A Toasted Ravioli Tour of St. Louis

A Toasted Ravioli Tour of St. Louis, shutterstock:martiapunts I was just like other travelers before me as I stood under the Arch in St. Louis. I am in the Gateway to the West not for any particular reason, other than toasted ravioli tasting. The stomach filling and diet-breaking dish was reportedly born out of the Italian neighborhood southwest of the city. Ravioli can just be ravioli, but in St. Louis it is fried up like a fluffed up pillow and served as an appetizer, even if that palette starter is heartier than the main course. In order to understand this quintessential St. Louis food, you must do as I did, go taste it at some of the supposed best restaurants for toasted ravioli. Here are three tastings of toasted ravioli in St. Louis that are sure to leave stomachs bursting and taste buds satisfied.

Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill: This stop on the toasted ravioli tour of St. Louis is arguably essential. Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill boasts of being the original home of toasted ravioli, the very spot where it was invented. The story goes that that in 1947 when the current restaurant was called Angelo’s Oldani Pasta House, a non-Italian chef accidentally dropped ravioli in hot oil rather than boiling water. The mistake was applauded by the kitchen staff and soon landed on the restaurant’s menu. It is no secret that Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill maintains this story. As my waiter remarked, “Toasted ravioli WAS born here.” Under the description on the menu, their toasted ravioli is merely described as “the original”. Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill produces pillow-like toasted shells fried with meat, cheese and spinach. These pockets of goodness are then topped with Parmesan cheese and accented with marinara sauce. Charlie’s toasted ravioli will set you back $10.

Mama’s on the Hill: The toasted ravioli origins start to get a little doughy with a visit to Mama’s on the Hill. Also set up in the historic Italian neighborhood, Mama’s claims to be the original home of toasted ravioli. According to Mama’s on the Hill, toasted ravioli was born when a chef by the name of Fritz also dropped ravioli into hot oil instead of boiling water. Mama’s has her witnesses that toasted ravioli was born here. Mickey Garagiola, brother to Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Garagiola, is said to have been the first to taste the mishap on the night that it occurred. Whether this is the original or not, Mama’s toasted ravioli is filled with meat and deep fried until a golden brown. Mama’s on the Hill prices their toasted ravioli at $7.25.

Lombardo’s Restaurant: While Lombardo’s doesn’t try to claim to be the inventor of toasted ravioli in St. Louis, it does credit the dish with helping the business prosper at its earliest stages. The Lombardo legacy of restaurants began in 1934 when Angelo Lombardo, Sr. came to St. Louis from Sicily and started a fruit stand. He would add on a small restaurant that served up toasted ravioli. The dish was a hit and quickly helped the business thrive. Now Lombardo’s has relocated from its original location in north St. Louis to a spot near Lambert Airport. There is also a Lombardo’s Trattoria near Union Station in the Durry Inn. Lombardo’s toasted ravioli is famous for its extra large surface area. The heavier and doughier toasted raviolis also differ in other St. Louis establishments’ versions in that they are topped with grated Romano cheese rather than Parmesan. Put most simply, Lombardo’s calls their toasted ravioli, “our toasted ravioli”. Lombardo’s Restaurant prices toasted ravioli at $7.95 while Lombardo’s Trattoria charges $8.95 for the good stuff.

Have you had toasted ravioli in St. Louis?

Don't forget to 'LIKE' us on Facebook!

Post your Comments












Book with OneTravel

  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Cars
From:
To:
Click here for calendar
Time:
Click here for calendar
Time:
Adults:
Seniors: (65+)
Children:(2-11)
Infants on lap:
Infants on seat:
Class:
Save on Bookings with 3+ pax
or hotel stays of 3+ nights
this month withSM25

RecentPosts

  • An Unusual Cup of Joe: 4 Unique Coffee Shops To Get Your Caffeine FixComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0


  • By:Suzy Guese, last post 20 Oct 2014
  • From coffee houses that are part bicycle shop to those that infuse their coffee with Coca-Cola or shut off the Wi-Fi, here are four unique coffee shops across the country to get your caffeine fix....read more

  • Follow Scotland's Historic Malt Whisky TrailComments: 1Rating: 0 / 0

    1
  • By:Chris Osburn, last post 17 Oct 2014
  • The world famous and one of a kind Malt Whisky Trail in Scotland passes through seven Speyside working distilleries, as well as a historic distillery and Britain's only cooperage. Though hardly inclusive of the numerous distilleries in the Speyside area, the trailserves as an excellent spine through the region. Indeed, any visit to all of the venues along this stretch of green Scottish countryside would result in plenty of knowledge about a Scottish and a wealth of memories....read more

  • Spotlight on Spain: FlamencoComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0


  • By:Jen Westmoreland Bouchard, last post 16 Oct 2014
  • One of my most memorable evenings in another country was the one I spent in a flamenco club in Granada. Everything about the performance captivated me, from the intricate guitar melodies to the expressive vocalizations to the precise hand movements and declarative stomps of the dancers. Flamenco is an extremely rich and captivating part of Spanish culture....read more

  • Stay, See, Savor: 24 Hours in AustinComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0


  • By:Jen Westmoreland Bouchard, last post 15 Oct 2014
  • A dynamic and eclectic city that is steeped in history, Austin is one of the true gems of Texas. You’ll definitely want to spend more than twenty-four hours here, but if that’s all you’ve got, here are my suggestions for where to stay, what to see, and what to savor....read more

  • 5 Big Exhibitions in London NowComments: 1Rating: 0 / 0

    1
  • By:Chris Osburn, last post 14 Oct 2014
  • This week sees the annual Frieze Art Fair descend upon London. With it comes a scope of art related activities and satellite events across town with some of London's best known galleries taking advantage of this time of heightened buzz to put on their biggest shows of the year. Here's a list of five of the biggest exhibitions around town that are on now and well worth checking out....read more