Locally owned Spin Neapolitan Pizza helped launch the trend more than a decade ago, and now Kansas City is seeing the rise of the fast artisan pizza movement.
A handful of operations have entered the market in recent weeks, and more are coming as they try to get a slice of the $45 billion pizza industry.
At fast-casual operations, customers pick their pie crust, sauce and toppings as they move down the counter, much as customers do at Chipotle. Spin offers a hybrid-style of service — customers order at the counter and are served at the table — while Dewey’s Pizza, with a new location in Overland Park, offers full service. Convenience is another key, with pizzas baking in under three minutes in high-temperature ovens.
They also are known for fresh, high-quality ingredients such as all-natural proteins and premium cheeses.
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At 1889 Pizza Napoletana in Kansas City, Kan., pepperoni is on the menu, but it’s a dime-sized artisan version that becomes crunchy during baking, the owners said. Customers also can select from items such as San Marzano tomatoes and salami piccante. Its specialty pizzas include the Green Eggs & Ham with basil pesto, fior di latte cheese, egg and prosciutto. It also features a modern Tuscan home setting with a sparkling crystal chandelier over a rustic community table.
Pizzeria Locale entered the market in mid-2015 with a Waldo location — its first outside its home state of Colorado — and recently added two more restaurants in Overland Park, and the area Pie Five Pizza franchisee has opened multiple locations in the metro. St. Louis-based Crushed Red Urban Bake & Chop Shop plans to enter the market with a location at 10640 Roe Ave. in Overland Park later this year.
Most of these chains are expanding by selling franchises and others have big backers, such as Pizzeria Locale’s partnership with Chipotle.
Here are restaurants new to the Kansas City market:
▪ Dewey’s Pizza, Ranch Mart South, 3615 W. 95th St., Overland Park, opened in mid-August. The Cincinnati-based chain says it “softens” its pizza dough by proofing it for 48 hours. It has specialty pizzas such as its Ryan’s Inferno with mozzarella, Buffalo chicken, Gorgonzola and red onion, topped with ranch dressing and celery after it’s baked, or customers can build their own from a choice of 50 toppings.
Other menu items include craft beers from across the country, wine, calzones, salads with house-made dressing, and desserts made by Three Women and an Oven and McLain’s Bakery. Unlike some of its competitors, it offers full service.
Most popular pie: Porky Fig with a fig jam base, caramelized red onions, prosciutto, and Gorgonzola, mozzarella and fontina cheeses.
▪ 1889 Pizza Napoletana, NorthWood Shopping Center, 2876 W. 47th Ave., Kansas City, Kan., opened in late June. The locally owned restaurant serves Neapolitan-style specialty and build-your-own pizzas. The pies are baked in minutes in a 1,000-degree oven using 100 percent white oak wood. The restaurant also uses double zero Caputo flour imported from Italy.
Other menu items include burrata with toasted rosemary focaccia appetizer, salads, Peach Nehi floats, and wine and beer on tap.
Most popular pie: The Butcher with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, Scimeca’s Italian sausage, meatballs, basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil.
▪ Mod Pizza, 1912 Star Drive, Suites A&B, Liberty. The first area location for the Bellevue, Wash.-based chain opened Sept. 21. It also offers salads, hand-spun milkshakes, house-made lemonade, iced tea, local craft beers and wine. The area franchisee plans multiple locations in the metro.
Most popular pie: The Mad Dog with pepperoni, mild sausage, ground beef, mozzarella and red sauce.
▪ Toppers Pizza, Mission Crossing, 6027A Metcalf Ave., Mission, opened its first area location in late June. The Wisconsin-based chain makes its dough fresh daily, then hand-stretches it and tops it with Wisconsin cheese and fresh ingredients. Customers can choose from 16 dipping sauces and six pizza sauces for specialty pizzas such as Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Mac ’N Cheese.
Other menu items include its signature breadsticks called Topperstix and baked Buffalo wings. The restaurant is open until 3 a.m. daily, and also offers carryout and delivery up to 3 a.m. within an eight-minute radius. The area franchisee plans four more locations.
Most popular pie: The Loaded Tot-zza with ranch sauce, mozzarella cheese, tater tots, bacon and green onions with drizzles of nacho cheese.