Last month a work trip for a conference brought me to St. Louis for a few days. I had been to St. Louis when I was younger, but it didn’t make much of a lasting impression on me. My hotel was right across the street from the Arch, which was much more impressive than I had remembered. I liked that you could come around a corner and BAM it was just right there and filling up the skyline.
The night before the conference started a couple friends/co-workers and I were looking for a place to do dinner downtown. My uncle had recommended a BBQ restaurant and my friends had come across a highly rated Mexican restaurant. Looking at the Mexican restaurant’s menu, I read “carne asade fries” (a huge favorite from San Diego) and I was so in. Unfortunately it showed up as a 25 minute drive away when we Googled it and we were car-less (and unfortunately we didn’t discover another, closer location until the end of our trip). The Mexican restaurant seemed to be on the way back to the airport, so we planned to do that on our last day. The BBQ restaurant wasn’t as far away driving, but still was not conveniently close, so we looked for something within walking distance.
My first step when looking for restaurants on trips is always to look for gluten-free options (usually on Yelp). This time one of my friends with me was also gluten-free, so it was the right start for sure. Something listed as gluten-free, close, and with good reviews was Pi Pizza. After realizing the cons to making the long trek to the Mexican restaurant, my friends agreed with Pi.
Pi Pizza was a few blocks from our hotel. The streets were a little deserted, which seemed to be common at night near where we were staying, but there seemed to be more restaurants and things going on closer to Pi. There was outdoor seating, but since we’re from Miami that seemed like a crazy idea to us in late October. Pi Pizza had a cool vibe that all of us noticed and commented on. From the outside it was walls of windows looking in. Then inside there was a big cool bar in the middle of the restaurant and everything seemed sleek and modern.
The group I was with zoomed in first on the cocktails and drinks. The waitress had a few recommendations, including the sangria. I am a pretty big sangria fan, so I was choosing between that and a cider. I went for the sangria, while a friend went for the Pi2, which was vodka, fresh basil, agave nectar, and fresh lime. I was not at all disappointed with my choice in the sangria. The sangria was both red and white wine, rum, peach and raspberry liquors, fresh juices, and cane sugar. It was probably one of the best sangrias I’ve ever had. It tasted a lot just like juice, but not too sweet and you couldn’t really taste much of the alcohol (deceptively so). The others had a sip (and one ordered their own later) and agreed with my raving. We all thought it was a drink you had to be careful of, given how delicious (but potent) it was.
On the gluten-free pizza end, a couple pizzas caught my eye and so I was excited to hear I could do half and half. I went for The Grove (mozzarella, volpi sopressata, red chilies, fresh oregano, spicy tomato sauce) and The Maplewood (mozzarella, house-made spicy italian sausage, cherry peppers, fontina, fresh basil). I was definitely looking for some spice. I liked Pi’s crispy, gluten-free, thin crust pizza. It wasn’t too dry (always a plus) and didn’t feel too flimsy or taste undercooked, which you can find a lot with gluten-free thin crusts. It also wasn’t too charred, which is usually what you need to do, more often than not, to make a good thin crust. Definitely more similar to a regular thin crust than a lot of gluten-free pizzas. On the toppings end it was all really top quality and delicious. The two pizza types (half and half) I had chosen definitely had some heat, which I liked. I think between the two my favorite was The Grove, but I enjoyed both.
My others friends got a gluten-free pizza, with a lot of veggies (custom), and then a deep dish regular pizza. The tasty pizza with high quality toppings was echoed by all. We also had a couple other sangrias and cocktails. I think we were very happy with our choice of Pi Pizza.
A few weeks later one of my friends sent us a picture text of a sign in South Beach announcing Pi Pizza was coming to Miami! I think it will be a solid addition to the Miami gluten-free pizza scene. I would say the crust reminds me of Pizza Rustica’s thin crust (which has grown on me a lot), but has the quality of ingredients of a place like Harry’s Pizza. If you’re looking for top quality pizza, but with a less dry and less wood-fired/charred crust than Harry’s, I think Pi Pizza will be your go-to. I’m also curious to see if Pi Pizza’s location in South Beach has a cool vibe and similar look to the St. Louis location.
Take a look at the pics below. If you’re staying near the Arch in St. Louis, I’d recommend Pi Pizza for a more upscale, but still sit-down, casual dinner. It also seemed to be the best gluten-free option around the Arch and our downtown hotel. Be on the lookout for other locations around St. Louis, one in D.C., one in Cinncinatti, and soon one in Miami (unfortunately this one only opened for a few months before closing…)!
Pi Pizza- (plus other locations mentioned above)
The gluten-free half The Grove, half The Maplewood
The gluten-free with lots of veggies (custom)
The regular deep dish pizza