margherita pizza photo by lauren healey

First Look: Hot Pizza Cold Beer in downtown St. Louis

Downtown St. Louis will soon have a new spot to grab a slice and a pint. Hot Pizza Cold Beer is slated to open on Friday, Feb. 2, at 610 Washington Ave. in the Mercantile Exchange building in the former home of Pi Pizzeria. From the team behind iconic St. Louis restaurants like Sugarfire Smoke House and Hi-Pointe Drive-In, the new concept will be the group’s first pizza-centric restaurant.

“We love pizza and we’ve pretty much covered everything else,” said co-owner Mike Johnson, who has a hand in roughly 30 restaurants total. “There’s not a lot of pizza downtown, but we love downtown and we do great great business here – we crush at Sugarfire. It’s important for our region to have a strong downtown, and there are empty restaurants everywhere, but we think downtown is making a comeback.”

Executive chef and co-owner Dave Molina will spearhead the culinary operations at the restaurant, while co-owner Charlie Downs handles the business side of things. The restaurant will primarily offer East Coast-style pizza thanks to the guidance of New Jersey native Anthony Franciosi, who owns Franciosi Brothers Pizza in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.“East Coast-style is a thin crust, but not as thin as St. Louis-style,” Johnson said. “We have an incredible old Italian recipe that uses fresh yeast made daily here, and we use top-quality ingredients: San Marzano tomatoes, high-end cheese and pepperoni.”

In addition to a variety of pizzas, the food menu includes appetizers like wings, garlic-cheese bread, spinach and artichoke dip and baked goat cheese with marinara, plus a couple salads. Look for fun twists on throwbacks like pizza rolls and Spaghetti-o’s. For dessert, don’t miss the s’mores pizza.

Beverage director Robbie Hayden conceptualized the drink menu, which includes 24 beers on tap from local breweries like 4 Hands Brewing Co. and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., along with popular domestics. Guests can also expect a selection of craft cocktails, including classics like Old-Fashioneds, negronis and espresso martinis, plus a few cocktails on draft like sangria and margaritas.

The 3,000-square-foot space is bright and airy with seating for about 110 guests, including 24 at the double-sided bar, and is decked out in ’80s-themed décor and a few arcade games.

Hot Pizza Cold Beer will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Check out the photos below for a look at the new restaurant.