Foods Born in St. Louis


St. Louis Originals

  • Toasted Ravioli invented in 1943 or 1944 at Oldani's on “The Hill”, a predominantly Italian neighborhood, though others also claim the invention. As the story goes, the delicacy was stumbled upon when a raviolo was accidentally dropped into the fryer by Chef Fritz. "Mickey Garagiola, older brother of Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer, Joe Garagiola, was actually at the bar during the mishap and was the first to taste the accidental treat.
  • Gooey butter cake - legend has it that in the 1930s a German baker got the proportions wrong (reversing the proportions of sugar and flour) and the rest is history - available at most area bakeries and grocery stores.  
    The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission includes a recipe for the cake on its website, calling it "one of St. Louis' popular, quirky foods"; the recipe calls for a bottom layer of butter and yellow cake batter, and a top layer made from eggscream cheese, and, in one case, almond extract. The cake is dusted with confectioner's sugar before being served. 
  • Pork Steaks - Pork butt sliced as a steak, often Bar-B-Qued - a cook at home favorite.  St. Louis is said to consume more barbecue sauce per capita than any other city in the nation. St. Louis-style barbecue sauce is described as a "very sweet, slightly acidic, sticky, tomato-based barbecue sauce.
  • The Concrete - Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (Ice Cream) mixed with candy, fruit, and/or nuts. "concrete" - custard blended with any combination of dozens of ingredients, served in a large yellow cup with a spoon and straw. The mixture is so thick that a spoon inserted into the custard does not fall if the cup is inverted. A history dates back to 1929.
  • Peanut Butter - In 1890, an unknown St. Louis physician encouraged a food products company owner, George A. Bayle Jr., to process and package ground peanut paste as a nutritious protein substitute for people with poor teeth who couldn't chew meat. Peanut paste was sold for six cents per pound.
  • The Slinger -  Breakfast of champions.  The Slinger is considered to be a St. Louis late-night culinary original. It is described as "a hometown culinary invention: a mishmash of meat, hash-fried potatoes, eggs, and chili, sided with your choice of ham, sausage, bacon, hamburger patties, or an entire T-bone steak.
  • Provel cheese - Developed as a shelf-stable cheese often found as topping for the next entry (St. Louis style Pizza), it's name may lead some to think it is a shorthand name for provolone.  It is in fact a processed cheese of cheddar, swiss and provolone. Provel is rarely used elsewhere.
  • St. Louis style Pizza - A thin crusted pizza with Provel ™ Cheese, slices cut into rectangles instead of the pie-like wedges typical of many pizza styles.
  • Brain Sandwich - sandwich with sliced calves' brains on sliced bread.  Became popular in St. Louis after the rise of the city's stockyards in the late 1880s, although demand there has so dwindled that only a handful of restaurants still offer them.
  • Gerber Sandwich - The Gerber sandwich originated at the locally famous Ruma's Deli.  It is an open-faced sandwich, with Italian or French bread, garlic butterham, and provel cheese. It is sprinkled with paprika and toasted.
  • St. Paul Sandwich - an Egg Foo Young Patty served with Salad between bread. They're still available at a lot of St. Louis "Chop Suey" restaurants. 



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