Photo by Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Gioia's Deli

Gioia’s Deli, 98 years young, continues to refresh itself. Two years ago, owner Alex Donley launched a food truck to bring Gioia’s famous hot-salami sandwiches to the St. Louis streets. Now that experience has led directly to plans to open a location at 903 Pine Street downtown this spring. “We realized that we are an institution, but it’s not about the location,” Donley said when he announced the downtown Gioia’s. “It’s about the food. It’s about the customer service — the Gioia’s experience.” And while I’d never want to see an important part of St. Louis culinary history become just another brand, at a time when diners have so many options — so many good options — it’s necessary for a restaurant as important historically as Gioia’s to keep reaching out to new diners.

Opened: 1918

Must order: Hot salami sandwich ($8.25)