Missouri Eats: Melo’s Pizzeria

When Blues City Deli owner Vince “Vinnie” Valenza acquired the building that houses his popular sandwich shop, he and his son Joey immediately started cooking up ideas for how to make use of the adjacent garage. Initially, that meant experimenting with bread baking, but Joey’s newfound passion led to another craft: pizza making. Named after Vinnie’s father and enthusiastic pizzaiolo, Carmelo, Melo’s Pizzeria highlights the family’s Italian-American roots with Neapolitan-inspired pies.

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The phrase “St. Louis the King” adorns the bite-sized restaurant’s larger-than-life, imported brick oven. Weighing in at 5,500 pounds, the wood-fired centerpiece of the space bakes five kinds of housemade pizzas at nearly 1,000°F, yielding a pleasantly charred crust topped with fresh tomato sauce and bubbly cheese.

A staff favorite, The Dom, is a New York-style take on Neapolitan pizza with tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, basil, extra virgin olive oil, mozzarella and Grana Padano. Best enjoyed immediately, the 12-inch pizzas come cut into four pieces ready to fold and eat, giving hungry St. Louisans yet another reason to frequent one of Benton Park’s most beloved spots.

Written and photographed by Mabel Suen. This article appears courtesy of Feast Magazine. Feast Magazine is dedicated to broadening the conversation about food and engaging a large, hungry audience of food lovers.

Melo’s Pizzeria, 2438 McNair Ave., Benton Park, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.833.4489, melospizzeria.com

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