When it comes to pizza, Americans have an undying love for this cheesy, mouthwatering delight. Imo’s Pizza stands out as a traditional favorite among the numerous pizza nationwide. With its roots firmly planted in St. Louis, Missouri, this local gem has captured countless pizza enthusiasts’ hearts and taste buds. This article explores the fascinating story of Imo’s Pizza, from its humble beginnings to its widespread success, and why it continues to be a beloved favorite.
History of Imo’s Pizza
In 1964, Ed and Margie Imo founded Imo’s Pizza in the heart of St. Louis. Their vision was to create a pizza joint offering something unique to its customers. Drawing inspiration from their Italian heritage and combining it with a touch of St. Louis flair, they created a one-of-a-kind pizza experience.
As of November 2015, it had achieved an impressive ranking as the 32nd-largest pizza chain in the United States. This success was a testament to the widespread popularity and appeal of their unique St. Louis Style Pizza. With gross sales of $93.8 million, Imo’s had firmly established itself as a significant player in the competitive pizza industry.
As of 2020, it had grown significantly, establishing its presence as a prominent pizza chain in the Midwest. The company proudly reported operating over 100 restaurants and stores across Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas.
Imo’s Pizza Founder
Imo’s Pizza, the beloved pizza chain known for its iconic St. Louis Style Pizza, was founded in 1964 by Ed and Margie Imo in St. Louis, Missouri. The couple envisioned bringing a taste of America to the city and creating a pizza that would stand out.
Starting with a small corner shop, Ed and Margie Imo worked tirelessly to perfect their pizza recipe. They experimented with various crusts, cheeses, and sauces to create a unique and flavorful combination that would become the hallmark of Imo’s Pizza.
What is St. Louis Style Pizza?
St. Louis Style Pizza is a unique and beloved pizza style that originated in St. Louis, Missouri and has gained popularity across the region and beyond. This distinct pizza variety is known for its thin crust, square cut, and unique cheese blend called Provel.
The Original St. Louis Style Pizza
St. Louis Style Pizza has a rich history from the 1940s when Italian immigrants brought their pizza-making traditions to the city. Over the years, St. Louis pizzerias have perfected this delicious and iconic pizza, creating a culinary tradition that locals and visitors cherish.
The Crust: Cracker-Thin and Delightfully Crunchy
One of the defining features of St. Louis Style Pizza is its thin crust. Unlike the traditional thick and doughy crust in other pizza styles, the St. Louis crust is cracker-thin and delightfully crunchy. The thin crust is achieved using a specific dough recipe and a unique baking method, resulting in a crispy texture that sets it apart from other pizzas.
The Cut: Square Slices for Equal Enjoyment
Another distinctive aspect of St. Louis Style Pizza is the way it is cut. Instead of the typical triangular slices, St. Louis pizzerias cut their pizzas into small, square pieces. This cutting style ensures that each slice has an equal share of cheese, toppings, and crust, providing a balanced and flavorful eating experience.
The Cheese: Provel – A True St. Louis Delicacy
Perhaps the most controversial and cherished aspect of St. Louis Style Pizza is the cheese blend known as Provel. Provel combines cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses, specially made for St. Louis pizzerias. The cheese has a unique flavor profile, with hints of tanginess and nuttiness and a smooth, creamy texture when melted. Provel is a key ingredient that sets St. Louis pizza apart from any other pizza style worldwide.
The Sauce: Tangy and Slightly Sweet
While the crust, cut, and cheese play significant roles, the tangy and slightly sweet tomato sauce is another essential component of St. Louis Style Pizza. The sauce is carefully crafted to complement the Provel cheese and toppings, adding flavor to every bite.
Imo’s Pizza Menu
It boasts an enticing menu that caters to every pizza craving. Their renowned St. Louis Style Pizza is at the heart of their offerings, featuring a thin, crispy crust, distinctive Provel cheese, and tangy tomato sauce. With a variety of toppings, including classic favorites like pepperoni and sausage, and unique options like bacon and artichoke hearts, you can customize your pizza to perfection. Need to be in the mood for pizza? Imo’s also offers a delectable selection of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes to please any palate.
Imo’s Pizza Locations
One of the advantages of being an Imo’s Pizza fan is the accessibility of their locations. Imo’s has a widespread presence in St. Louis and neighboring areas, ensuring you’re always within the irresistible flavors of their pizza. Whether you’re downtown, in the suburbs, or traveling, you can count on finding an Imo nearby to satisfy your pizza cravings.
Imo’s Pizza for Sale
For those who want to enjoy the unique taste of Imo’s in the comfort of their own home, Imo’s Pizza for sale is the perfect option. Imo’s offers whole pizzas, so you can take one home to share with family and friends or keep it all to yourself (we won’t judge!). You can also purchase frozen Imo pizzas to stock up your freezer for those late-night pizza cravings.
Imo’s Pizza App
In the digital age, ordering food has always been challenging, and Imo’s has embraced technology with its very own pizza app. The app allows you to order your favorite pizza and other menu items with just a few taps on your smartphone. You can customize your pizza, save your favorite orders, and even track the delivery progress. It’s the ultimate convenience for busy pizza lovers on the go.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Provel cheese available outside of St. Louis?
Yes, Provel cheese is available in some specialty stores and online retailers, but it is most commonly associated with St. Louis-style pizza.
2. Can I customize my toppings at Imo’s Pizza?
Absolutely! It offers a wide range of toppings, allowing customers to create the perfect pizza.
3. Does Imo’s Pizza offer gluten-free options?
It provides gluten-free crust options to accommodate customers with dietary restrictions.
4. Are there any vegan-friendly choices on the menu?
It does offer vegan cheese and various vegetable toppings for customers following a vegan diet.
5. Does Imo’s Pizza offer catering services?
It offers catering services for events and gatherings, making it a popular choice for parties and celebrations.
Imo’s Pizza has undoubtedly left its mark on the pizza landscape in St. Louis and the hearts of pizza lovers nationwide. From its humble beginnings to its status as a regional treasure, it continues to serve a taste that captures the essence of St. Louis tradition.
So, whether you’re a St. Louis local or just passing through, savor a slice of Imo’s and experience the unique flavors that have made it an enduring favorite.