A St. Louis Restaurateur Crafts An Outdoor Patio Oasis

Katie Collier, co-owner and head chef of Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria in St. Louis, has become well known for serving rustic, handmade Italian pastas and artisan pizzas, no stranger to the adrenaline of a lunch or dinner rush. But it is in the quiet space of solving a creative problem that her sensibilities surface in different ways, most recently through her penchant for clean, yet warm design, as evidenced by the outdoor patio at Katie’s Pizza and Pasta.

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The updated patio highlights handmade wooden furniture made by St. Louis-based craftsman Goebel & Co., surrounded by planters that house fresh herbs and vegetables the kitchen staff uses for recipes. Collier also developed a new outdoor bar, where guests can listen to live music five nights a week and enjoy some of their newest cocktails. “We added a dill-cucumber mule, a fresh-pressed watermelon-juice cocktail, an arugula-and-fennel cocktail,” she says. “We’re always trying to evolve.” Try it out for a night, and you’ll likely catch her bringing dishes to awaiting guests herself.

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Upon tucking into a watermelon salad—with watercress, ricotta salata and oil-cured meatballs, handmade pappardelle, gluten-free spaghetti with meatballs and toasted pine nuts, or a pear pizza with prosciutto and fontina—it’s clear that Collier has a knack for creating a mood that is specific and cohesive, but not exclusionary. Casual couples, partners out for a business lunch, young families buttoned up in their Sunday best and everyone in between can find a momentary home in Collier’s imaginative realization, with fare that draws its influences from cultures and countries all over the world.

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“This spring, we’re starting to use South American and Asian ingredients, or really obscure Italian ingredients and preparing them differently, in ways people aren’t used to,” she says. “The idea was to get creative with this menu and try to make it interesting. But the most important part is that it tastes good.” Collier is also preparing to launch Vero, a pasta meal-kit service which will empower customers with the ability and ingredients to make her dishes themselves at home. She has also brokered a partnership with Operation Food Search, and to fulfill its terms, she will donate an emergency meal to a St. Louis child in need for every meal kit sold.

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Collier’s commitment to constant growth in the slippery slope of the hospitality industry has awakened the skillful renaissance woman within her. But, as she says: “I think it’s just an insatiable feeling to always get better and always listen to our guests and our employees and see what works and what doesn’t work, so that we can improve every year. And, I’m surrounded by family and friends doing it with me, and that’s really satisfying.”

For more information about Katie’s latest creation, check out Vero, where you can order delicious pizza and pasta meal kits to be delivered right to your door.

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Photography by Elizabeth Wiseman

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