I am a self-professed lover of pizza. All kinds of pizza. If I have a cheat food, pizza is it. It hits all of my hot buttons at once. It is that crispy, yet chewy, crust topped with a schmear of rich tomato sauce, add a little meat and some vegetables and plenty of ooey gooey mozzarella cheese that makes me happy. A sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a handful of Parmesan cheese and it's game on. Okay, so maybe a drizzle of honey on my crust, and then . . .by golly that pie is gone.
I come my by love of pizza honest. I grew up in a small town that had very few restaurant options, but pizza we did have. Every Friday night, my Dad would stop by Ken's Pizza and bring home a large thin-crust cheese pizza and a medium pepperoni for our 5-person family to enjoy. Mom would make a green salad to go with it and that would be our Friday night dinner along with a 2-liter of Coke. When I got old enough to drive, I got a job making pizzas at Ken's, and then I had FREE Ken's pizza on my break every Friday night.
I learned that I am a folder of my pizza slices. It doesn't matter what type of crust or how big the slices are, I like to fold my pizza over to keep the good stuff inside of the crust, and it prevents it from spilling into my lap.
My two favorite types of pizza are New York and Neapolitan, and thankfully in Kansas City of we plenty of great independently owned pizza places that cater to my two favorite pizza fetishes, and a couple of new ones on the way.
I like the thinner crust of a New York-style pie, with what I consider to be the perfect topping to crust ratio. These are large floppable, foldable pieces of pizza. Very satisfying to eat.
Neapolitan-style pizza, on the other hand, is like New York's cousin who just arrived from Italy. You might think she is more sophisticated, listening to her accent, but she is actually much more simple and pure in her ingredients. Smaller pies, cooked in hotter ovens with fewer toppings, but just a sweet to eat.
So, on the nights that I am stressed-out, on deadline or just don't want to leave my house . . .these are the places that I will dispatch someone to go and bring me pizza. Pronto. Grazie!
New York Style Pizza
1209 W. 47th Street
Kansas City, MO.
Owner, John Milone, delivered his New York style pizzas for free, back when he first started thinking about starting his own pizza business. He was cooking out of his home back then, perfecting his recipe and delivering to friends and neighbors just see what they thought. These days, this hard working and super friendly pizza-man does a steady business in his West Plaza location that in true New York style serves his pizza by the pie or by the slice. It is hard to pass up a cheese, pepperoni or sausage pizza from Johnny Jo's. With a fantastic chewy crust and San Marzano tomatoes, fresh garlic, quality olive oil and the best mozzarella cheese . . . what else you do need? How about Johnny Jo's delivered right to your door? Get ready, he is currently testing his delivery radius and you can expect his delivery service to come online in the very near future.
12925 US 71 S
In Providence, Rhode Island, where owner, Luke Salvatore, and his brothers grew up, they ate thin crust New York-style pizza, thick crust Sicilian-style pizza and wood-fired oven Neapolitan-style pizza, but not necessarily all at the same place. Providence Pizzeria Co. is their effort to bring their pizza passion from Providence to Kansas City, by making all three unique styles of pizza and serving them all under one roof. At Providence Pizzeria Co., each of three types of pizza they serve requires completely different crusts or foundations to build their pizzas on, the rest is just topping choice. The work and pride they put into their crust is stated in their tagline: “No crust left behind.” For me, I prefer their New York-style pizza to the others, as good as they all are, the crust here is my absolute favorite. It has a chew to it that I really appreciate. I always stop in here when I am on my way to Tulsa, and buy a couple of slices. Okay, and sometimes I stop on my way back as well, but don't tell anyone. It will be our little secret.
417 East 18th Street
Kansas City, MO
10240 Pflumm Rd.
Expect the unexpected from STRETCH, A.K.A. Jeff Rumaner. artist, TV personality and restaurateur, Stretch, owns the wildly popular Grinders and Grinders West in the Crossroads. Last year, he purchased the historic, and (supposedly) haunted, Kieltyka’s Stonewall Inn. Eight months of renovations, and this suburban joint got “Stretchified” bringing Grinders gritty downtown goodness to Lenexa. The menu in both locations offers a cocky and creative mix of favorites including hand-tossed New York Style pizzas with crazy cool toppings. Try the Bengal Tiger. This one was featured on the Food Network. Inspired by the flavors of Northwest India. This pie starts with a rich green sauce topped with tandori chicken, real crab meat, and the unique flavor of hearts of palm and cilantro.
Neapolitan Style Pizza
Kansas City, MO
Mission Farms at
4000 Indian Creek Pkwy
Overland Park, KS
Chef Quillan and Hillary Glynn took over the operations and ownership of PizzaBella years ago, and have since opened a second location out south, giving everyone a chance to try and enjoy what continues to be some of the best Neapolitan-style pizza in Kansas City. They were the original wood-fired pizza in Kansas City, and they continue to wow not only with their fantastic pizza, but with their daily specials all made in the same wood-fired oven. They will make you eat your Brussels sprouts at PizzaBella, oven roasted with hunks of bacon, cranberries and balsamic vinegar reduction. I have a weakness for their Butter Lettuce salad, followed by their Prosciutto pizza with thin slices of proscuitto ham and dressed arugula on top.
1628 Frederick Ave.
St. Joseph, MO
Kansas City, MO
Next to Quay Coffee in Spring 2015
Erik Borger is a man on a pizza mission. He opened his incredibly authentic Neapolitan-style pizza place in St. Joseph last year, and in just a few short months plans to open his second location, with an Acunto pizza oven twice the size of the one he has in St. Joe in the River Market on Delaware. You must try his most popular pizza, the Margherita, which is the only pizzeria in the area certified as serving authentic Neapolitan pizza by the American Delegation of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. It’s a certification he worked hard to received in his St. Joseph location, and he plans to apply for it all over again for the River Market location.“That certification of authenticity speaks directly to the type of pizza we make at Il Lazzerone,” Borger says, “and I want to make sure every one of my locations is meeting that standard.” Borger is excited to be a part of the River Market area, in a location he had been eyeballing for several years. He’d always associated the neighborhood, he says, with good food and the City Market.
505 W. 75th Street
Kansas City, MO
Opening Summer 2015, next to Chipotle Mexican Grill in Waldo, which used to be Pizza Manifesto.
Pizzeria Locale is a partnership between Chipotle and Colorado restaurateurs Bobby Stuckey and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson. They will serve Italian inspired Neapolitan-style pizzas topped with seasonal ingredients. Kansas City will be their first location outside Colorado. When the news of this expansion into Kansas City went out last week across the land, the pizza geeks rejoiced, as this concept will bring good Neapolitan-style pizza and good wine to Waldo when it opens.
SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza - Six locations across the metro, and two new ones, opening up in 2015. One will open inside of Crown Center and the other in Overland Park’s Corbin Park Retail Village. http://www.spinpizza.com
This locally-started pizza chain has been franchising all across the country, but here in Kansas City we still think of it as our local pizza place. Chef Michael Smith, owner of Extra Virgin and Michael Smith Restaurant created the original menu, and still develops new menu items for them today. With craveable salads, gourmet Neapolitan pizza for Mom & Dad and cheese or pepperoni for the kids, the gelato will make both groups happy. Something for everyone and fun décor to boot.
If you aren't craving pizza by now, my friends, check your pulse. You may be dead.