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Posts Tagged ‘Melo’s Pizzeria’

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.



{ 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

Hit List: 6 new restaurants you must try this month

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016



1. Frankly Sausages: 11841 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, franklysausages.com

Frankly Sausages hit the road this fall and promptly parked it Thursday through Saturday at Six Mile Bridge Beer in Maryland Heights. Owners Bill and Jamie Cawthon serve hand-made sausages to brewery-goers, and there’s no waiting in line. Just grab a table in the tasting room, place your order and artisan sausages and fries are delivered inside. Don’t miss the Six Mile Bridge Session IPA brat, topped with sauerkraut and coarse ground mustard, or the rotating special: chile verde pork sausage with avocado and tomatillo relish, queso fresco, cilantro and lime. All the sausages come nestled in LaBonne Bouchee baguettes. Share (if you must) a side of the hand-cut fries: russet potatoes brined and double-fried with a house-made dipping sauce like the creamy buttermilk ranch.




2. Melo’s Pizzeria: 2438 McNair Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.4489, Facebook: Melo’s Pizzeria

Vince Valenza opened Melo’s Pizzeria in a renovated garage behind his Blues City Deli in Benton Park with the help of his son, self-taught pizzaiolo Joe Valenza. Joe did Dad proud with a tight menu of 12-inch Americanized Neapolitan-style pizzas and named the spicy Veets pizza (which features fontina, sausage and pepperoni) after his father. And don’t miss the salty, fragrant Angelina pizza (named for Joe Valenza’s great-grandmother) which includes green onion, Grana Padano and Romano cheese and optional whole anchovy filets. All pies are baked in a wood-fired oven, resulting in crisp, chewy house-made crust. Order at the counter, then dig in at the standing bar or grab your pizza and take a seat inside Blues City’s dining room.





3. Copper Pig: 4611 Macklind Ave., St. Louis, 314.499.7166, copperpigstl.com

Copper Pig is serving up gastropub fair with Asian influences on Macklind Avenue in Southampton. Grab a seat at the copper-topped bar and order a refreshing, gin-based Socialite cocktail. Start your meal with Copper Pig’s duck confit poutine featuring crispy fries, piping hot gravy and cheese curds. Then check out the Three Little Pigs sandwich, which features bacon, ham and a panko-breaded pork cutlet, stacked high with brie, hot pepper jelly and an egg on lapinja, a chewy Bosnian bread. Larger plates include a bibimbap bowl of tender bulgogi beef, sweet Chinese sausage, pickled carrot and daikon, kimchi, bean sprouts and a sunny egg rest atop a bed of garlic rice.




4. Sheesh Restaurant: 3226 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.833.4321, sheeshrestaurant.com

Kebabs are king at Sheesh on South Grand Boulevard. Don’t miss the Adana kebab (heavily spiced, tender ground lamb served over fragrant rice) or the Iskender kebab (thinly shaved lamb served atop bite-sized pieces of pita and covered with tomato sauce). Start with a bowl of spicy, tomato-based Ezogelin Soup or a sharable side of kibeh, two football-shaped balls of bulgur stuffed with ground beef and walnuts and fried. And be sure to save room for dessert: The flaky pistachio baklava pairs well with a strong cup of Turkish coffee.




5. Gus’s World-Famous Fried Chicken: 7434 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.899.9899, gusfriedchicken.com  

The newest (and busiest, judging from the lines that form around 10:30 a.m.) fried chicken shack in the St. Louis-area came to Maplewood via Memphis. Order two- or three-piece plates of crisp, slightly spicy chicken or half a bird. All plates come with sides of baked beans, creamy cole slaw and a slice of white bread. While you wait for your bird, start with tangy fried green tomatoes or poppable fried okra. For dessert, indulge in the sweet satisfaction of chocolate chess pie.




6. Yo! Salsa: 2 W. Pearce Blvd., Wentzville, 636.856.8444, yolosmex.com

Firmly planted in downtown Wentzville, the brick-and-mortar expansion of Yo! Salsa food truck welcomes diners craving big flavor at truck prices. Build your own tacos or salad and choose from 10 proteins such as chorizo and fried sweet potato or the achiote-grilled mahimahi, which is well spiced without searing your taste buds. Larger entrees are amply portioned dishes developed and honed on the truck. Try the shrimp and creamy poblano grits featuring large Gulf shrimp, bell peppers and spicy chorizo. While you nosh, sip a top-shelf, house-made margarita at a pocket-pleasing $7.


-photos by Michelle Volansky



Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

From a fried chicken frenzy in Maplewood to the final pitstop for a 4-year-old food truck, here’s everything that went down in the St. Louis food scene last week, in case you missed it…





1. Fried chicken fervor has yet to cool after the first St. Louis-area Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken opened to the public in Maplewood.

2.  The Dark Room has tapped chef Samantha Pretto to take the reins in Midtown after a menu revamp in November.




3. St. Louisans can grabbed their last big fat sushi roll during Chop Shop STL’s final service on Dec. 10, but the truck will not side idle for long.

4. Chef-owner Anthony Ellerson Jr. has brought a taste of New Orleans to Washington Avenue. The Kitchen Sink’s second location opened at 626 N. Sixth St., around the corner from the Mercantile Exchange.




5. Joe Valenza, the son of Blues City Deli owner Vince Valenza, is stoking the wood-fired pizza ovens of Melo’s Pizzeria.  Valenza plans to begin serving pizzas from the garage-turned-pizza shop Dec. 18.

6. From cocktails to sandwiches to egg rolls, we’ve got 10 delicious deals and sweet treats available now on Budget Crunch.

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