Post-Dispatch file photo



Granted, Pastaria has been open only since September 2012, but it’s still shocking that Gerard Craft hasn’t already opened multiple locations of Pastaria in St. Louis and elsewhere. (Though Craft is planning a fast-casual restaurant downtown, Porano Pasta & Gelato, based on Pastaria.) The restaurant’s formula has been successful, and the wait for one of its no-reservation tables lengthy, since day one: terrific from-scratch pasta and wood-fired pizza at an affordable price served in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. The menu staples remain the main attraction — canestri cacio e pepi; pistachio ravioli; the brilliant Italian “ramen” and, really, any of the pizzas (for me, the Roman and the Brussels sprouts, if available) — with specials from executive chef Michael Petres and, of course, gelato and other treats from ace pastry chef Anne Croy. Pastaria might not have expanded (yet), but it did offer pizza aficionados something new in 2014, with “Pizza Takeover” nights featuring guest chefs from acclaimed pizzerias in other cities.