Stefanina’s: Serving Family Pizza Recipe For 30 Years in O'Fallon
by Abby Llorico
Communications Intern, O'Fallon Chamber of Commerce
There are as many types of pizza as there are types of people. Some like extra sauce, and others might opt for pepperoni, but for those who live in O’Fallon, there is one option that everyone seems to agree on: Stefanina’s Pizzeria and Restaurant.
The local hotspot is named after its founder and original chef, Stefanina Vitale Roderick, or Stef for short. Families, friends, sports teams, and groups of all kinds have occupied the Stefanina’s dining room and made a tradition out of feasting on their pastas and consistently award-winning pizzas.
“We surprise ourselves sometimes with our success, but the bottom line is hard work, and you can’t take shortcuts,” said Glen Roderick, Stef’s son. “As long as you’re willing to work harder than your competitors, then you have nothing to worry about. And we’ve been doing that since day one.
Day one was back in 1981, and the restaurant grew out of its small location and moved into its current home in the middle of town on Veterans Memorial Parkway just three years later. Though Stef passed away in 1999, the business is still family owned, and the operations are shared between Glen and his wife Barb, and Stefanina’s daughter Lena and her husband Bill.
“We have differences of opinion in a family business, but since we are family we try to work things out,” said Glen. “It’s a lot of fun.”
The physical restaurant has been within the same four walls for 28 years, but the business of great pizza has expanded throughout the area. In 2000, the first Stefanina’s Express location was opened in St. Peters, which was soon followed by a second express location in old St. Charles. Both locations employ members of the Roderick family. Most recently, Stefanina’s has crossed the Missouri river and opened a third express location in the Chesterfield Valley area. Even with these new locations, the Rodericks still feel a sense of loyalty to the restaurant’s hometown.
“There’s all types of people in O’Fallon, all types of working class people, and that’s what we love about it,” said Glen. “[Before opening the restaurant] we scoped out the whole St. Louis area and we ended up here, and we’re glad we did.”
Since Stefanina’s quite literally broadened its horizons, they can no longer simply count on that community tradition to keep bringing in business.
“The way we advertise lately has changed, a lot more electronic media, or whatever they call it these days,” said Glen. “We just try to stay consistent as much as we can. We push service, that’s the biggest thing. We try to stay consistent; we try to keep our prices lower while keeping the quality up.”
The saying “Why mess with a good thing?” is taken to heart in the restaurant kitchen; every pizza ordered at Stefanina’s or Stefanina’s Express is still made with Stef’s very own recipe.
Glen admits, though, that a quality family recipe is not enough to satisfy today’s hungry consumer.
“Customers are more demanding these days as far as quality and service. Food prep time, people are busy, they just don’t have time to wait anymore. But I think we do a pretty good job putting the food out to meet the demand. We just have to pick up the pace a little bit.”
Even then, Glen still finds the time to enjoy what it’s all about: the food.
“With the pastas, lasagna’s probably my favorite. It’s rich, there’s a lot of cheese and meat and noodles and sauce in there. Pizza, I could probably have that every day,” he said. “Or maybe, every other day.”