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Monetti's Taste of Italy
1313 Northeast Douglas, Lee's Summit, 816-524-1777, monettistasteofitaly.com
Amore? There's a real Italian pizza maker (he speaks very little English) tossing the pizza dough behind a glass window. Brooklyn-born restaurateur Giuliano Monetti Jr. is known to burst into song in the middle of the dining room.
Signature pie: All the pies are made-to-order.
Noteworthy deal: From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a slice of cheese pizza costs $3, and the pepperoni is $3.25.
Toppings: Lots of salty things — feta cheese, Kalamata olives, ham, anchovies
By the slice: During lunch only
Price: Depends on the number of toppings, but it ranges from $8 to $40.
Giuliano Monetti built a stone façade around his wood-fired pizza oven (it burns white oak) so that it looks like something you might see in Brooklyn, if not Naples. He uses only whole-milk mozzarella and a house-made marinara on his pies, which have a thin but appealingly chewy crust.
Next Door Pizza & Pub
3385 Southwest Fascination Drive, Lee's Summit, 816-763-1200, nextdoorpizza.com
Amore? Both thick-crust Chicago-style and thin-crust pizzas
Signature pie: The N9ne, named for Tech N9ne, promises "red everything."
Noteworthy deal: On Mondays, three children eat free with the purchase of a large pizza.
Toppings: It's one of the few pizza venues (maybe the only one) in the metro that offers a Bacon Explosion pizza: smoked sausage stuffed with bacon and wrapped in bacon.
By the slice: No
Owners Patrick and Joy Cuezze just wanted a neighborhood pizza parlor that would appeal to both the college students in the neighborhood and the young couples with children living in the surrounding suburbs. If that's not your scene, don't go Next Door.
7811 North Oak, 816-420-9977
7711 Prairie View, 816-587-5050
See northernlightspizza.com for additional locations
Amore? Dorm-room nostalgia
Signature pie: The Louisiana chicken supreme
Noteworthy deal: A medium two-topping pizza, breadsticks, two cans of soda, and a choice of wings or dessert for $17.99
Toppings: The usual meats and veggies, but also sauerkraut
By the slice: No
Price: $10.49 for a medium cheese; a large "super combo" runs $17.99.
Remember the pizza you'd order in college? The hot, fast, cheap and good (at least, you remember it being good) pizza that you'd order and eat for the next 48 hours? That's Northern Lights. The Missouri-Iowa chain covers those four basics and puts together deals that could feed a football team (or a dorm-room party). Order Northern Lights and eat like you're in college.
Old Shawnee Pizza & Italian Kitchen
6000 Rogers Drive, Shawnee, 913-631-5716, shawneepizza.com
Amore? Loyal customers can show their love with Affliction-style T-shirts, available online and at the store.
Signature pie: Creamy Italian — cream cheese, tomato, roasted garlic, Italian sausage, artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, three-cheese blend
Noteworthy deal: On Whiskey Thursdays, get any large specialty pie for $18.99 and any whiskey for $3.
Toppings: Nine different sauces, 13 cheeses, 19 meats (including crab and brisket), and 23 herbs and vegetables.
By the slice: No
Price: A 9-inch one-topping pie costs $7.95, and an 18-inch Biggin' can go as high as $29.55.
Old Shawnee is a crowd-pleaser with its selection of 28 specialty pizzas, a full cocktail menu, and awesome pizza sauce that's available by the jar for $3.99. Old Shawnee calls its signature-pie style "Midwest," meaning fresh-daily homemade dough that's rolled thin and piled high with toppings. We recommend mixing it up with dill pickles and Scimeca's Italian sausage, and enjoying an Italian margarita — an $8 doozy made with Patrón Silver and Disaronno.