It appears that O+O Pizza will be a worthy successor to the location that originally housed its older sister, Olive + Oak – reservations for its first week of service booked up almost instantly.
After 4.5 years in downtown Webster Groves, Missouri, Olive + Oak has relocated to a larger space down the street at 216 W. Lockwood Ave., freeing up its original space at 102 W. Lockwood Ave. As of yesterday, the space is now home to O+O Pizza, serving up pizza, naturally, as well as a mix of Italian fare carried over from the dinnertime menu at its next-door neighbor, The Clover & The Bee.
Clover's executive chef Mike Risk spent about eight to 10 months developing O+O's signature crispy thin-crust pizza, which is informed heavily by Neapolitan (Risk's preference) and New Haven (co-owner Mark Hinkle's favorite) styles. Pizzas are baked at 525°F in a three-deck Doyon oven that has a perforated nickel deck, which allows the air to circulate through the holes and eliminates cold spots in the oven (thus removing any need to shift the pizzas around while baking). Baked in about five or six minutes, the pizzas have a uniformly crisp, crunchy crust and a hint of the signature leoparding you get with Neapolitan-style pies.
To start, O+O Pizza will offer around three pizzas as well as two specials; as time goes on, Risk says that number will increase. The opening menu includes the O+O Original, with tomato sauce, Fior di Latte and Pecorino, as well as a white pie that subs in olive oil for the tomato sauce. Diners can customize these by adding toppings such as mushrooms, giardiniera, Calabrian chiles, pancetta tesa, Prosciutto di Parma, pistachio pesto or hot honey.
The O+O team certainly didn't take any shortcuts when it comes to the ingredients. Fior di Latte, a cow's milk cheese made in the style of mozzarella, is imported from Italy, as is the olive oil, among other items. The dough is made with freshly milled flour from Janie's Mill in Ashkum, Illinois, which specializes in growing heirloom and hybrid grain varieties. A classic pepperoni pie, for instance, is taken to the next level with imported Fior di Latte cheese, Ezzo pepperoni and Profumo del Chianti seasoning, while a ricotta-lemon pizza might come topped with broccolini and pinenuts.
The menu also carries over many of the popular dishes from Clover's dinner menu, including several starters, salads and mains. You'll find plump toasted ravioli, crispy arancini and a chopped salad, plus several handmade pasta dishes including cacio e pepe with casarecce noodles, agnolotti with burrata, dried tomato, garlic, pink peppercorn and butter, and corzetti, a small disc-shaped pasta here served with rock shrimp, beech mushrooms, tarragon, spinach and a rosé-butter broth.
But one of the most unique elements of the new menu actually arose during quarantine. Risk and his wife, Olive + Oak executive chef Jesse Mendica, frequently make pizzas at home on their Weber grill. One night, Risk grabbed some roasted garlic butter from the freezer and shaved it over the top of the pie. "How do you make pizza better?" he asks with a laugh. "Put butter all over it. We realized we had to do that when O+O Pizza opens."
With that in mind, O+O will offer a handful of flavored compound butters, including giardiniera, red wine-rosemary and that original roasted garlic, which will be frozen and brought to the table with a cheese grater. "It's kind of different," Risk says. "It's just our fun play on something that's different...St. Louis has a lot of pizza, and it's hard to do anything different with pizza."
Fittingly, the cocktail menu also leans Italian, including a Black Manhattan with rye whiskey, Averna, Amaro Nonino and bitters, and a Hibiscus Spritz with gin, hibiscus, lemon and Prosecco. Wine and beer are also available.
To start, O+O Pizza will offer dine-in service outside on its front and back patios, both of which seat 30 diners, while a quick renovation of the former Olive + Oak space is completed. Carryout service will also be available soon.
O+O Pizza, 102 W. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, Missouri