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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Pi Pizzeria & ¡RICO! Mexican Is Now Open in Glendale

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 6:54 AM

click to enlarge Pi Pizzeria & RICO!, serving pizza, tacos, burgers and more, is now open in Glendale. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • CHERYL BAEHR
  • Pi Pizzeria & RICO!, serving pizza, tacos, burgers and more, is now open in Glendale.

Pizza? Mexican? Burgers? If only there was a one-stop shop for dinner when hungry mouths refuse to coalesce around a single decision.

Enter Pi Pizzeria & ¡RICO! (9900 Manchester Road, Glendale; 314-942-3800), the latest concept from restaurateur Chris Sommers and chef Cary McDowell, which promises a little bit of something for everyone under one delightful, efficient roof.



The fast-casual restaurant, which opened in Glendale in late October, represents an abbreviated version of Sommers' and McDowell's two popular concepts, Pi Pizzeria and Gringo Tacos + Burgers, something that McDowell believes offers a beacon of ease for harried families looking to feed their unruly broods.

"People come by because they see it's Pi, and then they say, 'Wow, they have burgers and tacos and quesadillas, and oh, I can get fries for my kids,'" McDowell says. "It evolved into what we hoped would be a convenient place with enough diversity that a family can drive through in their minivan and get Mexican food and margaritas because they are craving them, but they can get cheese pizza for the kids and fries for the persnickety one who won't eat anything else."

Though Pi Pizzeria & ¡RICO! offers a small space for indoor dining and a soon-to-open outdoor shipping container bar, the main focus of the operation is carryout and drive-thru. Guests place their orders in advance either online or by phone, schedule a time for it to be ready and pick it up either from the inside counter or the drive-thru. As McDowell notes, guests can roll up in their pajamas and not worry about having to even get out of their cars.
click to enlarge The drive-thru makes life a little easier. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • CHERYL BAEHR
  • The drive-thru makes life a little easier.

According to McDowell, the concept may be perfect for the carryout reality forced upon the industry by the pandemic, but the idea for the restaurant has been in the works for some time as a way to offer a taste of Pi and Gringo under one roof. To that end, Pi Pizzeria & ¡RICO! Mexican features some of those restaurants' greatest hits, including Pi's famous "Kirkwood" deep-dish meatball pizza, its thin-crust "Lincoln Park" pie and the "Bada Bing" salad, as well as Gringo's carnitas burrito and famous margaritas.

However, Sommers and McDowell also saw the opening as an opportunity to expand some of their offerings. New dishes include garlic cheese knots, a delicious crowd-pleaser of cheese filled pizza dough, and the "Rico Chicken Sandwich," which features a warmly spiced, hand-breaded chicken breast, served on a potato roll with piquant mayonnaise and jalapeno pickle relish. McDowell is especially excited about what is sure to be a signature dish for the restaurant, the "Rico-Cinis," or chorizo and cheese filled Mexican rice balls.
click to enlarge The "Rico Chicken Sandwich" features seasoned breading, a potato roll and jalapeño pickle relish. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • CHERYL BAEHR
  • The "Rico Chicken Sandwich" features seasoned breading, a potato roll and jalapeño pickle relish.

Pi Pizzeria & ¡RICO! is currently open seven days-a-week from 4 p.m to 8 p.m. for carryout and drive-thru service only, in accordance with St. Louis County's COVID-19-prompted restrictions. Guests are encouraged to place orders online well in advance of their desired pick-up time to make for an easy, limited-contact transaction — one of the many things that McDowell believes will stay around well after the pandemic subsides.

"We're getting a nice flow of people discovering that they can do all of the transactional stuff ahead of time and conveniently pick up their orders," McDowell explains. "The pandemic has been a jumping off point for us to look at doing things like this differently. I like the opportunity."

click to enlarge A selection of Mexican-Italian-American fare available at the new Pi Pizzeria & RICO! - CHERYL BAEHR
  • CHERYL BAEHR
  • A selection of Mexican-Italian-American fare available at the new Pi Pizzeria & RICO!

click to enlarge The fast-casual restaurant caters to guests on-the-go. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • CHERYL BAEHR
  • The fast-casual restaurant caters to guests on-the-go.

click to enlarge The cheese-filled garlic knots are sure to be a crowd pleaser. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • CHERYL BAEHR
  • The cheese-filled garlic knots are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

click to enlarge The "Rico-Cinis" give a Mexican twist to an Italian favorite. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • CHERYL BAEHR
  • The "Rico-Cinis" give a Mexican twist to an Italian favorite.
click to enlarge Pi Pizzeria & RICO! offers something for everyone. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • CHERYL BAEHR
  • Pi Pizzeria & RICO! offers something for everyone.

click to enlarge The "Blazed" wings are served with carrots and yogurt dressing. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • CHERYL BAEHR
  • The "Blazed" wings are served with carrots and yogurt dressing.

We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at cheryl.baehr@riverfronttimes.com.

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