Q • I’d love the recipe for the Cannellini Bean Dip at Katie’s Pizza. It is addicting! — Diane Thames, Olivette
A • To appreciate Katie’s Pizza, first meet the Lee family. There’s Tom, he’s the dad and a serial entrepreneur. There’s Tommy, he’s the son who moved back to St. Louis from Denver with his wife to run the family’s first restaurant, Katie’s Pizza Café in Clayton. And, of course, there’s the eponymous Katie; she’s the daughter and self-trained, Italy-inspired chef who’s spread her culinary wings to open a second restaurant, Katie’s Pizza & Pasta in Rock Hill.
Both places deserve the accolades they’ve collected since 2007 (Clayton) and 2013 (Rock Hill). Tom Lee says, “The most important thing is the quality of our ingredients.” The signature thin-crisp artisan pizza crusts are made fresh by hand every day. His personal favorite is the Tre Amici, “three friends” of Italian sausage, salami and pancetta. “I try not to eat a whole pizza,” he says. “But I could.”
But the Lee family expresses pride not only in quality but originality. The potato pizza isn’t what you’d expect, says Tommy Lee, but it’s his favorite pizza ever.
The two restaurants’ menus share some Katie’s classics — for example, the Cannellini Bean Dip, the fried artichoke salad and artichoke-stuffed toasted ravioli plus the best-seller Margherita pizza that combines, the story goes, basil, fresh mozzarella and tomato to symbolize the green, white and red bands of the Italian flag to honor Queen Margherita back in the late 1800s.
But the Rock Hill restaurant’s menu, steeped in Katie’s passion for local ingredients and adventuresome yet-still-simple combinations, is more ambitious. There are house-made pastas and sauces, charcuterie, even a Saturday-Sunday brunch menu that conjours the romance of a slow-paced morning in a private garden.
The Cannellini Bean Dip is inspired by time the family spent in Italy. The garlicky spread is indeed addictive, especially spread on pizza points, triangles of hot-from-the-oven pizza crust.
Katie’s Pizza Café
6611 Clayton Road, Clayton
Katie’s Pizza & Pasta
9568 Manchester Road