While Kansas City has tons of food options, some great pizza can be found here, so why not indulge? We have compiled the best pizza spots from lists on Kansas City Voter, Business Intuit, and The Fast Pitch, and here are our choices:
Waldo's Pizza: Repeatedly named the best pizza parlor on all these lists, Waldo’s provides arguably the best pizza in the area. Someoptions include the traditional pizza crust, St. Louis style thin crust, or honey wheat dough crust, with many toppings of cheeses, tons of meats, and an enormous array of vegetables to complete your delicious pizza.
Pizza Bella: Pizza Bella is known for their pizza choices like traditional Margherita, one with tomato, fennel sausage, roasted onion, Parmesan, and oregano, one with fingerling potatoes, gorgonzola, radicchio, and balsamic, and roasted eggplant pizza with tomato, olives, goat cheese and oregano.
Minsky's Pizza: With many locations around Kansas City, it’s no wonder Minsky’s Pizza was awarded as one of the best pizza shops by Zagat for their 17 gourmet pies. Some of the menu items include the nature’s choice with an assortment of vegetables, Italian buffalo-style chicken pizza, the prime cut pizza with an array of different Italian meats, and their gourmet calzone.
D'Bronx: With a name like D’Bronx, this Kansas City pizza parlor channels the roots of New York City pizza. While their classic pizza options are delicious, their specialty sandwiches and hot subs are really to die for, with choices like the meatball Parmigiana, the Bell Street bomb with roast beef, turkey, salami, cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, and vinagrette on a bun, or the calzones filled with three cheeses and three toppings of your choice.
Pizza Street: Ranked 12th in America by Pizza Today Magazine, you’ll definitely find some of the best food around at this unique dining experience, with a $5 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet that has made their franchise tremendously successful.
Pizza 51: Pizza 51 might seem like your average pizza shop, but their delicious pizzas and toppings will make your mouth water, including classic pizza options with an array of toppings, as well as giant sandwiches that will allow you to truly enjoy and indulge in your meal.
Pizza in Kansas City
Kansas City has a rich Italian history. For many decades in the mid-1900s, Italian communities were at the center of our commercial industries and small businesses. The cultural impact they had on Kansas City is significant, and one area where this is extremely noticeable is pizza in Kansas City.
KC pizza has so much to offer. There are mom-and-pop shops offering delicious takes on varying styles of pizza. These pies are unique and tasty, and you can find them all over Kansas City. There’s pizza in the River Market, on 39 th Street and in Waldo. There’s pizza in the Kansas suburbs and Missouri suburbs. North, south, east and west — there are good pizza places in Kansas City no matter where you are.
This guide to KC pizza will put you on the right track to find the perfect pie.
A Brief History of Pizza
Pizza has to be one of humankind’s pinnacle achievements, right? It’s a nearly perfect food. And pizza’s origin story isn’t what you think. Obviously, pizza is an Italian dish. But it was America, not Italy, that sent it skyrocketing to the top of the world’s food scene.
Pizza was conceived in Italy, and it was a working-class food. The blue-collar laborers of Naples needed something cheap and filling. Pizza fit the bill. It wasn’t popular with the top class of Italy, however. Italian authors of the time called it a “disgusting” food.
Americans would gladly pick up what the elite residents of Naples sluffed off. Italian immigrants brought pizza with them, and it became a sensation. The first recorded pizza joint was in New York City. Americans quickly claimed pizza for our own, making it a commonplace meal. The majority of Italy didn’t claim the dish as their own until well after Americans were serving slices by the thousands.
Today, there are hundreds of thousands of pizza restaurants spread out across the country.
Where to Find Pizza Restaurants in Kansas City
KC pizza never developed its own signature style like the thin-crusted New York pizza or deep-dish Chicago pies. Instead, you can find a little bit of everything in the Kansas City pizza scene.
Waldo Pizza has been serving up slices for more than 30 years at 7433 Broadway Boulevard on the south side of Kansas City. This is a KC pizza institution with a creative menu. It shouldn’t be your first stop if you are looking for a traditional Italian pie. But if you are looking for a mouth-watering meal from a local business, Waldo Pizza has you covered.
