Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unorthodox Pizzas and More

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unorthodox Pizzas and More

Article excerpt

Question: What happens when a customer orders a pepperoni pizza at The NoBull Cafe (as opposed to a Greek pizza or a pesto pizza or even a basic cheese pizza, that is)?

Answer: "We tell them no bull means no meat," say owners Ron Gordon and Lenny Kohn.

It's not unusual for some people to miss the message, even though the small Creve Coeur restaurant is decorated with a sign that reiterates it. On the sign, a bull peers out of the round O in the restaurant's name - and a diagonal line slashes across the O's center.

In this respect, The NoBull Cafe is exactly what it appears to be: a noble little restaurant that serves no meat. Yet the emphasis at The Nobull Cafe is not on vegetarian food, it's on kosher food - with a difference. The closest the cafe comes to typical American-Jewish cusine like lox and bagels is a smoked salmon and cream cheese pizza.

The NoBull Cafe started about three and a half years ago as a carry-out operation that offered salads, sandwiches and pasta, with a special focus on pizza. Within a year, those unorthodox pizzas were so popular that Gordon and Kohn expanded the cafe, tearing down walls and adding seating for 70 people. Kohn's wife, Renee, did the decorating, accenting the gray-carpeted, two-tiered dining room with soft-colored posters and prints.

Before long, the daily specials, such as salmon stir-fry, became staples.

However, there is still no traditional American-Jewish food on the menu, Kohn says, except for cheese blintzes.

"We're probably more Italian than anything," says Gordon, noting the pasta dishes range from traditional favorites like fettuccine Alfredo to innovative recipes like fettuccine with smoked salmon.

The angel-hair pasta "con Jack" is named after a former cook who helped add a Greek accent to several of the dishes. He gets credit for the feta-cheese-topped Greek pizza as well as for the Greek spinach pie, one of the cafe's popular specials. The owners say they'll put their Greek salad up against anyone's.

And even with no meat, no smoking, no alcohol (the wine and beer license is pending) and no Friday night or Saturday business hours (because of the Jewish Sabbath), people keep saying yes to NoBull. …

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