A Taste of “The Hill” for Colorado
From as far back as the 1890s, Italian Immigrants came to St. Louis attracted by large deposits of red clay and soon became master bricklayers for the rapidly growing city. Red brick remains a dominant building material in the Gateway City and at the turn of the century was even laid in streets and roads. The Italian population that came to America after WWII along with other migrants from Western Europe had a tough time assimilating in the new world. Most banded into clusters of tight-knit communities to reproduce the culture of their homes transplanting their unique skills, traditions, ingredients, and recipes. Also coming home at this time were the American soldiers who had come to love the food of the old world they had liberated, especially pasta & pizza from Italy.
In St. Louis, the neighborhood where most native Italians found a new home was called “the Hill”. Primarily Catholics, the parish of St. Ambrose quickly became the center of all civic activity. From this hub, the neighborhood fanned out with restaurants, bars, cobblers, kitchenware stores, bakeries, delis, and specialty markets. They also founded respected factories that produced and distributed cured meats, sausages, gelato, pasta and other items where they spotted an opportunity. Many of these businesses are still active today and the community remains a tourist destination for anyone looking for an authentic St. Louis experience.
In an effort to fit in, many Italian chefs tried to create recipes that would appeal to the American palate. Things that you would never find in Italy became staples in the new Italian American lexicon of signature dishes. Some of the more popular examples are Pepperoni Pizza, Eggplant Parmesan, Fettuccini Alfredo, and Spaghetti & Meatballs. Specifically, in St. Louis, the type of pizza that immerged was a cracker-thin, crispy crust topped with sauce and a new processed cheese called “provel”. Provel cheese was designed to melt a certain way leaving a more creamy, buttery finish than the thick, stretchy mozzarella on the bread-like crusts of the Northeast. Toasted Ravioli and Gooey Buttercake remain the most iconic dishes from St. Louis, both are meticulously honored on the Red Gravy menu.
What does “Red Gravy” mean?
The term “gravy” comes from an attempt to explain some more authentic Italian dishes to the American consumers. The word “sugo” in Italian translated exactly to “sauce” in English. However, the word for a sauce with meat stewed into it, “ragu”, had no English translation. “Meat sauce” was used in some areas to describe the dish as well as the Italian term “Bolognese”. When Italian restaurateurs and chefs went to the English dictionary to find a translation for a meat-based sauce, they found the word “gravy”. The most popular dish which the new immigrants embraced using this term is “Sunday Gravy”, a sauce made from all the leftover meats and sausages from the week’s meals. These goodies are slowly cooked, throughout the Sabbath, into a deliciously rich sauce that is meant to be shared with the entire family.
It is this tradition of family, community, culinary creativity and culture that we celebrate at Red Gravy. Our owner, Chef Eric Brenner, gleaned the products and recipes that have been passed down through generations of Italian Immigrants in the city of St. Louis. Sharing decades of work and study in the culinary arts and restaurant management, we hope you enjoy the celebrated cuisine of “the Hill”.
The staff and partners of Red Gravy hope to provide a truly elevated and fun dining experience in this tradition. We are truly honored to be included in Downtown Colorado Springs’ culinary landscape and of the city’s future growth.
Open Daily: 11am - 8pm