From Waldo, you can head north to pizza places in Kansas City like d’Bronx. This old-school deli has been serving New York-style pizza and sandwiches on 39 th Street for more than 25 years. Look for the big blue awning on the corner building — you can’t miss it.
Keep moving toward downtown and you’ll find The Art of Pizza. Like d’Bronx, The Art of Pizza also serves New York-style pies. You can find this KC pizza shop on 18 th Street, just off Baltimore in the heart of the Crossroads. Make sure to check out the daily specials to get the best deal.
On the other side of downtown, you can find Minsky’s Pizza in the historic City Market. Minsky’s has been around Kansas City for more than 40 years and has several locations. They serve thick, cheesy slices of goodness, and you can’t afford to miss it.
And for that 1 a.m. slice of perfection, there may be no better place in the world than Joe’s Pizza. This Kansas City, Mo., pizza joint is located in the heart of Westport, attached to the back of Kelly’s Westport Inn. You can buy a massive slice of thin-crust pizza for only a couple bucks. And while you’re there, you might as well take part in a Joe’s tradition that is a first for many people: dip your pizza in honey. We know, it sounds weird. Just try it and thank us later.
This barely scratches the surface of KC pizza. There are so many more pizza restaurants in Kansas City, and we’ll get to those in just a second. First, there’s a KC pizza tradition you need to know about.
KC Pizza Week
KC Pizza Week is the perfect time to try as many pizza joints as you can. This annual tradition is hosted by The Pitch, Kansas City’s weekly alternative magazine. Participating restaurants serve 10-inch specialty pizzas for $8 for a whole week. A good variety of Kansas City pizza places join in each year. Check with The Pitch for details on the upcoming KC Pizza Week.
More Pizza in Kansas City
If you zoom out far enough on a map of the whole Kansas City metro area, you’ll probably find more pizza places than the casual diner could ever hope to try. Here are several of those pizza places in KC:
Good luck getting to all these shops. There’s so much pizza in KCMO. Get out there and order a slice!
By The Numbers: Lidia’s Kansas City Celebrates 20 Years of Pasta Perfection
When Lidia’s Kansas City opened in the Crossroads 20 years ago, little did anyone know that area would become the beehive of activity it is today. Owner Lidia Bastianich was ahead of her time, but it didn’t take long before her perfectly prepared pasta dishes developed the following that continues to this very day. With so much history (and tiramisu) under their belt, we thought they’d be the perfect choice for our mindless “By the Numbers” query. Executive chef Cody Hogan didn’t even roll his eyes once when answering our questions—uh, that we know of.
Executive chef Cody Hogan
Years you’ve been in business: 20
Current dish with the greatest number of ingredients: 20. Our house-made lasagna has over 20 ingredients, including dry porcini mushrooms, pancetta, Grana Padano, ricotta, onions, spinach, and béchamel, beef and pork—to name a few.
Number of menu items you’ve featured over the years: Thousands!
Number of wedding parties/rehearsal dinners you’ve thrown: 1,292—that we have a record of. With two private dining spaces, we do a lot of celebrating in the restaurant!
Number of books Lidia has published: Ten cookbooks, three children’s books and one memoir.
Number of books sold: Over 1 million.
How much fresh garlic do you go through in a month: 300+ pounds per month!
Number of famous people who have eaten at Lidia’s: All. Of. Them. Donny Osmond, Henry Winkler, Julie Brown, Sheryl Crowe, Martha Stewart, Carson Kressley, Emeril Lagasse, locals Jason Sudeikis and Don Cheadle, Bobby Bell, John Elway, Hillary Clinton, Harry Connick, Jr., the Queer Eye boys and the list goes on and on. Oh—and Barry Manilow also gets our Pollo Limone to go whenever he is within reach.
Percentage of people who order your famous Pasta Trio: Over 50 percent of guests do!
Calories in your most decadent dessert: Currently? 750. It’s Chef Danica’s ice cream sandwich.
