6 Ways to Feel Italian While Checking Out the New Piazza Imo on The Hill
The newly opened Piazza Imo is a tribute to the families of The Hill in St. Louis, the iconic Italian neighborhood founded more than 100 years ago. The piazza is filled with ornate religious statues, plaques and trees dedicated to loved ones, tables topped with chess and, most notably, a beautiful marble fountain in the center. The 11,000-square-foot Italian-inspired piazza was built by St. Ambrose Church on Marconi Avenue.
1. Each day should begin with caffeine—start with a macchiato, the official Italian coffee drink, at Shaw’s Coffee, a neighborhood staple since 1999. As breakfast is the most important meal of the day, pick up a pastry that jumped out the 1950s from Missouri Baking Company or Vitale’s Bakery.
2. For lunch, head to one of the time-honored delis in the neighborhood and order a smattering of sandwiches, Italian salads, pasta salad, potato salad and soups passed down through generations. Stop by Adriana’s, a corner lunch spot still run by Adriana herself; Gioia’s, a 100-year-old St. Louis standby for hot salami; Joe Fassi Sandwich Factory, a 90-year-old sausage and sandwich company; Caleco’s, a quaint sit-down spot with checkered tablecloths; or Eovaldi’s, a no-frills sandwich shop famous for its gravy-doused Sicilian Bomber.
3. When it’s time for happy hour, you’ll be called to Milo’s Bocce Garden, a lively tavern with two bocce courts and an expansive outdoor patio. Be mindful of the long-standing leagues and their scheduled games Monday through Thursday nights. If you arrive from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, enjoy $2.75 domestic longnecks. Snack on the acclaimed wings, meatballs and sauce, antipasti tray for two and an assortment of fried bar food. Or drop by the old-school Italian-American joint, Rigazzi’s, which has been open since 1957. For $5, order the house draft fishbowl of Bud, Bud Light, Miller Light or Select.
4. Stop by any one of the Italian markets for specialty cheese, housemade pasta, freshly sliced deli meats and sausages, sardines, sauces and so much more. Visit DiGregorio’s Italian Market, Volpi Foods or John Viviano & Sons Grocer.
5. For a proper Italian dinner consisting of housemade pasta and sauce, bountiful bread baskets, crispy arancini, table wine and tiramisu, head to Charlie Gitto’s, Mama’s on the Hill, Lorenzo’s Trattoria, J. Devoti Trattoria, Gian-Tony’s or Dominic’s, Zia’s or Favazza’s.
6. For dessert, end the day with a grande order of stracciatella (chocolate chip), dulce di leche or biscotti crunch gelato at Gelato Di Riso.
Images courtesy of Joey Pisciotta.