Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Way Back WhensDay: Pantera's Pizza

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

When I was a kid, I hated pizza.  For those of you who read my Showbiz Pizza blog, I made that statement and promised more details.  Well, the time has come.  My family would go out for pizza from time to time, be it Pizza Hut, Imo's (a St. Louis institution), or Pantera's Pizza.  Each time, I'd either order a sandwich or just pick the toppings off, usually bacon and ground beef.

Then in 5th grade my class earned a trip to Pantera's Pizza, which sat in a shopping center at the bottom of the hill from Brennan Woods Elementary School.  Each student in Mrs. Tatlow's class had the opportunity to make his or her own personal pan pizza.  I was more than a little reluctant, seeing as I hadn't ever really tried an actual pizza.  Somehow in my mind I just knew I didn't like it.  But that little pepperoni pizza, made by me was delicious.  Since Pantera's was one of the few restaurants in High Ridge and surrounding communities at that time, it became a favorite for my family.

Oh yeah!
Pantera's also became the official "go to" spot for the parents group at our school, The Brennan Woods Backers.  I have fond memories of heading down to Pantera's after all the parents wrapped up a fundraiser at the school, be it the Chili Supper and Haunted House, Christmas Bazaar, or Spring Carnival.  The kids would badger their parents for handfuls of quarters and play the plethora of video games or listen to some of those fantastic tunes in the juke box.

I can still see all the parents, unwinding from a long evening of volunteer work, talking and laughing.  They'd enjoy the pizza and beverages and tell stories.  The laughter and jokes could be heard over the funky beats of the 80's and the chomping of Pac Man.  It's something I'll never forget.

I don't know exactly when Pantera's closed its doors at the High Ridge location, but I know it was a sad day.  Besides the ambiance and the fun, the food was so good too.  There is a Pantera's still open a couple of hours from where I live now.  I've yet to visit, but one of these days I will have that pizza and hopefully get in a round of Pac Man, QBert, or Dig Dug.

3 comments:

  1. Still one in O Fallon MO with the same artwork.

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  2. There is also one in Maplewood, MO, though I haven't tried it, only the O'Fallon location (I heard Maplewood wasn't as good and the atmosphere wasn't the same as the old days). The pizza is still as good as I remember. I even bought a t-shirt. Unfortunately, my wife and kids don't get it, but eating the pizza and the atmosphere brings back memories of Khoury league baseball game celebrations and like you said, spending a butt load of quarters on video games. You definitely have to get to the O'Fallon location! You can even get the partially cooked, frozen pizzas to take home. I took a pic of the front of the building and posted it on FB when I first went there (you have access to it). Give me a shout if you're needing the address or phone number. I so wish they would come back closer to our area! :)

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  3. I lived across the street from the Mapelwood Pantera's a few years ago, and it is not even comparable to the old High Ridge Pantera's at all. It is a tiny little building at the corner of Bellevue and Manchester, and I don't even think you can dine in there. And the Pizza they delivered to me was not very good. I want to say the High Ridge location closed sometime prob in the very early 90's. I also remember when Galaxy Games moved into that space or maybe the space next to it. I'm not sure how kids view going out to eat these days, but for my brother, sister and I, it was always a special thing that only happened maybe once a month or so. Before there was fast food on every corner or an ipad giving you instant access to any video game. And the 80's music rocked too!

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