Weight of the stunningly colorful glass chandeliers in your dining room: The largest chandelier weighs 560 pounds.
Number of employees: 102
Biggest tip one of your servers has received: The largest reported tip was from a gentleman who was in a “huge hurry.” The staff accommodated his requests so quickly he left the server $1,000. He then revealed he had landed a big deal that day and needed to get on his plane.
Price of your most expensive bottle of wine at Lidia’s: $415 for our 2011 Antinori Solaia—pure enjoyment.
How many different kinds of pasta are you currently serving: 4, but our pasta trio changes from lunch to dinner service. On the current menu we have risotto, cannelloni, lasagna, and gnocchi, though.
Number of Emmys Lidia has won: 2. She’s won Outstanding Culinary Host in both 2013 and 2018.
How many other restaurants does Lidia have: 6. Felidia, Becco, Del Posto, Esca (NYC) Lidia’s KC and Lidia’s Pittsburgh.
Biggest party you’ve ever thrown at Lidia’s: We saw over 600 of our friends, family, former staff, and colleagues at our 20th anniversary party on October 30th. We had a couple buy out the main dining room with over 250 guests for a wedding reception once. It was quite the party—but, then again, we throw large parties here all the time.
Kansas City Style Barbecued Chicken Pan Pizza
Kansas City Style Barbecued Chicken Pan Pizza is a delicious combination of juicy White Chicken Breast seasoned and cooked to perfection, topped with Vermont extra sharp White Cheddar, Wisconsin Style Yellow Sharp Cheddar, Hickory Smoked Bacon, Sweet Vidalia Onions, jalapeño Peppers, and Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce on a semi-homemade crust baked crispy in a Cast Iron Skillet .
This simple to make recipe is a BIG hit in our home every time I make it, it disappears like a thief in the night off the table. I have actually had to invest in 3- yes 3 large Cast Iron Skillets to accommodate my husband and son’s pizza eating habits over the years. I have to admit this recipe for Kansas City Style Barbecued Chicken Pan Pizza has been a favorite go-to meal for some time now with our family and they will request it often so I always have a package of frozen bread dough on hand from the market.
Below you will find a simple and utterly delicious recipe for one of our family favorites. The recipe will make one medium-sized Kansas City Style Barbecued Chicken Pan Pizza so you will need to adjust the recipe for your family size and appetite. My rule of thumb would normally be 1 per 2 adults with average eating habits.
Kansas City Style Barbecued Chicken Pan Pizza
- 1 loaf of frozen bread dough, your brand
- oil, do not use olive oil due to high heat
- 2 – 6-ounce chicken breasts
- Mesquite dry seasoning, your brand
- 1/4 of a cup Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce, your brand +extra
- 1/2 of Vermont white extra sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated divided x2
- 1/2 of a cup of yellow sharp Wisconsin cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 5 slices crispy hickory smoked bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, sliced
Directions for bread dough
- Place one oiled frozen bread loaf (your brand) in a 9吉 metal baking pan covered lightly with a towel and place in an unheated oven. Let rest 6-8 hours undisturbed.
- Preheat oven to 425 when ready to bake pizza dough
- Meanwhile, season whole chicken breasts with mesquite seasoning, turn the burner on the stove top to medium heat, add a touch of oil and place whole chicken breasts in skillet cook on each side about 6-8 minutes depending on thickness, or till done and no juices are emerging from meat.
- Lightly oil a Cast Iron Skillet
- Remove bread dough from oven (it will look the size of the 13 x 9 metal pan) Place in lightly oiled Cast Iron Skillet, press down on bread dough and around till it completely covers the bottom of the Cast Iron Skillet and comes up the sides of the pan. Once done prick several holes so the dough does not shrink up during the baking process.
- Place cast Iron Skillet in an oven preheated to 425 degrees and bake bread dough for about 12-14 minutes or till a very light golden color (Do not overbake ) Once done remove Cast Iron Skillet from oven and place on heat safe area.
