What Makes St. Louis-Style Pizza So Unique?

St. Louis is a city in Missouri that sits along the Mississippi River. The city is known for a number of things — being home to the 1904 World's Fair, its Major League Baseball and National Hockey League teams, and for the Gateway Arch. If you visit the city, there's another thing you might realize it's also known for, and that's serving St. Louis-style pizza.

Although you can get Chicago or New York-style pizza throughout the country, you probably haven't even heard of St. Louis-style pizza, never mind finding it on pizzeria menus in other cities. That's partly because the type of cheese that's used on the pies isn't widely available outside of the metropolitan area. The cheese isn't the only thing that sets St. Louis-style pizza apart from other pies. It stands out for a few reasons, including the type of crust, an abundance of toppings, and the unusual way it's cut, according to Feast Magazine.

Thin crust and Provel cheese

For pizza, the crust is akin to the foundation on a house. If the crust is floppy, the entire structure is compromised. St. Louis-style pizzas are made on an ultra thin, almost cracker-like crust. As noted by Serious Eats, this is achieved by using an unleavened dough, which is the opposite of almost every other pizza dough, but it makes for a sturdy foundation. Every inch of that foundation is covered by toppings and with no surface wasted for a crust. St. Louis-style pizza means toppings that go from edge to edge, per Pizza Need.

While mozzarella is commonly used on other pies, that's not the case for St. Louis-style pizza. The cheese favored in St. Louis is Provel, a processed blend of cheddar, provolone, and Swiss. Finally, the pizza is cut into squares rather than the more traditional wedge-shaped slice. According to Travel Awaits, this is because the founder of Imo's Pizza, one of the city's oldest pizzeria chains, was a tile cutter by day and when it came time to serve and slice his pizzas, he did so in a way that was familiar to him. 

So, the next time you find yourself in the St. Louis, grab a square slice and enjoy the flavor you'll only experience in the Gateway City.