Family and community are important elements at Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria. Husband-and-wife ownership team Ted and Katie Lee Collier work side-by-side to create a comfortable atmosphere in their Rock Hill eatery (and Katie’s mom works there too). It’s the kind of place where everyone – from the young family to co-workers on a business lunch to the couple on their first date – can feel free to just “be.”

“We get such a huge variety throughout the day,” says Katie. “And in the early evening we get this rush of families with the kids, which we love because we wanted this to feel like it was accessible to everyone. We get a lot of different people who get different experiences out of it.”

Katie’s exudes warmth: Cutely mismatched furnishings beckon patrons to kick back, while the large, open kitchen puts Katie closer – on both visual and personal levels – to the guests she’s serving. There, customers can view the handmade pastas and pizzas in progress, and connect with Katie and Ted. Katie, a self-described “wannabe Italian,” says customers from all walks have responded to the communal feel.

“It’s a full dining experience, but it’s not stuffy,” she says. “We want the community to feel like they’re in a family environment and be inspired by good Italian cooking. There’s nothing better than when someone from Italy comes in and tells you how much it reminds them of home.”

Of course, the food is resonating as strongly as the homey atmosphere. Since the restaurant’s opening in December 2013, customers have gobbled up tons of black spaghetti (it gets its color and flavor from squid ink), fried artichokes, burrata plates, and brick-oven-baked traditional margherita and sopresatta pizzas, all made using as many  fresh, local, seasonal and in-house ingredients as possible. Signature dishes include Katie’s fiori arrabiatta with a spicy marinara, and pappardelle served with a wild boar ragu.

“We wanted there to be something on the menu for everyone,” Katie says. “You can do pizza and beer, or get a bottle of nice Italian wine and do five courses – and we get both throughout the day.”

Katie and Ted have amped up the community vibe with the recent addition of Giveback Tuesdays. On the fourth Tuesday of each month, 100 percent of the day’s proceeds go to a designated nonprofit. To date, just four months into the endeavor, Katie’s has raised nearly $10,000 for local charities. December’s Giveback Tuesday will benefit the Half Fund, a nonprofit that generates awareness and funding for cancer-related endeavors.

Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria celebrates its first anniversary throughout December with daily specials, including discount nights, wine pairing dinners, free appetizers, $1-per-pound pasta deals and more. Customers can keep up with the latest deals and find out the Giveback Tuesday charity of choice for the month on the business’ Facebook page.

Business hours are Mon.to Thu. 11am-11pm, Fri. 11am to midnight, Sat. 10am to midnight and Sun. 10am to 10pm.

Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria, 9568 Manchester Road, Rock Hill, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.942.6555, katiespizzaandpasta.com

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