|The classic Margherita, with fresh tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, hand-grated Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil. | Mabel Suen|
(1928 South Twelfth Street; 314-449-1111)
Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fri. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Sat. 4-9:30 p.m. (Closed Sun. and Mon.)
Pizzaioli is the Italian word for pizza-maker. It's a literal translation, but it's a bit like calling Salvatore Ferragamo a guy who makes shoes. To understand the essence of the word, one need not travel any farther than the corner of Allen and Twelfth Street in Soulard. There, Scott Sandler has opened Pizzeoli (an Americanized spelling of the term), an edible love poem to Neapolitan-style pizza. The former real-estate broker had been an at-home baker for years, experimenting with breads and obsessing over the perfect pizza dough. When his real estate career hit a rough patch last year, he decided to follow his dream of opening a pizzeria. Sandler enrolled in the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana's training program in California to further hone his craft.
Talking to Sandler, however, you'd think he taught the course. This man is serious about pizza. When he's not in front of the oven with peel in hand, he can be found walking around Pizzeoli's tiny dining room, espousing the virtues of yeast and why it's important to use a particular style of mixer to work the dough. He approaches his craft with a precision that borders on obsession, and his customers reap the benefits.
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