When 15-year-old Stefanina Vitale Roderick first came to America from Sicily, Italy, she likely would not have predicted the delicious mark she would leave on St. Louis cuisine.
Her first few decades in the U.S. were spent working as a seamstress, but in 1981 ‘Stef,’ as she was known to family, decided to venture into the restaurant business. Stefanina’s Pizzeria and Restaurant began in a small strip mall in O’Fallon and was the best-kept secret in the St. Louis region for many years.
Thanks to reliable staff and invested family members helping out, Stefanina’s quickly became the go-to place for great pizza and Italian food in O’Fallon. By 1984, Stefanina’s had outgrown its original location and moved to 8645 Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Throughout the years, Stefanina’s has steadily grown alongside the growth and expansion of St. Charles County.
When Stefanina retired in 1996, brothers-in-law Glen Roderick and Bill LaBeaume joined the family business. Today, the restaurant has six locations, most of them owned or managed by Stefanina’s children and/or grandchildren.
“We have been very fortunate,” LaBeaume said. “We have had some employees that have been with us for over 35 years and several employees that have been with us for over 20 years. There are even some employees [whose] children and grandchildren also work here. This is definitely a family-oriented place.”
Bill and Glen own and manage the Veterans Memorial location.
The menu features a large variety of options, including some you would not expect to find at a pizzeria, such as a Fried Chicken Dinner, Country Fried Steak and Chicken Cordon Bleu that is not exactly traditional. At Stefanina’s, Chicken Cordon Blue is a breaded chicken breast stuffed with ham and cheese and served on a bed of fettuccini, covered with a white cream sauce and a blend of Italian vegetables.
Among the many standouts on the large appetizer menu are Risotto Cheese Balls, Toasted Cannelloni Bites and, of course, the St. Louis classic – Toasted Ravioli.
Salads are dressed with Stefanina’s’ signature homemade dressing and the pasta is authentic from Pasta Primavera to luscious layers of Lasagne. But what put the restaurant on the map – and what they are most known for – is its pizza, still made from Stef’s original recipe.
The pizza dough is made from scratch daily, as are all the meat sauces. The most popular item is the Family Special, which includes garlic cheese bread, a house salad and a large, one-topping pizza. But if it’s toothsome, hearty pizza you crave, order up a Stef’s Special. Loaded with sausage, bacon, onion, hamburger, green pepper, pepperoni, black olives and mushrooms – it’s the mother of all pizzas.
LaBeaume said customer favorite, Stefanina’s’ Pizza of the Month, will return to the menu in January, making many customers very happy.
For holiday parties or gatherings any time of year, Stefanina’s does catering and party platters. Most locations also provide the convenience of online ordering.
Stefanina passed away in 1999 but her legacy continues through her children and grandchildren and the traditional Italian food served at all of the restaurant’s locations.
“It is because of Stefanina’s hard work and talents that we have what we do,” LaBeaume shared. “She was the driving force.”