Liliana’s Old-School Italian Includes the City’s Best St. Louis-Style Pizza

Tim Pieri's passion for pizza goes far beyond a hobby, a job or even a love affair. It's his life's calling, a journey that started some 35 years ago with his first gig in the restaurant business, manning the ovens at the beloved Rossino's (may it rest in peace). Everything about the long-shuttered Central West End spot spoke to him — the pizza, the warm aroma of roasted garlic and Parmesan that perfumed the air, the old-school, dimly lit atmosphere. In his mind, it was everything a restaurant should be.

Even when he moved to Key West as a young adult, Pieri could not shake the pizza bug. Instead of landing a job at a beach bar or seafood shack, he found himself at a pizzeria, working there to perfect his craft before returning to St. Louis to jump back into the city's restaurant scene.

Though he was primed for a career in the pizza business, his life took a detour when, after returning home, he got a job managing the legendary downtown restaurant and nightclub Harry's Restaurant & Bar. After ten years, he became a 49 percent owner of the massive operation and ran the place for another fifteen before it served its last customers in 2016.

Through it all, Pieri's passion for pie never faded. In fact, he was so enamored with St. Louis-style pizza that he set out to write a book on the subject. His research took him to nearly every pizzeria in the St. Louis area — 70 restaurants in total — and made him an expert in all things Provel.

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