Nine miles south of downtown St. Louis, there’s an unassuming white building that blends seamlessly into the surrounding residential neighborhood. What stands out is the delicious smell of piping hot pizza sauce wafting out of its basement. Here, you’ll find St. Louis-style pizza at its finest — one of the most controversial pizza styles.
St. Louis-style pizza is also one of the oldest styles of American pizza. Monte Bello Pizzeria claims to be the oldest St. Louis-style pizza joint in the city. It’s served pies with cracker-thin crust and edge-to-edge toppings out of its WWII-era oven since 1950. The restaurant’s walls are covered in murals that were painted by a customer who was paid in beer, according to co-owner Tonya Buechel, and the tables are draped with the same style of red and white checkered tablecloths that were there on opening day.