If you search for classic St. Louis foods on Google, you would be hard-pressed not to find a mention of toasted ravioli. With its often-savory filling stuffed into a crunchy, golden-brown shell, it is not difficult to see why the dish has become an area staple.
Yet Matthew Fuller says he had the idea to expand upon this already popular dish and grow the toasted ravioli scene in St. Louis. Louis as early as 2014.
“[Before] it was just basically beef and cheese and that was kind of it, ”Fuller says. “There still really is not a place [dedicated to it] – like if you ask ten people where to go get toasted ravioli, you’re going to get a bunch of different answers most likely. ”
Fuller knew that there were ways to get creative with the St. Louis classic, so he and his wife, Brittany Abernathy, started STL Toasted in 2021 to explore new and unique ways to offer toasted ravioli – or “T-Ravs” – to people in the St. Louis area. After months of pop-up events and collaborations, STL Toasted is working to open a permanent location in the City Foundry.
Before COVID-19, Fuller was a musician who played guitar and bass for local bands. He moved into real estate after the pandemic began, but a car crash forced him to stay home. Though it was a difficult time for him, it allowed him to revisit his idea to open a toasted ravioli-inspired restaurant.
“We’ve had a lot of people say, ‘I can not believe this has not been thought of before,'” Fuller says, “and we feel the same way. Like I’m just grateful that it was saved for us. ”
STL Toasted’s menu offers savory items like the Buffalo Chicken T-Rav, which Fuller says comes in buffalo sauce-infused dough. Another item Fuller says people enjoy is the Loaded Potato T-Rav, which is served with sour cream as a dipping sauce.
The menu also offers sweet, dessert-style versions of toasted ravioli. Abernathy says customers can even find a nod to another St. Louis classic in the “Lemon Blackberry Gooey Butter Cake.” Fuller says the T-rav is “like a stuffed donut” and has a honey and lemon zest infused dough.
Once STL Toasted opens its doors at the City Foundry, Fuller hopes to continue experimenting with toasted ravioli. He says he would love to try to make gluten-free and vegetarian options.
“I just get to be completely creative, which is very fulfilling for me after like I said, not being able to get to do music and a lot of things,” Fuller says. “It’s really kind of sparked a new type of creativity where I can just be completely free with ideas.”
Along with homemade recipes, Fuller incorporates food from restaurants and food trucks STL Toasted collaborates with during pop-up events. His current favorite is the “Andouille Sausage & Grits” T-rav, which is inspired by Graffiti Grub.
STL Toasted has collaborated with Graffiti Grub twice in March. The last pop-up event took place on March 12 at the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market and offered “Andouille Sausage & Grits” and “Pimento Cheese” T-Ravs. Fuller says STL Toasted will host another pop-up with them in the future.
A pop-up event at The Drawing Board, located at 4123 Chippewa Street, is scheduled for April 9 Fuller says. During a previous event at The Drawing Board, Fuller said STL Toasted sold out by the end of the night. He says the same event brought in multiple new customers for The Drawing Board.
Fuller says this collaborative nature is strong in St. Louis.
“It’s really cool to see the community in St. Louis and how people are really championing one another, ”Fuller says. “I have friends in other cities that have businesses, and they’re like, ‘That’s not like that around here.’ It’s different here in St. Louis, and I think that’s really cool. ”
Initially, STL Toasted was expected to open its permanent location in late March or early April of this year inside the Food Hall at City Foundry. Issues with the supply chain, however, have pushed the estimated opening date to late April or early May. Despite these minor setbacks, Fuller describes the experience of opening STL Toasted and the response as humbling. He says the St. Louis community has been very supportive of their concept.
“The response has just been just really cool, man,” Fuller says. “After all the stuff I kind of went through, it’s made my heart full for sure.”