Located directly across from the Schnuck’s that DJGel and I regularly shop at, Katie’s Pizzeria in Clayton has always been a tempting place to stop, especially since we had heard great things about their pizza.
The upscale pizza joint is a little on the pricey side, however, and while the food has received rave reviews, we had heard plenty of warnings about the service. So despite its convenient location and the fact it had been on our list of places to visit for quite awhile, we hadn’t actually made it in to eat there until this past week.
Katie’s menu is on the short side and features a selection of appetizers, salads and pizzas – most of which are a bit exotic and made with unique ingredients like fingerling potatoes, pancetta, prosciutto and other similarly gourmet toppings. You won’t find your typical pepperoni pizza here or even customizable pizzas, so if you’re picky, be sure to check out the menu ahead of time.
We were a little intimidated by the prices on Katie’s website, which range from $13.95 – $20.50 – especially considering the pizzas come in only one small size (12 inches). We were pleasantly surprised, however, when we discovered that the pizzas were actually cheaper than advertised and the website was apparently outdated. Yes, Katie’s advertises prices ABOVE what her pizza actually costs.
Our pizzas, advertised on the website’s menu at $16.95 and $15.95, were actually $15.50 and $14.50 respectively. I’d advise Katie to do some updating on her website since high prices are one thing that will keep diners away in this economy (though the pizzas are still not cheap).
Beer prices were also on the high side, but Katie is obviously listening to her customers because they have since introduced a new Wednesday beer special – $1 Peroni draughts from 8 pm – 11 pm.
If prices still seem too high for such a small pizza, Katie’s also has a lunch special available that includes a small salad and a smaller 8 inch pizza of your choice for $11.95. Still pricey, but considering the amount of high quality toppings you receive on each pizza and the fact that you aren’t limited in your pizzas choices, makes this a pretty good deal – plus you also receive warm bread, which for some odd reason, you don’t receive at dinner time.
An Extra Bonus – Katie’s has now introduced FREE pizza delivery, a rare phenomenon in St. Louis. They’ll deliver to Richmond Heights, Clayton, Maplewood, Dogtown, Brentwood, University City and parts of the Central West End – all for no additional charge.
So what did we think of the place? Check it out after the jump!
The restaurant itself has a nice vibe and is extremely eclectic in its decor – as though Katie had gone to a few yard sales and bought whatever suited her fancy. While our table was solid wood and had cushioned seats, the diners next to ate at a metal formica table that looked straight out of the 1950′s. The rest of the decor was similarly unmatched but gave the place a quirky feel. A large screen above the bar played an old movie and a smaller TV played an episode of South Park – a little something for everyone, I guess. We were seated near a large rowdy table which made it hard to hear at times, but all in all, the atmosphere of the place was extremely pleasant.
For every good thing I have heard about Katie’s pizza, I have heard another comment about how terrible the service is, so we came in with low expectations in that regard. There were a few slip-ups: I had to remind the waitress to bring me my drink, we had to request napkins and silverware, and the pizza took a little longer than I would have liked to arrive, but the problems were fixed quickly, the server was attentive with refills, and very friendly. No hour long waits or surly servers for us.
Since the pizzas are on the small side, we decided on two, one with sauce and one without – the basic Quattro Formaggio pizza with a mix of mozzarella, ricotta salata, gorgonzola, and fontina and a white pizza with prosciutto, apples and fontina cheese.
The prosciutto pizza (pictured to the right) arrived first and appearance-wise looked a little bland and colorless but one bite had both of us raving over it. The Neopolitan style crust was thin, light, crispy and had just a bit of char on it to add to the taste – a definite hit. For many, I’m sure the prosciutto and fontina combo would be too salty, since the apples do very little to cut that saltiness, but we are big fans of prosciutto and don’t mind a little salt so this pizza really hit the spot. I would have liked the apple slices to be a bit thicker or juicier because their sweetness was overwhelmed by the prosciutto and while the pizza was excellent, I think it could have risen to another level.
In addition to one of their fancier pizzas, we also ordered the quattro formaggio (pictured at top) to get an idea of what their basic cheese pizza tasted like. To me, the overall effect of these four cheeses and a sauce that was both sweet and on the chunkier side was almost pasta-like, as though someone had scraped off the top layer of a lasagna dish and placed it on top of that same delicious Neopolitan style pizza crust. Not necessarily a bad thing – my favorite part of any lasagna dish is that top layer, but something about the taste of this pizza just said “pasta” rather than “pizza” to me, with the exception of one piece that was heavy on the gorgonzola. If I could have made one alteration, it would have been to sub in regular ricotta in place of the ricotta salata (a saltier, crumbly form of ricotta) because I love those little unmelted round blobs of creaminess more than just about any other pizza topping.
Our total bill came to $38.46 after tax for the two small pizzas, a diet coke and a Sam Adams, which is a little more than I like to spend on pizza. We did, however, have 5 pieces leftover to take home (all of which reheated nicely). In the future, I will probably lean towards the more exotic sauce-less pizzas to get the most bang for my buck and try to hit up their lunch special, but on the whole, I’d agree with the people who rave about Katie’s and didn’t find the service to be too off-putting. Perhaps they’re making some adjustments and improvements in that respect!