An Ode to Imo’s Pizza
I’ll keep this brief. I love Imo’s Pizza. I have as long as I can remember. My grandparents lived in the St. Louis area and any time we were visiting, a trip to Imo’s was non-negotiable.
I realize there are many people who do not know about Imo’s Pizza. It is a regional pizza chain, mostly located in St. Louis and the surrounding areas. As of yet, they have not wanted to expand their footprint. While their influence is small, their fans are incredibly loyal. Their pizza is unique and if you like it, you probably love it on an almost irrational level.
There are also a decent number of people who do not care for Imo’s Pizza. I pity them, though I understand their position. Imo’s pizza is different. The crust is thin – cracker thin yet still chewy. They don’t use mozzarella cheese – though you can order their pizza with mozzarella if you don’t like their regular cheese. They use a specialty cheese called “Provel” that is gooey, flavorful, and the instigator of many very strong reactions. You like it or you don’t. There is not much middle ground when it comes to provel cheese. Wikipedia says it’s a “white processed cheese product particularly popular in St. Louis cuisine, that is a combination of cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses.” That sort of describes it. What Provel does is give Imo’s pizza a flavor unlike any other pizza you have ever tasted. That can be a deal-breaker for many, who have certain expectations when they consume pizza. Imo’s shatters those expectations and wins a lot of new fans but it also drives away a good number of disgruntled pizza fundamentalists as well.
This past weekend, we took the second Lytle Man1 trip to St. Louis to celebrate the 13th birthdays of two more Lytle boys. Friday, on the way there, we stopped at Imo’s for supper. We devoured the pizza. Everyone in our group loves Imo’s Pizza so there was no kowtowing to certain pizza expectations. We love it so much that we stopped at that same Imo’s on the way back to Nashville on Sunday for lunch. Yes, we ate Imo’s pizza two times in the span of less than 42 hours. We regret nothing. I had a cold all weekend and on our first visit to Imo’s, I could barely taste it. It was still amazing. On our second visit, my taste buds were operating at about 70% and the pizza was that much better. Honestly, I can’t get over how good it was. It was the perfect cap off to our trip.
One final thought. If you have never had Imo’s Pizza and you find yourself in the St. Louis area and want to try it, keep an open mind. Don’t expect traditional pizza. It’s not that. It’s something altogether different and better. It’s Imo’s. And that means amazing.
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10 thoughts on “An Ode to Imo’s Pizza”
Yes. Absolutely. No better pizza anywhere, plus it was hot.
It was as good as I’ve ever had.
Normally I like a lot of toppings on pizza. Supreme or deluxe is generally my favorite. When it comes to Imo’s one to two topping is best. The cheese needs to be the star.
I agree with everything you said. I really do pity those who don’t like Imo’s.
I agree about the toppings. Don’t overload the pizza with toppings. Keep it simple.
A St. Louis classic. My brothers and I grew up on Imo’s. Yes, when we go to St. Louis we also make a stop for Imo’s. Followed up with a Red Tree’s Frozen Custard before heading home.
There is a little place near where my grandparents lived called “Mr. Wizards Frozen Custard and Yogurt” that we would go to often. We swung by there this weekend while in town and got ourselves a little dessert after a full day. It was great.
That’s Ted Drew’s not Red Tree.
My in-laws live close to St. Louis. We need to try this.
I had Imo’s once when I went to St. Louis with you all (Lytle brothers). I loved it but I’ve never met a pizza I didn’t love. I’ll be honest and be forever shunned by Imo’s lovers. On the love scale of the pizzas I have had this would probably be 60% up the scale. Thick crust is my favorite part of pizzas and as you mentioned Imo’s crust is pretty thin. But that was about 25 years ago and just that one time, so.
Ben, you have failed me for the last time.