St. Louis’s Toasted Treat

toastedravioli.jpgMany people have heard the story of how ice cream cones came to be. For those who haven’t (shame on you), the invention of ice cream cones is widely credited to a pastry chef at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, who bent his waffles into cone shapes and gave them to an ice cream vendor to use when he ran out of ice cream cups.

What most people don’t know is that the Gateway to the West is home to another unique treat (and my favorite food)–toasted ravioli. This is nothing like Macaroni Grill’s Dessert Ravioli, with over 1600 calories and 74 grams of fat (who eats this stuff, anyway?). In fact, it’s no different than normal ravioli, other than the fact that it’s sprinkled with parmesan cheese, served with marinara sauce, and deep-fried, which makes it even better. The New York Times has even said, “What spicy chicken wings are to Buffalo, toasted ravioli is to St. Louis.” Two St. Louis restaurants are credited with the appetizer’s invention in the 1940s: Charlie Gitto‘s (now a popular chain) and Oldani’s in The Hill neighborhood. Regardless of who invented it, no one can argue that it’s a fabulous Midwest treat.

Today, some national chains have picked up on the delicious goodness that is toasted ravioli (The Olive Garden offers it as an appetizer), but it remains largely a Midwest specialty. Check out the best places to get toasted ravioli in its hometown after the jump.

Charlie Gitto’s “On the Hill”
5226 Shaw Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
+1 314 772 8898

LoRusso’s Cucina
3121 Watson Road
St. Louis, MO 63139
+1 314 647 6222

Pasta House (multiple locations)
9012 Gravois
St. Louis, MO 63123
+1 314 638 1240

Or, do as I do and make your own. The Food Network has Charlie Gitto’s recipe online, and Rachael Ray has her own (slightly healthier) recipe as well.

Does your city have a unique foodie treat? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo: Tim Boyd


  1. StLouisHomes
    May 30, 2010, 8:54 am

    I have always been super surprised when I travel to other cities and hear that people have never heard of the St. Louis famous toasted raviolis. You guys found out about our St. Louis secret! and the hill is the best place to get them.

  2. Alex Edwards
    November 12, 2009, 6:54 pm

    I am from St. Louis and toasted ravioli is the best appetizer, they are way better than chicken wings, I don’t recommend anyone continue with their lives before having a patch.

  3. Bukit
    April 16, 2009, 1:55 pm

    I have never had toasted ravioli but it looks delicious and damn anyone that says the would perfer canned anything over something deep fried

  4. mackenzie mclaren
    February 26, 2009, 8:42 am

    Their is noting wrong with ravioli out of the can its quicker,if I had the choice to choose from canned ravioli or toasted ravioli Id choice canned ravioli .

  5. jaye brown
    February 26, 2009, 8:33 am

    I think you ruined the article by talkin about chicken wings cause once i read that all i thuoght about was chicken wings.You cannot compare ravioli to chicken wings there is no comparison .