Zone In On Imaginative Fast-Casual Vegetarian Fare at Sauce on the Side

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The Veggielante has had it up to here with people bitching that St. Louis restaurants are vegetarian unfriendly. Sure, we'd like to see more restaurants offering more meatless dishes, but there are excellent choices out there if you take the trouble to look for them. We're not here to proselytize about greening up your diet. Our only motive is to spread the word about places where you can order good grub that ain't got no meat. To enhance your reading experience, we've settled on a handful of criteria we'll use to suss out a restaurant's vegetarian friendliness.

The "Magic Carpet Ride" calzone at Sauce on the Side. - TARA MAHADEVAN
  • Tara Mahadevan
  • The "Magic Carpet Ride" calzone at Sauce on the Side.

Destination: Sauce on the Side (903 Pine Street; 314-241-5667)

Neighborhood: Downtown

Cuisine: Calzones

See Also: - Boogaloo's Caribbean Cuisine Offers Vegetarians a Chance to Swing - Find Home-Style Vegetarian Comfort at Home Wine Kitchen - Veggie Burger Highlights the Shack Pubgrub's Vegetarian Options

Overview: The guys at Sauce on the Side love their sauces, boasting ten different sauce choices for their calzone-eating customers. The guys -- Dan, Brendan and Ryan -- make 10-inch calzones expertly by hand; vegetarians have their pick from three vegetarian-friendly options, the "Magic Carpet Ride" ($10), the "Garden" ($8) and the "Fold" ($7).

The "Magic Carpet Ride" calzone at Sauce on the Side. - TARA MAHADEVAN
  • Tara Mahadevan
  • The "Magic Carpet Ride" calzone at Sauce on the Side.

Highlights: Sauce on the Side's "Magic Carpet Ride" calzone is certainly quite a trip. Filled with four types of mushrooms -- crimini, button, portabella and shiitake -- and three cheeses -- Parmesan, mozzarella and ricotta, as well as minced garlic -- all encased in a flaky, crisp dough. The garlic butter sauce pairs nicely with the mushroom-packed calzone.

Sauce on the Side's the "Garden" calzone is filled with eggplant, baby spinach, zucchini, roasted garlic, onions, snap peas and mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. The "Fold" blends mozzarella and ricotta cheeses with your choice of additional fillers. (Vegetarian filler options include banana peppers, basil, capers, corn salsa, dried oregano, green olives, green onions, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, Kalamata olives, marinated zucchini, minced garlic, mushrooms, pear tomatoes, pineapple, red onions, red peppers, white onions and yellow peppers.)

The restaurant also offers vegetarian dessert calzones, including a Nutella banana ($6) filled with Nutella, bananas, Mascarpone cheese and powered sugar, as well as an apple-pie dessert calzone ($6), combining caramel apple pie in a Graham cracker crumbles crust.

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