Pi Pizzeria photo courtesy of Google Maps

Remembering 5 iconic moments in St. Louis’ Pi Pizzeria history

In honor of the restaurant’s final St. Louis location closing, we looked back at the good times – which often featured Obama

As if we needed another harsh reminder that the Obama era is long past, beloved St. Louis pizza restaurant Pi Pizzeria announced the closure of its last St. Louis location in the Central West End on Sunday, July 7, as reported by St. Louis Magazine. Although owner Chris Sommers has expressed interest in finding a buyer to keep the deep-dish, cornmeal-crust pies alive, we can’t help but feel like this might be the end. So we looked back at the exceptional milestones accumulated over its impressive 16-year run as we bid them farewell.

Earning the title “Barack Obama’s favorite pizza”
In a tale that has become St. Louis food lore on the level of the ice cream cone being invented at the 1904 World’s Fair, the former president tried a slice of Pi pizza while campaigning in St. Louis in 2008. He was so impressed, he not only boldly declared it the best pizza he ever had after – fighting words from a Chicagoan – but he also invited Sommers to cook for the first family in the White House shortly after winning the election. 

Launching St. Louis’ first food truck
It’s hard to imagine now, but pre-2010, the idea of picking up a quality meal from a food truck was unheard of. The Pi on the Spot truck led the charge for the St. Louis scene, hitting the road in June 2010 and participating in the inaugural Sauce Food Truck Friday on June 10, 2011. Psst, you can join us at the next
Sauce Food Truck Friday this Friday, July 12, in Tower Grove Park.

Setting the trend for more ethical payment practices for employees
In 2014, long before the push for a $15 minimum wage, Sommers announced a starting wage hike from $7.50 to $10.10 across all of his restaurants and began offering health insurance. He made the announcement with Mayor Francis Slay following a call to action in President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Opening a total of 11 locations in St. Louis and beyond
Pi Pizzeria first opened in the Delmar Loop on April 18, 2008. Obama hype led to the opening of its second location, District of Pi, in the historic Penn Quarter neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Locations in the Central West End, Kirkwood and Downtown St. Louis followed, as well at nine additional franchised locations in the Middle East. You read that right — look them up next time you’re in Baghdad.

Achievement in Salad Excellence
In 2017, Sauce sang the praises of Pi’s Kale-Ifornication Salad in our
Eat This column. Not just any salad can win our hearts over deep-dish pizza. Quinoa added heft to a baby Tuscan kale base, and spiced roasted chickpeas and flaked almonds brought necessary crunch to this office lunchtime favorite. Tart slivers of pickled red onion and juicy grape tomatoes cut through the indulgent, peppery buttermilk dressing, and two triangles of chewy cornmeal flatbread satisfied any lingering crust cravings. Pizza who?