- Once the chicken is done remove from skillet, let the chicken cool for a few moments, then chop chicken breasts into desired size pieces. Place in a bowl and lightly coat chicken with extra BBQ sauce (about 2-3 tablespoons) set to side
Assembly of BBQ Chicken Pan Pizza
- Layer in this order: 1/4 cup of Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce Onto pizza dough, evenly distribute sauce leaving outer edges clear of BBQ sauce, 1/4 of a cup of extra sharp white cheddar cheese on top of Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce, 1/2 of chicken on top of Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce, 1/2 cup of yellow sharp cheddar cheese on top of chicken breast that has been lightly coated in Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce, crisp hickory smoked bacon, and sliced onions. Top with remainder of cheese and fresh Jalapeno pepper slices.
- Place in a preheated oven to 450 degrees and bake for about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and place on a heat-resistant area till cool enough to slice and serve.
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© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2018- 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
In the Kitchen: Flatbread Basics
E veryone loves a good flatbread—thin and crispy or thick and chewy—or even a combination of both. Leavened or unleavened, made from wheat or other grains, a food scholar could fill a lifetime researching this subject. My own introduction to preparing them began over 30 years ago making pizza from scratch at home, and I have been cooking and learning new ones ever since.
There are countless ways of making flatbreads. This recipe is a starting point for leavened flatbreads like pizza, pita, naan, lahmacun, focaccia—the list goes on. I’ll discuss variations as I go. This bread can be fried in a skillet or on a griddle, cooked on a grill or grill pan, baked on a sheet pan or baking stone. Different methods result in slightly different finished products, but I find each of them very satisfying in its own way.
Whether I’m preparing them as part of a casual meal or an impromptu appetizer to accompany drinks, at least half of the fun is the seemingly endless number of accompaniments for flatbreads you can use. Think of everything you could put on a pizza or quesadilla—practically every salsa in existence, cheeses, purées, spreads—and flatbreads are a great way to use up remnants of salads, sauces, cheeses, or dips (see Pantry). Make this your own and enjoy.
Cody’s Super-Fast Flatbread
There are a lot of words in this description, but I am covering several ways to get to the finish line, so read ahead and make a plan before you begin.
If you want to bake this bread in the oven, maybe even on a baking stone(!), begin by preheating it as high as it will go (around 450-500F) while you prepare the dough. In a food processor combine two cups of all-purpose flour , a half teaspoon of salt , 2 tablespoons EVOO , and one tablespoon of active dry yeast —I know, that’s a lot of yeast, but I wrote this recipe with speed in mind, and more yeast helps move things along. Turn on the food processor and gradually pour in one cup of warm water. When the dough gathers into a stringy ball chasing itself inside the food processor (this should take about 20 seconds), remove it from the processor bowl and, on a lightly floured surface, briefly knead it. It should be sticky, so generously floured hands will be a great help. (If you’re not using a food processor, the same thing can be accomplished by hand but it will take 5-10 minutes more.)
Variations, you ask? The dough could be made with different kinds and blends of flour. Bread flour would make the dough more elastic. Whole-grain flours, especially whole wheat (which I usually add a tablespoon or two of because it gives a slightly more rustic quality to the bread) and seeds can be interesting. Yogurt or sour cream can be added as part of the liquid component for a more Middle Eastern approach and a more tangy flavor, and it gives the bread a slightly longer shelf life after you cook it. You get the idea.
Flatten the dough into a wide disk and lay it out on a well-floured board. Cover with a damp cloth and put it in a warm place for about 30 minutes while you assemble your condiments and toppings or clean the house. The dough should begin to puff and rise, but a big rise is not necessary for this quick flatbread. When you are ready to proceed, uncover the dough and divide it into two to four equal parts with a knife, being careful to disturb the dough as little as possible. Larger or smaller breads are possible by simply cutting the dough into fewer or more pieces. Dividing it into three is what I do for my old skillet.
