Pizzeria Da Gloria Is Serving St. Louis’ Best Neapolitan Pizzas | Cafe | St. Louis | St. Louis News and Events

None of the many vibrant characters on Joe Kurowski’s journey to pizza making is as alive as Baffo. Baffo, a 50-year-old Neapolitan pizzaiolo named after his prominent mustache, made dough every morning at the famous Italian pizzeria Dal Presidente, refusing to measure anything, and calculating mixing time based on his cigarette breaks. He was an absolute genius.

Kurowski worked by the side of this mustache man after landing in Naples for a friend’s wedding. After Kurowski had recently left the law firm, confident that he wanted to become a professional pizzaiolo, he made his way to Brooklyn and the famous Fornino wood-fired pizzeria. There he received adequate training in dough-making, which he begged into the kitchen of the Dal Presidente pizzeria. Working with Baffo for a month, he learned how to make pizza by feeling a recipe rather than a recipe and absorbing the energy that defines the typical Neapolitan pizzeria. It was a fundamental experience that would define his idea of ​​what he wanted to create in his own pizzeria one day.

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  • MABEL SUEN

  • Pizzaiolo Joe Kurowski.

Kurowski brought his experience at Pizzeria Dal Presidente to New York, where he worked for Danny Meyer’s Marta pizza restaurant and eventually Rad Times Pizza, the roving pizza brand that hosted festivals across the country. He’s also held some deliberations while never letting go of his vision of creating a Neapolitan-inspired pizza place in St. Louis. He regularly traveled between his hometown of St. Louis and New York in search of a place, but when he was out of luck, he decided to return home to devote himself fully to finding a place. After looking around town, he found a shop front on the hill and began building what would later become the Da Gloria pizzeria.

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Bonci, pepperoni and margherita pizza.  - MABEL SUEN

  • MABEL SUEN

  • Bonci, pepperoni and margherita pizza.

While the restaurant was being expanded, Kurowski intended to create a series of pop-ups from his house for research and development purposes. That series turned out to be a single event when the pandemic turned all of his plans upside down. Forced to rethink his business model, Kurowski prepared fully to prepare the restaurant and business take-away recipes. At the end of November last year, he finally opened the doors to Pizzeria Da Gloria.

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Pepperoni pizza with tomato sauce, oregano, homemade fresh mozzarella, low-moisture mozzarella, ezzo cup and char peppers, pickled jalapeños and parmesan.  - MABEL SUEN

  • MABEL SUEN

  • Pepperoni pizza with tomato sauce, oregano, homemade fresh mozzarella, low-moisture mozzarella, ezzo cup and char peppers, pickled jalapeños and parmesan.

When Kurowski tells people he had to change his business model to accommodate the take-away pandemic, they often make a double inclusion. After all, pizza is the epitome of takeaway and delivery, only rivaling white-and-red-wrapped American-style Chinese dishes for home eating dominance. However, as Kurowski explains, traditional Neapolitan cakes are meant to be eaten straight from the wood-fired oven. The crust is tough and full of bubbles; The inner surface is so thin and bubbly that you can eat it with a knife and fork. Served fresh from the fire, it’s revealing, but wrapped it can quickly become tough, damp, and limp. To counter this, he had to adapt, change his cooking times slightly, and invest in special grooved boxes that trap both fat and liquid and allow for better airflow.

The result of his efforts is a truly outstanding example of the Neapolitan form – a kind of pizza that Baffo would shine with pride of his protégé. His Margherita, by which all Neapolitan pizzas are judged, meets the perfect note of simple, sour tomato sauce, creamy fresh mozzarella and green basil. However, Kurowski is brave enough to give the classic his own twist by adding crushed mozzarella and pecorino romano cheese. These welcome twists tie the cheese to the sauce and make for a more user-friendly take-away experience.

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Margherita pizza with homemade fresh mozzarella, low-moisture mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil and parmesan.  - MABEL SUEN

  • MABEL SUEN

  • Margherita pizza with homemade fresh mozzarella, low-moisture mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil and parmesan.

The mushroom pizza is another example of Kurowski’s pizza skill. Earthy cremini and oyster mushrooms sit on a base of white wine and lemon cream sauce; The interplay of earth and hot lemon is breathtaking. Equally excellent is the Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pie, which combines the bitter green with spicy, homemade Italian sausages. Chili oil adds to the heat, which is tempered by the luscious mozzarella that underpins each bite.

A simple sounding marinara pizza is surprisingly complex; The mixture of rich tomato sauce, chilli flakes and olive oil is an absolute bombshell of umami and spices. Slivers of paper-thin garlic, a la Paulie in Goodfellas, are spicy without being intrusive. Even a Caesar salad dazzles with kale and a generous pinch of ground black pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese. Like the pizzas, the salad was incredibly fresh and crispy even after being on the go for twenty minutes.

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Bonci and pepperoni pizza with Caesar salad.  - MABEL SUEN

  • MABEL SUEN

  • Bonci and pepperoni pizza with Caesar salad.

As wonderful as these offers at Pizzeria Da Gloria may be, the restaurant’s undeniable pizza is the Bonci, an eggplant-chilli-oil cake that cannot be compared to any other pizza in town. Named after the celebrated Roman cook Gabriele Bonci, with whom Kurowski completed a life-changing two-day pizza masterclass, the dish is a delicious love song for anything pizza can be. There’s no sauce and no cheese – just batter and olive oil with eggplant sliced ​​so thin it’s translucent. Chili oil and tiny pieces of garlic gild the pizza and plunge into the aubergine like a beautiful, earthy sponge.

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Bonci, pepperoni and margherita pizza.  - MABEL SUEN

  • MABEL SUEN

  • Bonci, pepperoni and margherita pizza.

Kurowski longs for the day when he can welcome people to his pizzeria and watch them eat this bonci pizza. From his point of view, the pizza is important, but the experience is the goal. But when you close your eyes and take a bite of this garlic-soaked eggplant wonder, it doesn’t matter where in the world you actually are. Baffos Naples is right there.

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One day Pizzeria Da Gloria will host crowds, but only for the moment.  - MABEL SUEN

  • MABEL SUEN

  • One day Pizzeria Da Gloria will host crowds, but only for the moment.

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