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Order Some Hugo’s to Your Table

Meredyth Staunch, Managing Editor

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The chairs are a yolk yellow, rounded and distressed to match the oak tables, which are each dotted with a flower in a glass bottle. The assembly appears organic in nature—everything from the mason jars serving as water holders to the exposed brick walls lining the main dining area to the multicolored “Hugo’s” logo seated at the top of the bar shelf.

The whimsical-meets-sophisticated Hugo’s Pizzeria opened Sept. 20 at 3135 Olive Street in Midtown. The food here adds a health-nut flair to traditional fan favorites without compromising the typical meat lovers’ standard. Following the philosophy of “local tastes better,” this Bailey’s Restaurant makes its own pepperoni, which includes local grass-fed beef, spicy beef, duck, buffalo chicken and vegan options.

From owner Dave Bailey’s bright atmosphere at Rooster to the subdued Bridge Tap House, and the elegance of Bailey’s Chocolate Bar to the vibrancy of Bailey’s Range, Hugo’s adds an extra component as a farm-to-table restaurant offering gluten-free and vegan dishes.

Hugo’s ingredients come from Bailey’s micro-farm and go into creating the fluffy Roman-style dough. But the crust does not overpower the zesty and sweet combination of ingredients. The appetizers embrace a fresh makeover to classics, abandoning the typical house fries and American wings stereotypes.

Hugo’s provides a list of approximately 25 beers on tap plus a hefty compilation of Italian wines. For the more sophisticated palate, the bartender’s favorite features the Boulevardier: a fine mix of bourbon, Campari and vermouth with a hint of orange on the glass lip.

The most noteworthy and one of co-owner Kara Bailey’s recommended pies is the Farm Boy. Hugo’s signature sauce acts as the glue, with its fine hints of bacon scattered throughout adding a heartiness to the mixture. The roasted red pepper summons a slight sweetness, like a gentle touch on the shoulder. Whole leaves of arugula loosely fall onto the conglomerate, but the most unexpected and satisfying touch is the fried farm egg nestled under the arugula, a savory surprise waiting to be uncovered. With each bite, the crust is slightly dipped into the egg but not overwhelmed by it.

For the over-zealous cheese lovers, the Smoke provides a balance of earthy, smothered, smoked gouda beneath a fine layer of tangy black honey with pickled onion—a seasoned paradox for the simple preference.

Though simplistic in nature, Hugo’s Blondie Supreme Royale dessert resides in a separate continuum from traditionality. Served in a large pizza pan paralleling that of the one I grew up knowing the best— Chicago deep dish—the blondie is thick yet delicate. It soaks up the caramel sauce drizzled over top, and each bite is nestled with cool bursts of house-made vanilla ice cream. The perfect palate cleanser for whichever appetizer, salad or pie ordered.

Whether looking for a relaxed atmosphere without a relaxed menu or a semi-upscale dinner date out, Hugo’s satisfies the stomach for multiple occasions. Located two blocks from its sister restaurant Small Batch and at the corner of Olive and Compton, Hugo’s location is also easily accessible for Saint Louis University students. The price: appropriate to the college budget when sharing a pie or appetizers. Delivery will be offered soon, and hours range from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Order Some Hugo’s to Your Table