UPDATE: It's not breaking news that a Papa John's Pizza, an outpost of the Kentucky-based pizza chain, is opening a spot in the East Crossroads next month. The location, at 1911 McGee, will be primarily for takeout pizza and delivery (there will not be an eat-in dining component), but the addition of a national fast-food chain to the arts district didn't sit well with everyone in the neighborhood.
Artist and culinary entrepreneur Jeff Rumaner, better known as the larger-than-life character Stretch, was one of those people. Stretch owns two popular dining venues in the Crossroads: Grinders Pizza, at 417 East 18th Street, and Grinders West, at 415 East 18th Street. He says he was less concerned about possible competition for his eight-year-old Grinders Pizza than the thought of the Crossroads becoming a magnet for fast-food franchises.
"I certainly don't see Papa John's as competition," Stretch says. "At Grinders, we create a dining experience. We're a destination for diners from all over the city. No one says, 'Let's get in the car and go to Papa John's.' They're going to be delivering pizzas. I guess that's great for people in the hotels."
*Up to five toppings or specialty
When the Dark Horse Tavern closed up a couple of weeks ago, it also meant the end of Torre's Pizza - the polarizing pie shop that operated out of the bar's kitchen. (We spoke highly of the joint in our epic pizza issue in March.) Fear not, Torre's devotees. You can still get the exact same menu (and even call the same number to order: 816-931-3663), just under a new name.
Owner Andy Skeen has rebranded his pizza operation as Downtown Pizza and moved into the kitchen at downtown gay bar Social (1118 McGee). "They [Social's owners] were real good customers of mine when I ran Torre's," Skeen says. "So they offered me the space."
How are ordinary citizens supposed to keep up with all this madness? Which brands are worth an extra couple of bucks, and which cause immediate regret? Why do they spell "wings" funny? Is it like how Kentucky Fried Chicken had to change its name to KFC because it wasn't technically serving chicken anymore? We don't know the answers to all these questions. But we know a lot about frozen pizza, and we have the high cholesterol and low self-esteem to prove it. Here, then, is Fat City's trusty, bottom-up guide to your next frozen pizza (which comes on the heels of last week's pizza issue).
There's some debate as to who first started serving pizza to Kansas City patrons. Was it downtown's old Italian Gardens restaurant? Was it the neighboring Gaetano's? Or was it - back in the 1950s - Antonio's pizzeria, at 43rd Street and Main, operated by Paul Silvio and the late Jasper Mirabile (who also served pizza at his namesake sit-down restaurant in Waldo)?
Memories are unreliable, but we do know that all of those pizzerias had something in common: They all used house-made, long-simmered tomato sauce on their pies.
The traditional favorite is Minsky's, while the newest contender is Pizzabella, in the Crossroads Arts District. It has won over locals with chorizo-with-pesto or egg-and-pancetta pizzas, as well as drinks and floats from food truck Little Freshie Sodas.
Travel + Leisure isn't the only one thinking about pizza in Kansas City. This Wednesday, look online and in newspaper boxes for the pizza issue - our guide to pizza joints on all points of the compass.
The Chicago Tribune talked to an engineer recently who believes that he has the perfect method for slicing a 16-inch pizza: four cuts (two vertical, two horizontal) that leave four triangular slices, four rectangular slices and a small square slice in the center. The triangles should then be sliced in half, and the rectangles should be cut into equal squares.
What's the best way to slice a pizza pie?
While pizza is the focus, Pizza Ranch also serves fried chicken, breadsticks, wings, and a host of potato options (mashed, homemade chips and fries). Each restaurant also has a pizza buffet with a salad bar and several different kinds of dessert pizza. The savory options include the Texan (beef, lettuce, tomato, two cheeses, taco sauce, and taco chips), the BLT (lettuce, tomato, bacon and mayo) and the chicken broccoli alfredo. Anybody had the chance to try a slice at a Pizza Ranch?
Given your druthers, what kind of food truck would you lobby to bring to town?
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Thanks Charles. That settles it then!