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Old Town Pizza
14850 Metcalf, Overland Park, 913-897-9242, kcoldtownpizza.com
Signature pie: Among various Wild West-sounding pizza names, there's the Stampede, which includes more pork than beef and therefore suggests a good old-fashioned hog trampling.
Noteworthy deal: Various daily specials
Toppings: Respectably 1980s
By the slice: No
Price: $7 for an 8-inch with one topping; $18 for a 14-inch specialty pie
With its saloon chandeliers and gunfighter logo, Old Town Pizza could have been a stop on the old Santa Fe Trail — if the cattle drive somehow time-warped to the early Reagan administration. (Oddly, though, none of the food here approaches wagon-wheel size; the small pie can be demolished in about 10 bites.) It's the kind of unfussy, one-crust-fits-all suburban joint where a whole lot of us first fell in love with pizza.
Open Fire Pizza
3951 Broadway, 816-605-1644
Amore? Its mission is earnest without being cheesy.
Signature pie: These are DIY pies.
Noteworthy deal: $8.59 for a 10-inch pizza with a salad or soup.
Toppings: Eat your vegetables because the toppings are unlimited — organic onion, roasted mushrooms and red pepper.
By the slice: No
The art that decorates Open Fire Pizza's walls hints at the restaurant's purpose. Open Fire supports Art Closet Studios, the community-driven arts workshop and work space operating behind a set of doors off the dining room. With live music and rotating art exhibits, there's a lot going on in the space. But the glow and the smell emanating from the wood-fired brick oven make it clear that this is a pizza place. The oven is the room's centerpiece, producing pies with a bit of chew. The toppings are local and organic, when possible, as part of the art operation's stated mission of sustainability.
11134 Antioch, Overland Park, 913-451-9245; other locations — originalpizzakc.com
Amore? Nearly three decades in the same OP strip mall must mean something, right?
Signature pie: Original claims to have "the best New York–style pizza in Kansas City."
Noteworthy deal: The $15 large cheese pie is a whopping 18 inches.
Toppings: You could get something besides just cheese or pepperoni, but that would be silly.
By the slice: Yes
Price range: From $2.50 for a plain slice to $16 for a 16-inch square pie
When the quarters ran out at Fun Factory, the mall kids hustled upstairs to the food court, where a burnout in an apron would take a couple of singles from you and heat a slice of pizza until it was a temperature conducive to further incubating all those joystick germs. Those days are gone, but Original Pizza — ruler of Oak Park Mall teens back then — is still rocking the suburbs at College Boulevard and Antioch. It's as New York as pizza gets around here, at least in terms of presentation: a long line of pies, ready to be poached from and oven-freshened for you while a kid in an apron tries to upsell you a salad. Get a second slice instead.
The Other Place
7324 West 80th Street, Overland Park, 913-652-9494
16590 West 135th Street, Olathe, 913-791-9500
Amore? This could be the busiest place in downtown OP on a Friday night.
Signature pie: The Four Star with pepperoni, sausage, green pepper and mushrooms
Noteworthy deal: Nothing pricewise, but there are 50 TVs, all tuned to sporting events.
Toppings: Standard, plus sauerkraut and cilantro
By the slice: Yes, at lunch for $2.50
Price: A 9-inch cheese costs $7.50; a 16-inch specialty can run as high as $23.75.
The Other Place's first location, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, opened in 1970 and was primarily a college bar with pizza. By 2013, the concept has been tweaked enough that the OP location is more a sports bar with pizza on its menu. The soft crust and tangy sauce don't stand up too well to sandwiches, subs and salads that are also available, but the atmosphere and drink specials can't be beat.