For the stovetop method, heat a cast-iron or other large, wide skillet or grill pan. Gently pat each piece into a round disk, then stretch each to approximately the size of the skillet bottom. If the dough resists stretching, use a rolling pin (or wine bottle) and a generous sprinkling of flour to roll out the dough. It is essentially ready to cook. If using a skillet, preheat it and then drizzle about one generous tablespoon of olive oil into the pan. For extra flavor, I like to drop a few needles of rosemary or other herb into the oil. Then place one of the stretched pieces of dough on top of the herbs. Sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt and more herbs and cover the pan for a minute or two. Peek. The dough will begin to puff a little here and there. When the dough begins to brown on bottom, turn it over and sprinkle a little more salt on the other side while it browns. If it puffs up like a pillow, gently press it down with a spatula until more reasonably flat. Total cooking time will be about five minutes, but it depends on the thickness of the bread. Continue with the remaining pieces of dough. If cooking on a grill or griddle, the process is essentially the same. If baking in the oven, maybe on a stone, simply slide the dough onto the hot surface. Chances are it will puff like a pillow in the oven. Congratulations, you just made pita bread. Flip it over and briefly (like 60 seconds), toast the other side. Voila! You’re a flatbread baker.
And remember, if your first attempt at flatbread isn’t exactly perfection—meaning that you would rather not eat it—you could always go to the park, tear it into pieces, take a walk and feed the birds. Both you and the birds will feel happier for having done that. Refreshed, go back to the kitchen and try again, taking one more step towards making this bread your own.
In Your Pantry
Your pantry can be a one-stop shop for great toppings and dips for your next flatbread. Expand your repertoire with some of these combinations.
Dried Fava Beans
Similar to hummus, a delicious spread is easily made from dried fava beans (available in Middle Eastern or specialty stores). Put the beans in a pot with a clove of garlic, bay leaf, salt, a splash of oil, and water to cover. Cook until tender—about 30 minutes—adding a little water if needed to prevent scorching. Purée with an immersion blender or food processor. Adjust consistency with oil or water, and season as needed. Serve with cilantro, grilled greens, or chile oil. Be sure to use the peeled dried favas (they’re yellow/light tan, and look like partially split and chipped beans). The unpeeled version (brown, looking like whole beans) takes ages to cook and then require peeling.
Hummus made with canned garbanzo beans/chickpeas, lemon, and tahini is familiar and fast. Try substituting a jar of basil pesto and a few cloves of garlic for the tahini for a delicious Italian variation the next time you need to dip. Don’t overlook other canned beans in your search for satisfying spreads. Great Northern or cannellini beans, drained of their liquid and puréed with black-olive paste (tapenade), or black beans puréed with a dash of oregano and cumin can be a tasty foundation for an extra-happy happy hour. And don’t neglect a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil for a rich finishing touch.
Love cheese but don’t know what to do with those odd and aging bits—some of them much stronger than when purchased? Blue, green, yellow, white, hard or soft—whip them into a little classic French fromage fort (meaning strong cheese). Pop those cheesy bits (wax rinds—or really any rind you wouldn’t want to eat—removed) into a food processor with a clove or two of garlic and purée them to a creamy consistency. Some like to add a splash of white wine or a few herbs like chives, scallions, or parsley when processing. A creamy, more Boursin-like spread can be made by adding a little cream cheese or butter. Serve at room temperature, chilled, or lightly warmed.
Paradyme Shift Perennial Wheat Pizza
Matt Starline holds up part of the first meager harvest of kernza berries in 2016. Seth Lutton, (top) has planted seven acres above the Hocking River to help me and other food and beverage suppliers integrate this perennial wheat into our menu mix.
“If we don’t get sustainability in agriculture first, sustainability will not happen.”
Our Kernza cracker-crust pizza using 50 percent Kernza flour and 20 percent hydration. This is topped with Fontina, cured Oliver Farms pork belly, Parmigiano Reggiano and Valorosso tomato passata.
We’ve come a long way in our quest for pizza perfection in this culinary universe. Many Pizzaioli and bakers dedicate their whole lives to the craft of the perfect pizza or bread. For some, that search for the great Neapolitan pizza or baguette of old is an obsession. Unfortunately, the pizza makers of old used flour that wasn’t genetically modified, sprayed with Round-up and super-fertilized. The old bakers used flour that wasn’t bleached and bromated, it was ground by stones using waterwheels or with mules.
