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1035 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-841-7272
7901 Santa Fe, Overland Park, 913-648-1313, ks.papakenos.com
Amore? Trending upward again after some rocky years
Signature pie: The Steely Dan–sounding Kid Keno — pepperoni, spinach, feta, romano, roasted garlic
Noteworthy deal: Two-topping slice, salad and draft beer for $10
Toppings: Just because sauerkraut is available doesn't mean it's a good idea.
By the slice: Yes
Price: From $3.50 (cheese slice) to $27 (loaded 26-inch pie)
In the early 1990s, Papa Keno's imported the big-ass New York slice to Lawrence. By late 1995, there was a PK in Overland Park, and it, too, was an overnight hit. A decade and change later, the business suffered a failed expansion across the state line, a back-taxes quagmire, a labor dispute and a bankruptcy filing — hits you could taste in the frustratingly inconsistent food. Now, though, new ownership is overseeing old recipes, and there's reason to believe again. The slices are no longer gargantuan, and the prices are more uptown than the décor, but you'd forgive many more trespasses for this sauce.
7932 North Oak Trafficway, 816-436-5050 , piezanos.net
Amore? Hope bubbles up like good pizza crust.
Signature pie: The Bulldog (pepperoni, bacon, black olives and mushrooms)
Noteworthy deal: An 8-inch cheese pizza costs $4.99 (lunch only).
Toppings: The sauces include Alfredo and buffalo.
By the slice: No
Price: A 10-inch cheese costs $7.99, and a 16-inch Supreme is $18.99.
A new pizza shop has a checklist of items to cross off before it opens: row of booths, bank of arcade games, cheap domestic beer. Opening just last month in a former Pizza Street location, Pie-zanos has the first two covered and is hoping to secure its beer and wine license by next month. Now, it's serving a bready pie with a brown crust around a pretzel-like interior. The sauce is sweet, and the toppings are fresh — and the Hawaiian is even better cold the next morning.
1320 Grand, 816-221-8466, pizzabarkc.com
Amore? You're drunk in the Power & Light District, and it's the only hot, cheap thing that lets you put your mouth on it.
Signature pie: Pepperoni
Noteworthy deal: The $8, 32-ounce Miller Lite or Coors Light comes in a cup you keep.
Toppings: Nothing exotic
By the slice: Yes
Price: Slices, $3–$4.50; pizzas, $15–$20.
Chances are, if you're eating at Pizza Bar, you're drunk. The P&L pizza joint's imitation New York slices are so thin, they're easiest to eat by folding or rolling. You need two or three napkins just to clear the slicks off each greasy slice. But pizza is pizza when you're drinking, and Pizza Bar fills a need. Open until 3 a.m., Pizza Bar is the loud, last stop of a late night in the P&L.
1810 Baltimore, 816-471-3300, pizzabellakc.com
4000 Indian Creek Parkway, Leawood, 913-341-7700
Amore? Passion for this pizza runs as hot as Pizzabella's 700-degree oven.
Signature pie: Biancoverde with fresh mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta and arugula
Noteworthy deal: Little Freshie sodas for $3
Toppings: Potatoes, leeks, eggs and chorizo — the whole farmhouse
By the slice: No
A well-placed pile of arugula on the prosciutto pie and fat slices of radicchio on the potato pizza provide a balance to rich, bubbly cheese. Pizzabella's thin, wood-fired pie is right for sharing, as long as you snag a bowl of Brussels sprouts or a fish special. And just when you think you'll have something to take home, poof, it's gone.