An old restaurant adage says, “It’s never a mistake selling pizza or hamburgers.” Testing that theory in Clayton is Crushed Red, a so-called “urban bake and chop shop” from the man of a thousand dining concepts, restaurateur/consultant Chris LaRocca. His advice to partner/operator Powell Kalish was a version of the KISS principle: Keep it simple and speedy.
Offer an inexpensive, handmade, 90-second-bake pizza, framed out by an ample selection of all-natural soups and salads—chopped right now and lickety-split with a mezzaluna (a two-handled knife that literally rocks and rolls). Then, pow! The entire order is delivered by the time you grab a beer or glass of wine (there are five reds and five whites to choose from) and settle into a booth beneath retro-new chandeliers made from Mason jars. For years, LaRocca has spearheaded progressive restaurant concepts (beginning with Crazy Fish in 1993), and his goal for Crushed Red is nothing less than redefining what’s fresh and fast. Redefining, indeed…Right now, they’re crushing it.
ST. LOUIS MAGAZINE:
First Look | Crushed Red
By George Mahe
Photograph by Kevin A. Roberts