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Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup Final postcard: The Hill

Toasted ravioli among local specialties sampled during visit to St. Louis' Little Italy

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

The 2019 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues continues with Games 3 and 4 in St. Louis on Saturday and Monday. NHL.com writers covering the series will provide a daily Stanley Cup Final postcard from whatever city they're in. Today, staff writer Tim Campbell checks in from The Hill, the place to go in St. Louis for all things Italian.

 

ST. LOUIS -- It will rank as one of the happiest accidents in St. Louis history.

Several restaurants in The Hill, a popular neighborhood not far from downtown, lay claim to having invented toasted ravioli in the 1940's.

 

[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]

 

What's clear is that once some prepared ravioli was accidentally dropped into a deep fryer and the unintentional appetizer was sampled, many establishments in The Hill, St. Louis' Little Italy, and around town started serving them.

One of those locations, Mama's on The Hill, the former location of Oldani's, was our destination during the Stanley Cup Final between the Blues and Boston Bruins, to check in on the status of the delicacy today.

The neighborhood, about 50 square blocks and the place to go for all things Italian, is a people-friendly place. You can't go far without running into a toddler or a dog being walked, a fire hydrant painted in red, white and green or numerous restaurant sidewalk patios.

Jess, our server at Mama's, dutifully brought an order of toasted ravioli, including the side of marinara sauce. Going light on the sauce was the trick of the taste test. The most surprising thing about toasted ravioli, apart from its crunchiness, was its lightness.

Yes, we know it's breaded and deep fried, which are two disqualification points for a lot of people, but it was a tasty, golden-brown lead-in to a quality Italian dinner.

Jess said there are few tables that don't place at least one order for toasted ravioli and that it's the most popular item on an extensive menu.

Still, it didn't seem to settle the kinds of difficult dining choices that are to be made in St. Louis during the Final.

The succession of Stanley Cup Playoff series in St. Louis this spring has given clarity to what local delicacies are most important. Toasted ravioli, or "t-rav" to the locals, is clearly one of the finalists, but how to rank it against St. Louis ribs and ooey gooey butter cake seems to be a near-impossible task.

The best answer on this question comes from Blues beat writer and colleague Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"I'd just get them all," Thomas said.

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