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Oct 19, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Joey Valenza’

Best New Restaurants: No. 10 – Melo’s Pizzeria

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 best new restaurants of 2016.

 

120116_melos

{ dom pizza }

 

Five seats, five menu items and a fire crackling merrily in the oven: This is Melo’s. The small but mighty Italian-American pizza shop is run by the Valenza family – brothers Joey, Johnny and Vinny, and their dad Vince Sr., the owner of Blues City Deli, whom you could call their consigliere.

When Vince finally bought the Blues City building in 2013, it came with a teeny garage, big enough to fit a couple cars, or to give life to Joey’s bread-making hobby turned pizza-making obsession.

Happily, Dad went with the latter, and now we’re obsessed, too. The Dom is our favorite, a simple pizza topped with Grana Padano, sliced garlic, fresh basil, oregano and a glug of extra-virgin olive oil. It’s Neapolitan-style, with a thin, wood-fired crust and a perfectly pure crushed tomato sauce, but has an American twist, mixing fresh mozzarella with drier, shredded mozzarella. This transgression makes for a lower moisture content that keeps the dough from getting too wet.

“It’s more of a familiar flavor for people,” Joey said. “I don’t know if it’s our American taste buds, but we think it tastes better.”

Melo’s formula for an Italian-American pie combines the best of both worlds. We appreciate an edited menu, pared down to the bare, most delicious bones.

 

More about Melo’s Pizzeria

• Hit List: 6 new restaurants you must try this month

• Sneak Peek: Melo’s Pizzeria in Benton Park

The Scoop: Blues City Deli owner to open Melo’s Pizza

Photo by Dave Moore

The Scoop: Blues City Deli owner to open Melo’s Pizza

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

020515_vincevalenza

{Blues City Deli owner Vince Valenza}

 

Aporkalypse pizza? Dreams could come true this summer when Blues City Deli owner Vince Valenza opens Melo’s Pizza behind his popular Benton Park sandwich shop at 2438 McNair Ave.

Valenza announced the new wood-fired pizzeria yesterday, Feb. 4. “We think it’s just a really great corner and doing this will cause more excitement,” he said. “It will be a nice mix with what the deli has.”

After taking ownership of the building in December 2013, Valenza began pondering what to do with the garage behind the shop. When his son, Joey Valenza, began experimenting with pizzas in his spare time, his father saw an opportunity. Melo’s, which is named for Vince Valenza’s father, will serve wood-fired pizzas from the renovated garage, soon to be outfitted with a pizza oven imported from Naples. “We’re going to throw our own little twist,” he said. “With respect to the Neapolitan approach to dough, that’s what we’ll use … We’ll do our own Blues City Deli accents.”

Melo’s will have separate ordering and pickup lines, but customers can mingle over sandwiches and slices on the shared patio. Valenza said that the pizzeria’s initial hours would be the same as the deli, including staying open late Thursday evenings, with the possibility of extended hours Friday and Saturday.

Now about that Aporkalypse pizza… “I would not be surprised if we didn’t do something like that,” Valenza said.

-photo by Brian Fagnani

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