The Heart Is In The Pizza
The conversations are the first thing you notice when walking into Katie’s Pizza + Pasta Osteria. The space is filled with laughter, chatter had across tables and the busy staff making time and joking around with all the customers. It’s a place that fills up quickly during lunch and dinner, with lines out the door of people wanting to sink their teeth into the freshly made dough used in the artisanal pizzas. Katie Lee and Ted Collier’s story is one most in St. Louis are familiar with–a kickstarter that helped Katie turn her lifelong passion into a reality. And now the story is adding a new chapter to its book with even more delicious recipes and a second location coming soon.
In the beginning, Katie stated that she was the one introducing the area to new and enriching flavors for pizza and pasta–introducing STL to noodles they had never seen previously, like black spaghetti—but now, she states, St. Louis is catching up. “It’s cool to see how far the city has come and how much Italy has influenced the United States and that’s partially because of the internet and social media,” she adds. And social media has been a huge contributor in spreading the word about the different dishes, events and the giving back program Katie is extremely passionate about.
“Giving is a huge part of our model. When there is a chance to give, then give because it comes back. It doesn’t necessarily have to be monetarily, but in other avenues. We try to instill that in our staff and with our customers, like with Give Back Tuesdays and with little things we do along the way. Any time there is an opportunity to give to someone, like if a customer comes in and they’ve had a bad day, you just buy their dinner. It’s just what you do.” The Give Back Tuesday program has been hugely successful with charities scrambling to be part of it and the passion Katie has for charities and STL is felt through each of her dishes.
The passion behind the food is easily seen when Katie begins to describe the ingredients and how the food is prepared. She points behind the wall where her chef stands placing a freshly made pizza into the brick oven, “For three years, every spring I would go to Italy with my mom, who was running the study abroad program for Wash U. I was always into cooking, but I didn’t really fall in love with it until I went to Italy. This was before anyone here knew what prosciutto was. I really fell in love with how each region takes such pride in that regional ingredient, cultivates it and passes it along. It’s really just the best thing ever.” And now, as we sit beside the bar, customers devouring the various types of pasta–including the truffle pasta that seems to be a fan favorite–it is Katie who is the one cultivating key ingredients and passing them down to STL.
Pick up your Good Vibes issue at Katie’s Pizza today.
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