Hot Spot: Pi
Pis new CWE location combines a cool, cosmopolitan vibe with delicious eats and creative cocktails
With the opening of Pi in the Central West End, things have finally come full circle for Chris Sommers. The new locationin the former Sapphire Pan Asian space, now gutted and merged with the shuttered Poshwas the original location Sommers had hoped to get when he had wanted to open his first Pi. Two years and two successful restaurants later, Pis third location has found a home in the CWE.
If youve been to all three Pi restaurants, the distinguishing characteristics of each are obvious something Sommers and his business partner Frank Uible carefully concepted. Theres clearly a cosmopolitan vibe at the Central West End Pi; the space is open with warm wood tones and a large bar. An intimate lounge area sits on a second story overlooking the bar, which features an extensive whisky list, eco-friendly wines and local craft beers. Cocktails are a focus here; Sommers has enlisted sommelier Chad George, whose knack for wines nuances provides a handy insight when hes concocting the libations at Pi. Take the Infinite Potential, a bubbly blend of maison surrene petite champagne cognac with apricot liqueur and house made simple syrup. If you prefer something heavier, the Brazilian Dollar Drink combines cachaca and aperol, made with organic maple syrup. Much of the menu calls for organic vodkas, liqueurseven syrup and milk, a growing trend in the cocktail industry and among mixologists.
Pi is known for many things; its unique cornmeal crust, President Obamas visit, eco-consciousness and its status as one of St. Louis few green restaurants. But I also consider Sommers to be uniquely customer conscious as well, offering gluten-free crust and beer options as well as vegan cheese and meats at all locations. Theres even a vegan dessert, the sticky toffee cake, created by pastry chef Mathew Rice. Known formerly for his heavenly creations at Niche, Rice now brings his talents to Pi, making post-pizza options like milk chocolate semifreddo served with a homemade marshmallow and grahams and scarlet orange sherbet push pops, a delicious ode to the childhood ice cream truck favorite.
As for the pie, expect the same deep-dish and thin cornmeal-crust favorites like the Southside Classico topped with Berkshire pork sausage, mushrooms and bell peppers or the Bucktown, one of my go-to options, with hormone-free roasted Amish chicken, artichokes, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and green olives. Paying homage to the third Pis location, the Central West Ends menu includes a few new offerings, including the Euclidean, a Greek salad with artichoke hearts, feta, red peppers and yogurt dressing, and the Central West End thin-crust pizza, topped with mozzarella, prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, arugula and goat cheese. Both pizzas are nice additions to the menujust like Pis third location is a great addition to the neighborhood. Three seems to be Sommers magic number in more ways than one.
Where to go
400 N. Euclid Ave., Central West End 314.367.4300 Appetizers: $4-$11; Pizza: $16-$23 Lunch & dinner daily
Photo credit: Photos by Jennifer Silverberg