Business: Stellina Pasta
Location: 3342 Watson Road., St. Louis, MO 63139
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11am - 9pm
Amenable to: casual dates, a small office lunch outing, organic food freaks, meatlovers and vegetarians alike, basically anything other than a large group of people
Prices: $10-15 per head, post-tip
Stellina Pasta ("little star") is one of the coziest dining spots in St. Louis. I have to admit, its location is not all that exciting to me. Sure the growing presence of "yuppy" types in the Lindenwood/St. Louis Hills area seem to drift in and out, snagging seats with unsuspecting neighbors and generating casual chat like the best of urbanites--but something about its location on Watson (which I usually associate with St. Louis County's much longer stretch of the road of the same name) almost kept me from trying this place out. When I think of new and exciting places to go in the city, Lindenwood (Park) doesn't typically win out.
I'm glad I was extremely hungry one day while traveling down the pedestrian unfriendly Watson highway that is now, in my opinion, home to two destination restaurants: the ever popular Biggie's and Stellina itself.
Stellina, make no mistake, is tiny.
But as you can see, the storefront is adorable. The large window with the counter facing it is great for a person flying solo and wanting to people/car watch. In nice weather, the patio outside adds a lot more seating.
The interior gives off a bit of that pristine and squeaky clean coffeehouse vibe--again, not my favorite, but the intimate scale of the place, which makes it appear all the more busy, is rare in St. Louis and is appreciated in this context.
With the tin ceiling, my imagination has invented the scenario of this building as a former neighborhood grocery store. Maybe I'll do a bit of research.
What about the food and pricing though?
The food, all organic and handmade, is excellent. I have had several iterations of the pasta, all successful to me. The Hog Wild is my favorite sandwich:
Shaved ham, bacon, granny smith apple, white cheddar, sweet hot mustard on peasant bread, served grilled.
But rotating specials and a host of no-meat items make this place amenable to all foodseekers.
Check out the menu here. Prices are definitely reasonable, with each sandwich falling between the 7 and 9 dollar marks. Pasta, as can be expected, is a bit pricier. Portion sizes are not huge, but are completely appropriate and filling. My only complaint, as a Coke/Pepsi addict, is the lack of a fountain--meaning you must pay for each soda can and glass of ice. Oh well. It's probably for the better.
Next time you think pasta, at least for once, don't think the Hill! Come to Lindenwood and try out Stellina. You will not be disappointed.