The speedy, order-at-the-counter style of Crushed Red Urban Bake & Chop Shop would have you believe it's just your run-of-the-mill pizza place. Looks can be deceiving—because this new Clayton eatery is anything but. The popular lunch spot and casual dinner haven features fresh veggie-laden salads and made-from-scratch pizzas, made fast and simply right before your eyes. While the concept centers on a quick turnaround time—pizzas have been known to be delivered to your table in the time it takes to fill your drink at the soda fountain—enjoying your meal should be the opposite. This kind of wellcrafted, handmade pizza and array of organic, vegan and gluten-free ingredients should be consumed—and savored—very slowly. Fresh and fast are two words not often used together in upscale dining, but owner and well-known St. Louis restaurateur Chris LaRocca has quite literally crushed this concept.
MIX AND MATCH
The menu is built on the create-your-own concept, both with salads and pies. There are also about a dozen signature options, including a cobb salad with chicken breast, fresh avocado, hickory-smoked bacon and crumbled egg on a bed of field greens. An eastern-influenced Samurai salad combines snow peas, carrots, mandarin oranges and Chinese noodles with a warm miso ginger dressing, and the Salad-Kopita is a tasty rendition of a Greek salad with chickpeas, black olives, cucumber and feta. All salads are budget friendly, including the Emerald Coast salad for $8, which includes roasted shrimp, avocado, crispy bacon and roasted red pepper vinaigrette. Those wanting to think outside the salad box and make their own will delight in options like sun-dried tomato, beef brisket, sunflower seeds, salmon and a handful of organic and vegan-friendly dressings.
Although the salads are worthy of a meal all on their own, the main draw at Crushed Red is the pizza. One of the coolest aspects? All
pies are under $10 and the perfect size for one. Fresh vegetables like roasted artichoke and green and red peppers are put to good use in a fire-roasted Veggie Pizza. And, sweet corn, asparagus and basil pesto are combined beautifully in the Blistered Corn Pizza, which is perfect to enjoy this time of year. Traditionalists will love the Queen Margherita or the Mona Lisa, with the latter featuring olive oil and roasted garlic mixed with Kalamata olives, baby spinach and feta and goat cheeses. All pizzas are made with hand-stretched whole grain dough and baked for 90 seconds, so by the time you order the Five Cheese Pizza with feta, goat, gorgonzola, parmesan and mozzarella, the hearty pie is already on its way to your table. Rosemary plays perfectly with ripe olives and yukon gold potatoes in the Yukon Gold Rush, while meat lovers will appreciate the Mushroom, Pepperoni and Sweet Italian Sausage Pie and the Steakhouse Pie with smoky beef brisket and parmesan cream.
The pizza at this new Clayton eatery is baked so fresh and fast, you'll want to savor each mouthwatering bite.
By Christy Miller
Photos by Katherine BIsh
May 1, 2012