During my short, but extremely fun trip to St. Louis I learned a few things about the city. Quite possibly the most important thing I learned was the love of Imo’s, a chain pizza joint found only in the state. As a New Yorker, I’m a harsh critic when it comes to pizza. Thin crust, great sauce and lots of cheese, that’s all I really need.
On my first night, my friend Liz took serious initiative in exposing me to the local favorite. Out of towner’s either love or hate Imo’s but locals were brought up on the stuff. St. Louis native Jon Hamm adamantly defended his favoritism on Jimmy Kimmel, a YouTube clip that is now the pride of Missouri.
We ordered a half-green pepper and onion, half-sausage and bacon, along with a side of Toasted Rav. All of this terminology was completely new to me.
Okay, so here’s what you need to know. Toasted Rav (aka Toasted Ravioli) is filled with meat! First shocker of the dining experience.
It’s breaded and fried to a golden brown and then smothered in marinara sauce. A dusting of Parmesan acts as the only cheese, which surprised me because I generally associate ravioli with cheesy goodness. These suckers are addictive and I am extremely thankful that the Midwest does not regulate calorie counts on all fast food items.
Let’s talk Imo’s famous pizza.
Famously sliced into thin rectangular slices (similar to Pokey Sticks, and way smaller then sicilian), the pizza has an extremely thin, almost cracker like crust. Instead of traditional mozzarella, they use a Provel cheese, which is only found in St. Louis. It’s a bit described as a mix between cheddar, provolone and swiss and fondly compared to a melted, gooey Cheez Whiz.
The bacon on top is ridiculous, super crispy and thinly cut before being smothered in the Provel cheese. Those squares with bacon happened to be my favorite, and I’m not a crazy bacon lover (*gasp*).
I’m a New Yorker through and through, and definitely prefer a nice New York style slice, but when you come out West, gotta eat like the locals. And Imo’s is pretty damn special to St. Louis.
Imo’s Pizza – St. Louis, MO