Dojo Pizza: Pizza and Karate in a Century-Old Former Church

Categories: Hidden Gem

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Director Loren Copp with volunteers Lorraine Bala and Nashayla Acres in the kitchen.
Copp developed several of the recipes himself through trial and error, fielding ideas from his kids, who just came up with the pizzeria's latest concoction: a double-stuffed pan pizza featuring two entire layers of cheesy flavors.

Cook Lorraine Bala and her husband, Calvin Bryant, keep the kitchen running while Copp has his hands tied with classes, whipping up what he describes as gourmet Italian-style pan pizzas with a stuffed crust option. A thin and crispy crust is also available.

Though the dough isn't made in house, the sauce is, and it's of the sweet and slightly spicy variety -- "with a kick," as Copp puts it. Dojo Pizza also offers a buffalo chicken pizza with a cream cheese and hot sauce base, topped with bacon. Sizes range from 8-inch personal pizzas to 20-inch family-size pie.

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Iced tea with brown sugar and cinnamon.
The house specialty drink, "Dojo Ice Tea," gets its sweetness from some brown sugar and cinnamon, the result of running out of regular sugar while making cinnamon rolls one day. So far, the food aspect of the concept has come naturally for the karate teacher, and getting the word out could really pack a punch.

"The hardest thing is people still think this building is a church.... I'm Christian and I believe in my Christian beliefs, but I don't want people to feel like we're preaching. That's not what this is about," says Copp.

"Everything goes to support kids in the neighborhood, so not only are you getting a great tasting pizza, you're supporting a great cause."

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Slices cut into squares.
Dojo Pizza's current hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m., Fridays through Saturdays from 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m. Open mic nights take place in the dining area on Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m.

Delivery is also available within a twenty-minute radius -- but why waste the opportunity to stop in and see it for yourself? For the full menu and additional information, check out the Dojo Pizza website and follow it on Facebook.

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9 comments
Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

This is why I love St. Louis. .....I recently discovered very swanky restaurants in old car garages too. Such a smart way to not waste a building.

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

I think it is awesome what this guy is doing for the neighborhood kids. Would I want my pizza made by kids who don't necessarily understand restaurant level hygiene? Not really. I have enough trouble eating food from the dirty looking stoners at Elicia's Pizza :-)

Aaron Toben
Aaron Toben

Janet Pratt Toben Dad and I walked right past here!

lcopp1969
lcopp1969

Thank you for your thoughts. I wanted to assure you that we hold high standards for our food service. We have an A rating with the health department, and we would never allow someone to handle the food that is not qualified. Our kids help serve the food, but only those who qualify can make or handle the food.

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