Costello’s Pizza and Subs slated to open in Florissant this spring

Mariano and Anthony Costello plan to bring a taste of the Hill to Old Town Florissant. The Florissant-based brothers have painted the interior of the historic Narrow Gauge Railroad station house in Tower Court Park (1060 St. Catherine St.) in the colors of the Italian flag, prepping for the upcoming opening of Costello’s Pizza and Subs.

Currently, Mariano Costello balances two demanding jobs. He’s a longtime general foreman at Spire Inc., but for the past year, he’s also become Florissant’s latest pizza prodigy. He’s elevated frozen pizza from fallback to delicacy, whipping up 50 to 100 pies monthly to meet high demand ranging from St. Charles down to South County.  Naturally, Costello knew he needed to take the next step. He consulted friends for advice from seasoned restaurateurs on the Hill, south city’s landmark Italian neighborhood. Costello gives “special thanks to the Vitali family on the Hill,” who helped with breads, meats and tips on how to run a deli. He’s a newcomer to the restaurant business, but comes from a family rich with cooks. “It’s something that’s in the family. We love to eat.”

Originally from Ferguson, Costello moved with his family to Florissant as a teen. In addition to frequent visits to Faraci’s Pizza in Ferguson, Costello’s father, mother and grandmother all cooked frequently, each with their own specialities and secret recipes. Their legacy will live on in Costello’s Pizza and Subs. From the dough to the sauce to the meatballs to the specialty three-cheese mix, everything will be from scratch and based on family recipes and in-house workshopping. Even the pesto will be made from garden-fresh basil.

Costello’s Pizza and Subs will be a place for people to come and go with ease. For the menu, Costello promises 14-inch specialty pizzas, both frozen and to order. For those with dietary restrictions, his father-in-law’s specialty gluten-free crust will be available in limited amounts each month. Costello personally recommends the Gabagool pizza. The name references New Jersey slang for capicola, a traditional Italian meat, which Costello joins with pepperoni, sausage, bacon and a key ingredient: banana peppers. He said, “You’re missing out if you’ve never had banana peppers on your pizza.”

Aside from pizza, the menu will house a variety of subs, with mention of a delectable chicken Parmesan. To complete the roster, Costello hopes to have a selection of wines and Narrow Gauge beer on tap — quite a fitting addition to the historical landmark where the restaurant will be based. The brothers also plan to sell house-made cheeses and meatballs, similar to an Italian market.

Costello envisions the recently-finished patio as a perfect place to take a break this summer. He plans to focus on pizza by the slice — an easy option for kids walking by after school, tennis players at the courts next door, or families on a golf cart stroll. “We really think it can help the community, since a couple pizza places have closed.”

The restaurant aims to fill a hole in Florissant’s food scene with an authentic Italian flavor. Costello said, “We’ll start slow and see where it goes. We’re just excited for the opportunity.”

North County neighbors should soon expect to hear Frank Sinatra wafting from the windows of the old rail house. Costello’s Pizza and Subs plans to open in mid-May from Tuesday through Saturday, with hopes for both lunch and early dinner to satisfy all pizza needs: hot, frozen, or by the slice.

This article was originally published by the Riverfront Times.