half Socrates' Revenge (keeping with the Greek theme) and half Southwest BBQ Chicken.

I have reviewed Dewey's Pizza last fall so I won't give this visit a full review, but will go into more detail about the pizza in the near future, when I get caught up...


Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Binge Part 5.

Stop 5, The 2009 Pizza Files Summer Binge, ahead of schedule.

Today's second Pizza came from G&D Pizzaria in Columbia, MO. I reviewed G&D back in March, if you want read it click Here. On the menu was the Art Salad with ranch dressing (they have a salad bar), a Country Music pizza and a pizza with Pepperoni, Gyro, Ham and Onions.

I'm starting to run a little behind, I've been eating more pizza than I have time to write about. It will take a while but I'll get it done sooner or later


The Binge Part 4, unplanned Bonus.

Stop 4, The 2009 Pizza Files Summer Binge gets another unplanned Bonus!

Today's Pizza came from Pickleman's Gourmet Cafe in Columbia, MO. On the menu today was a Garden Chop Salad with chipotle ranch dressing, a Asiago Chicken pizza and a pizza with Pepperoni, Ham and Onions.

I'm starting to run a little behind, I've been eating more pizza than I have time to write about. It will take a while but I'll get it done sooner or later


Friday, June 12, 2009

Napoli Pizza, Closed - For Sale.

Today is a sad day for pizza lovers in St. Peters.

When I opened my email this morning I was shocked. The subject line on my first email read: "Napoli Pizza is FOR SALE". I'm on Napoli's email list and normally I get one every week or two with special offers. I was saddened to see today's offer.

The email when on to say that for financial reasons Napoli must close and that they are looking for a buyer immediately. If you are seriously interested in purchasing or no someone who might be send Scott an email at

Good luck to you Scott.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Frank and Helen's

Frank and Helen's Pizzeria was opened for business in 1956 by Frank Seitz, his wife Betty and his sister Helen. The Pizzeria moved to its present location in 1965. Frank & Helen's is still a family owned and operated pizzeria, but is on it's 3rd husband and wife team, not bad for 50+ years. I have eaten at Frank & Helen's on numerous occasions since I was about 5 years old, but I don't recall ever eating pizza there. I'm not from St. Louis, so the early years would have been one visit a year if that. I the 20 years that I've lived in St. Louis I might have eaten there once or twice a year, and on those occasions my family went there to eat the Broasted Chicken.

My pizza eating grew from the 2009 Binge Part 2 said to me "we are going to Frank & Helen's for chicken do you want to go, they have pizza?". So that's how Frank & Helen's became the Binge Part 3. It's also why my behind is so sore, I've been kicking my self for not having ate their pizza sooner!

Frank & Helen's is a full service Italian restaurant. Besides Pizza their menu includes Soups, Salads, Antipasti, Sandwiches, Pasta, Dinner Specials and of course their famous Broasted Chicken. For pizza you can choose from extra thin, thin or thick crust. There are six different sauces and 4 kinds of cheese to choose from, along with a large selection of regular and specialty ingredients.

We started with a Casa Salad and House Creamy Garlic dressing. The large salad easily splits 2 ways, it could be a meal in its self. The House dressing was very good with a nice garlic bite to it. For pizza we ordered a large 18" thin crust with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, meat balls and red onions. The pizza looked to have been cooked with out pan or screen just as it should and was cut on the square. The first thing I noticed was the crust, ti is very unique, similar to hand tossed but with out the large bread sick handle. The crust was crispy around the edge and dark golden brown across the bottom. There was plenty of cheese and the topping were there in adequate quantity's. The marinara sauce was quite good, but I do look forward to a return visit to try the regular sauce and the olive oil sauce. It was very difficult to make my self stop eating, but I did manage to bring a box home. The pizza held up very well to the toaster over, and was very satisfying for supper the next evening.

The pizza was excellent and I would have no problem paying for it again, in fact Frank and Helen's is near the top of my return visit list. They have been around for over 50 years so you know they are doing it right. Frank and Helen's is located at 8111 Olive Street Rd in University City, MO. You can reach them at (314) 997-0666 or check out their web-site by clicking the title link.

Highly Recommended.



A'mis Italian Restaurant has been making pizza since 1981, they have two locations, St. Louis (Rockhill) and O'Fallon, MO. A'mis is a full service Italian restaurant dine-in, carry-out and delivery of the full menu. The menu includes salads, sandwiches, pasta, steaks, dinner specialties and 4 types of pizza. You can choose from St. Louis, New York, New York Manhattan (Big Slice) and Chicago Deep Dish. All but the St. Louis come with mozzarella cheese, the St. Louis comes with a mix of mozzarella and provel. You can get pizza by the slice from 11a.m. to 4p.m. from their luncheon specials. I had two criteria when I was researching pizza joints for the Binge; 1. the pizza joint should be locally owned and operated. 2. That they not have just St. Louis Style pizza. A'mis fit right in.

We started off and split a Ami's Salad with the House dressing, a creamy Italian. As the menu states, it's "a meal in itself". Split 4 ways was just about right. The home made creamy Italian house dressing was excellent, as was the rest of the salad, which included; lettuce, boiled eggs, Roma tomatoes, salami, ham, cheese homemade croutons, olives and small but very spicy peppers.

