WENTZVILLE, Mo. — Only in section of a kitchen nicknamed the “Crustacean Station” can you find something as equally quirky and intriguing.
“The response has been incredible, beyond our expectations,” said Grotto Grill co-owner Cori Breen.
She and her sister Cami Flynn are the masterminds behind quite the phenomenon in St. Charles County ...
A crab rangoon pizza.
“Who knew there would be such a demand for seafood-based pizzas?” joked Flynn.
The idea bubbled up at a time when so many people in the St. Louis area craved something fishy.
“We were brainstorming about some new menu items for the Lenten season and put some different thoughts together and messed around with some different ideas, and the krab rangoon pizza was the result,” said Breen.
The idea to turn the popular appetizer into a pizza didn’t take off when they first debuted it on the Grotto Grill menu in 2019 but bringing it back in 2020 – just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic began – did the trick.
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The response led them to make it a permanent addition to the menu. They also had to make some permanent changes to the kitchen.
“We’ve had to actually set up a special area and assign one person to do nothing but make Krab Rangoon pizza. We call it the Crustacean Station,” explained Flynn.
The sisters said the pizza is homemade every step of the way, from the dough to the whipped cream cheese spread. It’s also topped with their own blend of cheeses, special seasonings and imitation crab.
They attribute the success to the uniqueness of the pie.
“When was the last time you saw a Krab Rangoon pizza on any menu?” asked Flynn.
And only every once in a while will someone say it’s too rich.
“But that is a rarity,” said Flynn.
While this might be a relatively new item to the St. Charles County restaurant scene, the sisters are no stranger to the pizza business. Their dad, uncle and grandma founded Stefanina’s Pizzeria in 1981.
“We are a sister-owned restaurant, deeply rooted in our Catholic faith having learned from the best, hardest working folks we know: our parents and extended family,” the sisters said.
Business at Grotto Grill has been booming, even during the coronavirus shutdowns.
“We were setting sales records,” said Breen about what happened when they made the shift to curbside-only service.
Grotto Grill’s dining room reopened Sept. 8 and the sisters said the response from the public continues to be nothing but supportive.
“It’s been a whirlwind in the best way.”
Grotto Grill is located at 5074 Highway P in Wentzville, Missouri.