Serra’s Pizzeria is a St. Louis landmark
Pizza is perennial. While styles and trends in food come and go and certain dishes fall in and out of fashion, pizza always sits high on the hierarchy of foods we can depend on. Serra’s Pizzeria has always counted on this culinary truth, and, for over 50 years, it has paid off.
“We make our own pizza dough, we make our own sauce, we grind and season our own meat,” said Lia Serra-Randazzo, whose parents, Onofrio and Lucrezia Serra, started the business in 1970. “It’s about consistency – we keep everything the same. We give an abundance for the amount too. We give a nice amount of food.” Over the years, the menu’s gotten larger, ’za options have come and go, but, by and large, it’s business as usual. The supreme pizza – a formidable, meaty option with sausage, pepperoni, bacon, onion and mushroom – reigns, while the more pared down sausage and bacon pie is nearly as popular.
In addition to pizzas, an expansive Italian-American menu separates Serra’s from most local pizzerias. “We make our own rice balls for arancini, and they’ve been a big hit lately,” Serra-Randazzo explained. “We sell lots of our pasta, fried chicken, lasagna. We have really good cannolis and tiramisu.” Naturally, mostaccioli (served with either meat sauce or house-made meatballs) is a major hit.
According to Serra-Randazzo, Serra’s is a family business. “My father is still an owner. He does not work – he comes around and supervises. He still puts his word in,” she said with a laugh. Her brother-in-law, Gian Pizzo, has worked at the restaurant, as have many other family members. “My kids work here, my nieces work here. All of the kids,” she explained. “All of my brothers and sisters have worked here at one point or another.”
Serra’s Pizzeria started in a shopping center, but 10 years later, in 1980, moved next door when Onofrio purchased the lot. He tore down the garage that sat on it to build a pizzeria that now seats about 150 people. Moving the business again doesn’t seem to have ever been in consideration. “We own the building and everything – we’re kind of a staple to Maryland Heights,” Serra-Randazzo said. “People are friendly here. We can’t really complain too much.”
Since the move 40 years ago, the business has withstood its fair share of obstacles, including, of course, the pandemic. “We were open the whole time. We did close the dining room,” Serra-Randazzo said. “But we did curbside and had really good curbside business.” According to her, the combination of consistent food and enthusiastic customers has kept them afloat. “Our customers are pretty loyal to us. We have a lot of repeat customers,” she said. “We’ve been doing OK.”
12218 McKelvey Road, Maryland Heights, 314.739.0881, serraspizzeria.com
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