Fortel's Pizza Den - Creve Coeur, MO
A mountain of toppings
Mushrooms and meatballs and roast beef, oh my!
I recently visited the Fortel’s location on North New Ballas Road, one of six St. Louis metro area locations, including two in neighboring Illinois. On their website, they bill themselves as “Your favorite ‘Mom + Pop’ pizzeria.”
I’d visited this particular Fortel’s location back in 2013 and hadn’t been there since. A Groupon prompted my visit on a weekday evening, just prior to the evening dinner rush. Just $12 for $20 worth of food was a great deal.
Parking was a snap, as I found a spot right in front. A sign in the window indicated that plenty of parking spaces could also be found in the rear of the building.
A laid-back atmosphere was apparent when I entered the restaurant. Clean, modern décor and a friendly staff greeted me. I was pleasantly surprised by the presence of a party room with high glass windows, just off to the side of the spacious main dining room – ideal for pizza parties for the kids.
Order & sit
Since I wasn’t intimately familiar with their menu, I took some time to stand at the counter and review their dinner choices.
Rather than showcasing their menu option listing on a mounted board on the wall, Fortel’s had traditional printed menus that sat atop the counter. Mounted on the wall behind the counter were a few helpful pizza-like circles, each representing the size of their pies, indicated in inches – from 10″ all the way up to 16″.
An ideal visual for me, who tends to typically have eyes bigger than my stomach!
Hunger drove my choice to start off with an appetizer of a dozen toasted ravioli, a St. Louis staple that is accompanied by a side of red sauce, sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Though it’s taken me a bit to warm up to this regional treat, I now enjoy it wholeheartedly!
I settled on meatball, mushroom and roast beef, with traditional red sauce as the base for my pizza, though I debated going with brown gravy in place of red sauce, along with roast beef and mozzarella cheese.
I prefer roast beef more on the well done side, so I was initially concerned that it would be too pink for me, but I figured, why not try something new? A short time later I was quite happy I did.
After ordering, I made my way over to the self serve soda machines and was happy to see both Coca-Cola and Pepsi machines, side by side. Cola wars? Nope. These guys were standing together in harmony. Tea urns were just beyond the soda machines.
To me, there’s nothing like a slice with a beer to wash it down, so I opted for a bottle of Bud Select. They also offered the choice of beer or wine.
Ooo, the pie has arrived...
Seating is open at Fortel’s and I picked a sizable table next to the large glass side windows, setting my numbered green plastic table tent at the edge, so the “delivery person” could easily spot me. On a side note, I prefer this type of table-side drop off experience, versus the raucous calling out of names as orders are ready.
I quickly made my way through the ravioli and didn’t have long to wait until the pie came to the table.
Similar to the process in Chicago, Fortel’s had raised metal holders that the whole pizza pan sat on top of. In keeping with the way the majority of places in St. Louis cut their pies, my round pizza was divvied up into square pieces.
I was quite eager to dig into this gorgeous mountain of toppings and cheese. But first…pictures, of course. After snapping a few photos of the warm meal I was about to devour, I dug in.
The taste was amazing. The mushrooms were perfectly cooked, the meatballs full of flavor and the roast beef perfectly browned; certainly not underdone and definitely not overcooked. A well-balanced proportion of sauce and cheese rounded out this wonderful creation.
Some of the overflowing cheesy edges were crisp from the bottom of the oven, which only added to my delight.
Going along with my curious nature, I’d ordered a side of the aforementioned brown gravy. Though not too rich in flavor, the consistency was a nice, medium thickness and it was perfect for dipping pieces of my pie in. I would certainly try a pie with gravy in place of red sauce in the future. I may even have sipped some from the little plastic cup it came in (ok, I did).
I was super impressed with this pizza joint, so much so that over a recent holiday, I wandered onto Groupon, seeking another Fortel’s deal. An extra couple of bucks off with a promo code and I’m all set to visit again soon, having spent only $10 for this one.
Let me tell you…that new Groupon is burning a hole in mah pocket!
TIP: If you go for a Groupon offer, be sure to check the locations it is valid at prior to purchasing. The ones I snagged were only good at two of their restaurants.
Do they deliver?
- Yes! Staying in? They’ve got you covered with online ordering and delivery.
- Not sure what to get? Try an appetizer, salad, pasta dish or sandwich.
- Gluten concerns? No worries – visit their Affton, IL location for a gluten free experience.
- Looking for a new lunch spot? Head to Fortel’s before 3pm for daily specials.
- Still hungry? Try a dessert!
Founded more than 30 years ago by pizza enthusiast Bob Fortel, this restaurant has had plenty of time to develop a compelling formula for creating its hand-tossed pies.
Fortel's Pizza Den
624 North New Ballas Road
Creve Coeur, MO 63141