We all know that Italian food is the most popular cuisine of America. So, it stands to follow, pizza surely is the most popular food in the world.
By LOU JANE TEMPLE
From that first box of Chef-Boy-Ardee, I knew my search for a good pizza was going to be a life long journey.
But why heat up the kitchen when there are so many interesting pizza choices in Kansas City now?
Here are some, certainly not all, of the best pizzas in town. Let me know what your favorite pie is, whether its on my list or not. Im always looking for the best pizza in the world.
Bella Napoli (6229 Brookside Blvd., 816-444-5041)
Bella Napoli has all kind of businesses in its space: groceries, deli, coffee shop and restaurant side by side. They have a good pie, with high quality ingredients, a nice, chewy crust, and very Italian combinations like the Capricciosa: Prosciutto, olives, mushroom, artichokes, tomato, mozzarella and basil. All the different parts, deli, coffee shop etc. have different hours so call first.
Blue Grotto (6220 Brookside Plaza, 816-361-3473)
The name sounds like a tropical fish store or a deep-sea diving school but instead its a sleek, modern café with a wood burning pizza oven and a good chef. I say that because his or her combinations are ingenious without being cutesy. The funghi (mushroom) is a favorite and I also like the Merguez with lamb sausage, peppers, olives and Pecorino.
Grinders (417 East 18th St.. 816-472-5454)
How hip is Grinders? Hip enough to have both George Clinton and David Byrne play in its back yard (not together). Hip enough to be in the Crossroads District, if you enlarge your definition of the Crossroads slightly. Hip enough to have a founder that has turned into a television personality. And hip enough to have pizzas with names like Bengal Tiger, Phats Goldberg, Le Hog, and their Famous Chili Bomb Pie with tater tots and chili cheese. As seen on Food Network. Hip.
Johnny Joes Pizzeria (1209 W. 47th St., 816-401-4483)
Kansas City isnt really a slice kind of town. There is no Rays Pizza, with slices as big as the paper plate they are served on. The art of folding your slice, eating and walking down the street has not been perfected here. But Johnny Joes may change that. They have tremendous slices for $3.50 and whole pies, too, of course. Good crust. Open evenings only.
Pizzabella (1810 Baltimore Ave., 816-471-3300)
It does seem a little strange when Brussels sprouts are the most talked about dish at a pizza place. But after you taste these Brussels sprouts, roasted with cranberries, almonds and pancetta added, you will understand. The wood-fired pizza are good, also, with some unusual and tasty combinations like fingerling potatoes, Gorgonzola and radicchio or leek, pancetta and goat cheese. There is also a Pizzabella at Mission Farms development.
Spin! Pizza (4950 Main St., 816-561-7746)
There are six Spin! locations in Kansas City and I normally wouldnt include a chain in my favorite list. But Spin! is founded here in Kansas City so I think it counts as local. Spin! doesnt have wood fired ovens but they have stone ovens that produce the same flashmarks and combination of crispy and chewy that we all love. And they have $18 bottles of wine, which you know I love. They also offer whole wheat and gluten-free crusts, the latter I cant even imagine.
Waldo Pizza (7433 Broadway, 816-363-5242)
Waldo Pizza is old school. And I love it for that. My favorite is the St. Louis style, with almost cracker thin, crisp crust and Provel cheese, a combination cheese only found in St. Louis, I think. They cut their pizza in smallish squares, which I also love. All the Waldo combos-veggie, choice cut, Tex Mex, Local Pig-are good. There is a Lees Summit location also.
Lou Jane Temples road to food has been a long and winding one. First as a rock n roll caterer back stage to the stars, then with her own Kansas City based catering company, Cafe Lulu, food writing, novelist, private chef. Lou Jane has written and had published nine culinary mysteries and one cookbook. She recently moved back to Kansas City and eagerly awaits the next chapter of her food career.