St. Louis cuisine

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St. Louis cuisine is the culinary culture of the Greater St. Louis area, which comprises and completely surrounds the independent city of St. Louis (its principal city) and includes parts of both the U.S. states of Missouri and Illinois.

History and composition[edit]

An independent city and a major U.S. port in the state of Missouri, St. Louis has a history going back to an early French settlement in 1764. It is built along the western bank of the Mississippi river, which marks the border of Missouri with Illinois. It was founded by French fur traders and Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, and named after the medieval French King, Louis IX. In 1764, following France's defeat in the Seven Years' War, the Spanish took over only for it to again fall in the hands of the French in 1800. The United States then finally acquired St. Louis as a part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. St. Louis then underwent massive and rapid development when a major port was developed along the banks of the Mississippi river. It was separated from the St. Louis County in 1877 and became an independent city. In 1904, it hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the Summer Olympics.[1]

St. Louis cuisine[edit]

A number of foods are specific to, or known to have originated in St. Louis.[2]

St. Louis-style pizza[edit]

St. Louis has a variation of pizza known as St. Louis-style pizza, which features provel cheese, a very thin crust, and is often square cut.[3]

Gooey butter cake[edit]

A slice of gooey butter cake, garnished with powdered sugar and raspberries

Gooey butter cake is a type of cake traditionally made in, and invented in, St. Louis. It is served locally as a breakfast pastry, though also served as a dessert.

Toasted ravioli[edit]

Toasted ravioli, from The Hill

Toasted ravioli may have originated in Sicily, where fried ravioli containing a sweet filling is a traditional Christmas time dish, commonly referred to as "meat pillows".[4][5] However, most accounts of the first toasted ravioli can be traced to the Italian neighborhood, known as "The Hill", of St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States.

Many claims have been made as to the original creation of toasted ravioli in the United States. One account attributes it to Oldani's in St. Louis. The restaurant was located where Mama's "On The Hill" restaurant is now, on the St. Louis Hill at 2132 Edwards Street. As the story goes, the delicacy was stumbled upon when a ravioli from wholesaler Mama Toscano's was accidentally dropped into the fryer by Chef Fritz. "Mickey Garagiola, older brother of Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Joe Garagiola, was actually at the bar during the mishap and was the first to taste the accidental treat."[6] Shortly after, the item began appearing on menus across "The Hill" neighborhood of St. Louis. Meanwhile, many chefs on The Hill stake their own claims.[7] Another popular claim revolves around Charlie Gitto's "On The Hill" restaurant (then known as "Angelo's"). According to that tale, in 1947, a chef at Angelo's accidentally dropped the pasta into oil instead of water.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Niderost, Eric. "St. Louis Gateway to the Great Beyond." Wild West 14.1 (2001): 42. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 12 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Explore St. Louis Blog – Explore St. Louis". Explore St. Louis. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  3. ^ The Lantern's Core. Northwestern University Library Staff Association. 1990. p. 315. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  4. ^ Rodgers, Rick; Christopher Hirsheimer (1999). Fried & True: Crispy and Delicious Dishes from Appetizers to Desserts. Chronicle Books. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-8118-1606-9.
  5. ^ An article by Linda Cicero ("Cook's Corner: Meet me in St. Louis for `toasted' ravioli") in the 2007-02-07 Miami Herald observed that Linda Stradley's book, I'll Have What They're Having; Legendary Local Cuisine (2002) ISBN 0-7627-1146-9 states that St. Louis is "the only city in the United States to produce this". According to Cicero, Stradley says that toasted ravioli is popular around Christmas.
  6. ^ "History – Mama's on The Hill". Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  7. ^ Glaus, Heidi (March 20, 2013). "Toasted ravioli: Where did it come from?". Multimedia KSDK. Archived from the original on 2013-06-29. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  8. ^ Delano, Patti (2006). Missouri. Globe Pequot. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7627-4203-5.