All Photography provided by TulsaFood.com
Back in November, I spent a month bumming around Europe. While in Italy, I took dining to a new level, justifying taste after snack after meal, and refused to feel bad about it. I was convinced the pizza, gelato, and wine were so much better than anything I could get back in the States, and was sure I wouldn’t taste those tastes again anytime soon.
Fortunately, I was wrong about that.
Turns out Italy has graced me with a bit of its delicacies here in Tulsa, coming in the form of Mike and Jim Bausch and John Davey’s (of Andolini’s) newest endeavor, STG Pizzeria and Gelateria.
STG, or Specialità Tradizionale Garantita, refers to a European food designation that reflects a strict adherence to authentic, traditional ingredients and cooking practices, and the term couldn’t be more fitting at STG.
To appreciate STG, you must understand what it is not. For one, STG is not Dominoes, and because they realize you’ve got to drop some dough to perfect it, they import their ingredients in from Italy—everything from their buffalo milk mozzarella to their La San Marzano Regina tomatoes, to their Farina Caputo flour to their Carpigiani mixers, to their cups and spoons. They even had their oven brought over from Italy by boat. STG isn’t as close as you can get to the real thing in Tulsa… it is the real thing in Tulsa.
It is also decidedly not the place to go for full table service. While it has all the flavor of a waitstaff-delivered product, the order at the counter layout boasts the speed and ease of a quick bite to eat (pizzas cook in just 90 seconds).
“We could’ve had table service, and we could’ve had a full bar,” Mike Bausch explains, “but I thought, this food is really fast. Let’s let it be really fast, and let the customer enjoy that.”
Something else STG is not: arrogant. Although relentlessly committed to the perfection of traditional Italian cuisine, it’s done not out of self-satisfaction, but out of obsession.
“I wanted to create the same STG experience that I enjoy when I’m in Italy,” he explains. “That’s what we’re doing here. This isn’t Tulsa style—it’s authentic Neapolitan style.”
STG is also not another placeless eatery in the Oklahoma chain restaurant landscape. A quick glance around the space will put to rest the suspicion that this restaurant belongs in any other city. With the American and Oklahoma flags placed front and center, the Tulsa insignia across the oven, hand picked playlists of punk and old school hip hop playing over the speakers, and the Bausch family’s marine corps crest hanging on the wall, STG is for Tulsans.
To say the Bausch brothers and their business partner John Davey love pizza would be a lazy understatement. Growing up in lower Manhattan, great pizza was readily available around Mike’s neighborhood. He loved the flat pies—the thin, doughy kind that come out of the oven too piping hot and wet to eat. Davey, a coastal migrant from San Francisco’s Bay Area, had his own preferred spots for ‘za in California. The two met during college in Oakland, worked together, connected over their love of pie, and set out to perfect it. They entered competitions, studied under master Italian pizza makers, and brought their knowledge back to Oklahoma to found the much belovedAndolini’s in Owasso with Mike’s brother, Jim. Next came the crowds, and then the Cherry Street location, followed by the Ando truck. But, they insist, STG is not Andolini’s.
Unlike the menu at Andolini’s, which features hand-tossed pizzas heavy-laden with toppings, the pies at STG are much lighter. Take their classic Margherita, made with San Marzano tomatoes, house made mozzarella, basil, EVOO, and sea salt. While the toppings packs a rich depth of flavor with the marriage of sea-salt and crushed tomatoes, the pie itself is very light, and the “leoparding” (dark spots around the pie) gives it the perfect balance of crispy charring and pillowy dough.
Then there’s the Scamorza, which features a smoky wood flavor, subtle spice from arugula, and sweet cherry tomatoes.
The Parma, sharp and cheesy with a smooth, buttery finish, offered a nice change of pace as a tomato-less pie. Thin slices of prosciutto and Portobello mushrooms give this pizza a velvety richness.
And the Diavolo, with its authentic calabrian sausage, baked pistachios, house made mozzarella, fleur de sel sea salt, chili flakes and olive oil, is not to be missed.
For antipasti, grab the Burrata Salad. STG keeps theirs creamy by wrapping ricotta in fior di latte mozzarella, and serves it with prosciutto di parma, spicy arugula, sea salt, and olive oil .
Then, of course, there’s the gelato, a sweet nectar mixture of milk, sugar and local produce so airy and delicious, you’d wonder why you’d ever wasted your money on something like Breyer’s by the carton. There’s an excellent vegan option in the Cioccolata Fondente sorbetto, which feels so much like gelato, I almost didn’t believe the man when he told me it was dairy free.
The popular Lemoncello is more than worth a taste, and features a powdery, metallic, lemon bite (sounds weird, tastes amazing). Cones come with two scoops piled high, though I recommend adequate sampling before committing to a single flavor.
I still have dreams about the food in Italy, but with dishes like these down the street at STG, I’m sleeping a little bit easier at night. Stop by for a taste of Italia in Tulsa, and taste the difference yourself.
STG PIZZERIA and GELATERIA
EVERY DAY: 11AM – 10PM