Mamma Campisi's, formerly Oldani's and commonly known as Mama's on the Hill, is a restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri, which is located on The Hill, which is the "Little Italy" in that city, and one of the premier sources of Italian Cuisine in the United States.
|Slogan||Home of the Toasted Ravioli|
|Owner(s)||Lance and Andrea Ervin|
|Street address||2132 Edwards Street|
|Other information||Once known as Oldani's, reputed to have "invented" the Toasted Ravioli|
It was founded in 1939, by Leopold Oldani, and is credited with the invention of toasted ravioli, which is considered a key example of St. Louis cuisine. It was renamed Mama Campisi's in 1982, and continued under that name until 2005, when it was closed down. It was reopened in 2006 by Lance and Andrea Ervin and it eventually became the center of an episode of Restaurant: Impossible. It was also featured on an episode of the Travel Channel's Man v. Food, hosted by Casey Webb, in December 2017.
Toasted ravioli is, as the name implies, breaded, then toasted or fried, instead of being boiled or baked wet. It is reputed to have been "invented" by a chef named Fritz, at Oldani's restaurant. It was supposedly tasted by baseball legend Joe Garagiola's brother Mickey, and pronounced worthy of becoming a permanent item. It is now considered iconic of St. Louis cuisine, as well as having spread throughout the United States in general.
- USA Today:
10 great places to discover Italy in America
"After playing a round of bocce ball at the courts in Berra Park, stop by Adriana's on Shaw Avenue for poetic caponata, a Sicilian eggplant dish, the famous pasta pie with a meat crust special and other Sicilian delights. Then find the deep-fried city treasure, toasted ravioli, at Mama Toscano's," Batali says. explorestlouis.com
- St Louis Today:
'Restaurant Impossible' leaves a mess in Mama Campisi's kitchen
And so it happened with Hill institution Mama Campisi’s — or, rather, as it’s known now that the Campisi family is no longer involved with the restaurant, Mama’s on the Hill. Current owners Andrea and Lance Ervin invited “Restaurant Impossible” to their establishment in June to help with problems both culinary and financial. The episode aired late last month.
- Central Newsmagazine:
Mama Campisi’s is home to toasted ravioli and plenty of passion Archived 2008-11-19 at the Wayback Machine
According to Ervin, the famous “mistake” happened back in the early 1940s, when the restaurant operated as Oldani’s. The chef accidentally dropped an order of ravioli into the deep fat fryer instead of in hot water. Mickey Garagiola, brother of Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Garagiola, was sitting at the bar that fateful night and reportedly was of the first to taste the “accident,” and all agreed that the "toasted" ravioli should be added to the menu.