Racanelli's opened their first location in University City in 1994 originated in the Bronx where the family has been in the business since 1980. Owner John Racanelli takes pride in that his locations follow his authentic New York Style family recipes using only the fresh ingredients. Racanellis New York Style Pizzas are also baked in a brick ovens as opposed to electric conveyer ovens used by other pizza establishments.
“We make everything from scratch,” says Racanelli. “The dough and our sauces are made fresh daily, and we only use the highest quality 100 percent whole milk mozzarella which we grind ourselves." He adds, “By using only the best ingredients, we sacrifice labor for quality and freshness,”
Racanelli said that he found the location of his first restaurant in University City the day his son, John, Jr., was born. While shopping at a local fish market to make a celebratory dinner in honor of his wife and son’s homecoming, Racanelli ran into the owner of the Market's building. He decided on the spot that this was to be the first location of Racanelli's New York Pizza. Since then, Racanelli’s pizzerias have grown to include Central West End, Webster Groves, Kirkwood and most recently in April at 952 Brookwood Center in Fenton.
While Racanelli takes pride in his pizzas, he also takes pride in his employees who he considers family. “My employees are like my family,” he says. In fact, Racanelli is so invested in his employees; he plans to grow the business by promoting “loyal and diligent” employees and placing them in their own pizzeria establishments.
It's a family tradition that John Racanelli is proud to share.. “It brings my heart great satisfaction to see people enjoying my products,” Racanelli says. “We use this same thinking for all of our products; Strombolis and calzones are made only with freshest dough, sauces and cheeses. Our sandwiches [hot and cold] are made fresh to order and our salads are custom made each day.”
He adds that the Italian beef is another family recipe made up of 100 percent beef, herbs, spices and seasoning. The pizzeria offers homemade house red wine vinaigrette dressing, and a house marinara sauce. Another specialty – especially for the kids – are the garlic knots which are made from the pizza dough and tossed with garlic butter. Pepsi products, beer and wine also are offered. Plus, just added this year are baked chocolate chip cookies.
Racanelli’s has also received numerous awards; most recently the May 2007 issue of St. Louis Magazine – listing the pizzeria as a top place for a slice of pizza [“The 25 St. Louis Dishes You Need to Order Now”]. In addition, Racanelli's was a Sauce Magazine reader's choice winner in 2006 and the A-List/06 St. Louis winner for best traditional pizza.