Imo's Pizza is celebrating 50 years in St. Louis this year, and boy, has it been a good one. Jon Hamm's defending (and eating) it on national television, Mayor Slay declaring April 8 "Imo's Day." You know how an Imo's pie should be cut, and you know the three delicious ingredients that make up Provel. But we've rounded up some tidbits that maybe you didn't already know.
1. Ed Imo borrowed just $500 to open the first Imo's in 1964, which is less than $4,000 in today's money.
2. He also worked as a tile setter during the day and served up pizzas with his wife, Margie, at night.
3. Provel was first produced in Wisconsin by the Hoffman Cheese Company, and although there are differing accounts of who exactly came up with it, the Hoffman brothers worked with St. Louisans to develop it. Hoffman is now owned by a subsidiary of Kraft.
4. Each Imo's franchise uses about 25,000 pounds of Provel a year.
5. The cash register at the first Imo's was a fishing tackle box.
6. Brett Hull decided to stay with the Blues over a pie at Imo's in 1988.
7. Imo's was first opened up to franchisees in 1985.
8. Imo's sells more than 5 million pizzas a year.
9. Imo's sauce is slow cooked for four hours before it goes on the crust, which reduces the acidity.
10. The two best-selling pizzas are sausage and sausage and bacon.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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