This article was originally published in our July/August 2021 issue.

Pogolino’s mixes small-town charm with fresh ingredients to create one of Jefferson County’s favorite restaurants. With one location in De Soto and one in Festus, Pogolino’s has offered an array of classic salads, Italian dishes, lunch specials, pizzas, and quality service since 1970.

The pizza and wings are standout items on the menu that keep customers coming back for more. Boneless and bone-in wings are available and are tossed with barbecue sauce or homemade hot sauce. There are twenty toppings to choose from for the pizza, and gluten-free crust is available. Try the Italian Stallion pizza made with Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, and onion or the Pogolino Special with pepperoni, ham, pork sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and onion.

Mindy Davis and her husband Jon Davis own the De Soto Pogolino’s, which is located right next to De Soto’s Main Street, and Mindy’s aunt and uncle, Jean and Bill Scott, own the Festus location on Main Street.

“I hope customers appreciate that we are a good ol’ hometown restaurant,” Mindy says. “You recognize the faces here. I probably employ multiple high school or college kids they know.”

Pogolino Special

She often posts those students on the Pogolino’s Facebook page while they are working and to congratulate them on their accomplishments.

“We work really hard to be consistent and kind, and we donate food, time, and money to multiple community organizations.”

One of those organizations is Operation Food Search based in St. Louis. The organization provides food and services to two hundred thousand people on a monthly basis, and Pogolino’s has helped contribute through the GiftAMeal program since July 2019. In addition to contributing to organizations, the restaurant owners also support local businesses when they can.

“We carry homemade cheesecakes from our local small business friends, Just Be Kind Cafe,” Mindy says. “I love supporting other local businesses, so it’s a great partnership.”

In addition to the sought-after pizza and wings, seven salads are offered along with sandwiches, pasta, and classic appetizers, such as the breaded mushrooms, cheese garlic bread, fried pickles, and toasted ravioli. Pogolino’s also carries four wines from LaChance Vineyards located in De Soto. Lucky Duck, a sweet white wine, pairs nicely with the Broccoli Rigatoni.

Hot wings

Mindy works daily to create a welcoming restaurant that she is proud of and that locals and visitors alike are proud of, too.

“Owning a restaurant is such a hard job,” Mindy says. “It’s 24/7. You have to teach your employees how to put their full focus and energy into the food. We are not perfect, but we aim for it everyday.”

530 N. 2nd Street, De Soto, 636-586-8884,
11 am–8 pm, Sundays–Thursdays;
11 am–9 pm, Fridays and Saturdays
29 E. Main Street, Festus, 636-937-6600,
11 am–9 pm, Sundays–Thursdays;
11 am–10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays

Photos // Mindy Davis, ciearra jackson