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Marco Polo's Italian Market
1201 West 103rd Street, 816-941-6600, jasperskc.com
Amore? Marco Polo's is the storefront for one of the most respected Italian eateries in KC — Jasper's.
Signature pie: The Around the Boot, with nine ingredients
Noteworthy deal: A slice of white clam, full of bits of clam and white sauce, costs $3.95.
Toppings: Sicilian fennel sausage, sweet onion, artichoke hearts, prosciutto
By the slice: Yes
Price: An 11-inch medium cheese — no smalls here — costs $12.95, while a square-pan combination costs $20.95.
Jasper Mirabile Jr. and his kitchen staff don't mess around when it comes to the traditional favorite: a thin, simple crust with light cheese (a blend of fontina, provolone and fresh mozzarella) and sweet sauce. Get to Marco Polo's early in the day for fresh slices or call in a whole pie and pick it up — the atmosphere of Marco Polo's isn't quite as cozy as at Jasper's.
Mark & Michelle's Bar & Grill
7102 North Oak Trafficway, Gladstone, 816-436-6600
Amore? The Cheers of Gladstone
Signature pie: Supreme — all available toppings
Noteworthy deal: $24.75 for a medium two-topping pie and 2 pounds of wings
By the slice: No
Price: From $6.75 for a 10-inch cheese to $17.75 for a 14-inch Supreme
Mark & Michelle's is a neighborhood bar with the coziness of a basement living room. The pizza, which Mark & Michelle's contends is the best in Kansas City, is exactly what you would want in your rec room — the best frozen pizza that has never been frozen. The crust is thin, with an even coating of cheese and sauce. Throw in a few bottled beers (there are no beers on tap) and a few games on the two pool tables, and you'll see why you'd be a regular here if you lived nearby.
McCoy's Public House
4057 Pennsylvania, 816-960-0866, mccoyspublichouse.com
Amore? Westport's most comfy dining room
Signature pie: Margherita
Noteworthy deal: Kitchen Sink (Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, basil roasted peppers, caramelized onion, three cheeses) for $12
Toppings: Lobster and citrus crema
By the slice: No
With its own beers on tap and cozy booths lining just about every wall, McCoy's is a homey place to unwind. So it's fitting that the pizzas here are cooked in a brick oven that's reminiscent of an old, grand fireplace. The pizza here is flatbread-style, with coaster-sized pepperoni, freshly torn basil, savory 12-hour red sauce, and a delicious salty mixture of cheeses. The more adventurous should stop next door at McCoy's sister eatery, the Foundry (424 Westport Road), to try the Cheat Lover's pizza, with faux cheese and meat and lots of veggies ($13).
5105 Main, 816-561-5100
Many other metro locations — see minskys.com
Amore? Cheesiest pizza in town
Signature pie: Papa Minsky (pepperoni, Italian sausage, salami, roasted red peppers, sweet "Minskitoni" sauce)
Noteworthy deal: Buy one medium, get the second medium half-off.
Toppings: This place has everything, but ask for a side of the peppercorn ranch dressing to give the crust a little extra kick.
By the slice: For lunch at certain locations.
Price: A medium pepperoni runs about $14; a large gourmet pizza, like the Italian Buffalo-Style Chicken, goes for $18.99.
There are tastier pizza places, and cheaper ones and more sophisticated ones, but no local pizza chain in town is as consistently pretty-damn-good as Minsky's. Its greatest attribute is its versatility: suitable for after the kids' soccer games, casual Tuesday dates or lazy Friday-night deliveries. We're partial to the honey-wheat crust (great with a plain old pepperoni) and the dozen or so "gourmet" pies, like the Cheeseburger (hamburger, sweet "Minskitoni" sauce, onion, sliced pickles, mozzarella, cheddar). Some find the Minsky's cheese — a thick blanket of 100 percent Wisconsin mozzarella — too filling, but we're not ones to complain about a surplus of cheese.