My dining companions on the stop are St. Louis pizza fiend so we had to get one Medium St Louis style. It was cut on the square and had pepperoni, hamburger and fresh mushrooms (their choice of toppings). The St Louis pizza fiends all agreed that it was one of the better pizzas they have had. I had 3 pieces and the first thing I noticed was the crust, I'm not sure how to explain it but it was better than your run of the mill St Louis style. I couldn't really tell a difference in the cheese, maybe with a provel only pizza for comparison that would be different. I'm only willing to say it was better than you typical Imo's pizza. May be with mozzarella cheese I would be willing to pay for it.

for the second pizza we ordered a large New York style with peperoni, hamburger and onion. I was a little disappointed that A'mis didn't offer Canadian bacon or ham as a topping. I can't remember the last time I was in a pizza joint that didn't have one or the other. I much prefer thinly sliced Canadian bacon, but thinly sliced ham is also OK. The crust quite good, was golden brown and needed some support for the first few bites. The bottom showed a small grid pattern across some but not all of it as though it was partially cooked on a screen, the menu states "Pizza on Bricks". No matter it was still good. The sauce was good but, there was just a bit more than I would have prefer ed. The cheese and toppings tasted great and were present in adequate quantity's, although one slice had very little cheese. The left overs from the New York pizza were quite good the next day. The St Louis pizza doesn't get the same mileage and never left the restaurant.

The dinning room is small, but big enough to keep you from bumping into your neighbor. The waitress were friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive. Overall the food was very good and yes "I would pay for it again". Our bill was just under $60 plus tip for 4 people. A'mis is located at 9824 Manchester Road in St Louis, MO. You can reach them at (314) 963-1822 or check out their web-site by clicking the title link.



Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Binge Part 3, unplanned Bonus.

Stop 3, The 2009 Pizza Files Summer Binge gets an unplanned Bonus!

The Crew of Pizza eaters from Part 2 said "We're going to Frank and Helen's on Sunday, they have pizza, you want to go?" It was a no-brainer.

So today's Pizza came from Frank and Helen's Pizzeria in University City, MO. On the menu today was a House Salad with the House dressing, large thin crust pizza with Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, Meatballs and Red Onions. Let me just say I was very impressed. Oh, there was some Broasted Chicken on the table also.

It will take a few days to put my thoughts together on Frank and Helen's as I'm still working on Part 2. I'll get it done because next weekend I will be eating pizza in Columbia, MO at least twice.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Binge Part 2

Stop 2, The 2009 Pizza Files Summer Binge continues...

Today's Pizza came from A'mis Italian Restaurant in Rockhill, MO. On the menu today was a Ami's Salad with the House dressing, large New York Style Pizza with Pepperoni, Hamburger and Onions and a St Louis Style pizza with Pepperoni, Hamburger and Mushrooms. My eating companions are big in St Louis style so I had to do it...

After the pizza was gone we went down the road a short distance and had Small gelato at Gelato Di Riso. I had half Strawberry and half Marscarpone. The gelato was gone before I knew what happened so no photo's.

It will take a day or two to collect my thoughts on A'mis so check back soon. Next weekend I will be eating pizza in Columbia, MO at least twice.


Friday, June 5, 2009

"When I come to America, pizza is my happiness"

"When I come to America, pizza is my happiness"

Takeru Kobayashi stated after eating 5 3/4 pounds of Pizza Hut P'Zones in six minutes. His closest competitor came in at 5 1/2 pounds.

No word on what the prize was, but hopefully it included some Tums...

The event will air on the Spike TV "Guys' Choice" show on June 21.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Napoli Pizza (part 2)

Back in February I reviewed Napoli Pizza, and stated I would be visiting them again in the near future. Well the future is here and it corresponds perfectly with the 2009 Pizza Files Summer Binge. I won't go into great detail about Napoli in this post (see my previous post or Napoli Pizza web-site), I'm just going to stick to what we ate.

First up was the House Salad. Its a tossed salad and includes iceberg and romaine lettuce, mozzarella, artichokes, red onion, diced red pepper tomatoes and pepperoncinis with there House dressing. The House dressing is an Anchovy Italian. That one word can put quite a few people off, but it is their loss if they pass on the House dressing. I have found anchovy based dressing to be quite good and Napoli's House Dressing is no exception. The lettuce was fresh and crisp, the tomatoes too. I could make a meal out of the House salad alone. I really like the idea of the tossed salad, I always make a big mess and usually end up with to much dressing when I have to mix it up.

Next up was the pizza, more specifically Sweet Marinara sauce pizza. The menu shows three different combination for Marinara Pizzas. I asked to have my standard (pepperoni, Canadian bacon, meat balls and red onions) to be made with Marinara sauce. With out a comparison regular slice I didn't detect the difference until I had almost reached the end of the slice, where there is typically a little extra sauce. With a side by side comparison (we also had a pepperoni and hamburger pizza with regular sauce) the sweetness was evident from the first bite. If you were to ask me which I liked best I'm not sure I could tell you. You have to at least try it once, you might get hooked. I will just have to get more than one pizza on future visits. As with my previous visit the crust and toppings were excellent.

Last but not least the Pizza Nutella. Nutella is a hazelnut & chocolate spread that can be found in most supermarkets next to the peanut butter. It's my understanding that Nutella is quite popular in Europe and is pretty much spread on anything you can eat. Personally I think a bag of shortbread cookies goes quite well with it, but that's another story and a bit off topic. Back to the pizza, the pizza Nutella consist of a pizza crust, that I believe may have been pre-baked slightly, Nutella, cannoli cream and a good shake of powdered sugar. There were 3 of us attending the Binge and our comments ran the gamut, but at the end of the day it was all gone, with all having had more than one slice. In a word "Blissful". If I have any say in my next birthday, I will be dinning at Napoli Pizza and will have Pizza Nutella instead of cake.

So far I have found one fatal flaw with Napoli, The pizza is so good I don't think I will ever make it to the other side of the menu. But then again this is The Pizza Files.

Napoli Pizza is located at 7114 Mexico Rd at Mid Rivers Mall Dr in St Peters, MO. You can reach them at (636) 397-7499, for more information check out their web-site(click on the title link).

Same as before Highly Recommended.