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.
Destination: Zpizza (7600 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton; 314-727-3555)
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Overview: Zpizza's first St. Louis location is just over one month old, nestled between residences on Wydown Boulevard. While new to St. Louis, Zpizza has established more than 90 locations across the country, as well as two locations in Dubai and Vietnam. The restaurant's home base is in Newport Beach, California, and its West Coast roots certainly shine on the menu: Everything at Zpizza is made in-house, using organic ingredients -- tomato sauce, vegetables, meats -- and the menu lists calorie counts for each dish. With seven vegetarian pizzas to choose from, as well as vegan- and gluten-free options, Zpizza offers something for everyone.
Highlights: On a recent visit to Zpizza, employees were kind enough to accommodate Gut Check with a special order: one pizza comprised half of its "Tuscan" pizza, with its "California" pizza as the second half. The Tuscan is loaded with roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, cremini, shiitake and button mushrooms, caramelized onions, feta, truffle oil and thyme. On the lighter side of things, the "California" pizza has a foundation of organic tomato sauce topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and black olives. Baked till the crusts are really crisp, Zpizza prepares some pretty great 'za.