The old ways do still occur through the unsustainable use of the earth to grow wheat. We scratch at the soil with diesel plows every spring blowing up billions of pounds of dust, then we plant a short-rooted, genetically engineered wheat for a short period in soil that is denuded of all nutrients which causes us to spray super-fertilizers and pesticides that leach into our water supplies. Compound that with the harvest by those spewing diesels again then the long slog of winter with nothing to comfort the earth except cold and death.
So why should independent restaurant owners like myself care about the pollution, wasted energy, poisonous waterways and dust clouds that hurt our earth?
Its all about the kids. Do we want them to inherit a farming system that is ruining the earth. Hell no is my answer.
Three years ago, I wanted to use my pizzeria and bakery to contribute in some small way to make the world a better place. With that in mind, I had figure out how to incorporate sustainable and non-sprayed raw materials into my menu-mix without going broke. I knew that it had to be a real game-changer and something that no one was doing yet. Kernza Pizza!
Alternative to Conventional Wheat
I figured a good start would be with my most used ingredient and the base for my pizzas and breads-wheat.
To grow industrial or “Conventional” wheat, large tracts of land get bombarded with insecticides and fertilizers. The erosion created by the constant dredging and plowing of the earth can be seen from space as the clouds of dust in spring sends plumes into the air like smoke signals spelling out our ignorance. Here in Ohio, the old-ways die hard. So much fertilizer is used in fields that the resulting algae blooms make numerous lakes unswimmable each summer.
My first use of home-ground Kernza berries at 100 percent with no added gluten or wheat flour.
What to do?
Having had first hand experience with local farmers who plant, grow and harvest their bounty every year without ruining the land in the process, I decided to seek some help to find a sustainable grain for my pizzas and breads.
I first contacted Lee DeHaan (above) at the Land Institute in Kansas which was formed by Wes Jackson to promote new, sustainable ways to grow foods. He was an excellent contact and full of information I was looking for. (I even gave him and Avalanche “Chupocabra” hat.) Lee referred me to Steve Cullman, a brilliant professor at Ohio State University in Wooster, Ohio who showed me his fields in Wooster, Ohio and too the time to make a short film for all the farmers with questions. Steve also set me up with a brilliant amount of kernza seed to mill and plant.
These are Kernza roots on the left, compared to the conventional wheat roots on the right of this picture. This says it all- no watering, cold tolerant, drought resistant and rich soil.
Steve had been growing Kernza, a perennial wheatgrass that produces berries every year without tilling. He explained that the roots of the kernza plant grow deep enough so that constant watering is not needed. These deep roots are also highly tolerant of harsh weather as they’ve found at the University of Minnesota.
Here is the 20 minute video that Joe Bell took of our very informative trip to one of the first fields of sustainable wheatgrass in Wooster Ohio. I had some questions for Steve from my farmer friends about how to plant and grow this grain.
Professor Cullman gave us a huge amount of Kernza seed which we screened and I small-batch milled. In the meantime, my farmer friends tried getting their Kernza seed into the ground but 2015 was a very hot year and the yield was minuscule.
The End User
After attending a conference at the University of Minnesota last year, I was heartened greatly at the motivation of certain bakers, brewers and growers were showing toward Kernza. The selective growing process was making the Kernza berries larger and the farmers were finding out that Kernza was the best crop to add nitrogen in overused cropland.
I also found some great information from General Mills, (yes, THE General Mills.) Their scientists had analyzed Kernza flour and it had a great amount of protein but the bran in the berries was troubling for bakers. The bran contributed to a less-than-desired-rise in bread so bakers were adding other, more glutenous grains to the mix to produce a more traditional looking and tasting loaf. When I was in Minnesota for the Kernza conference, I was shocked to hear that bakers were only using 15% to 20% kernza in their breads. I had to use more to prove to my local farmers that I could move as much kernza as they could grow.
I also found that the use of Kernza in the marketplace was minimal because the circle from farm to field was devoid of end users such as myself. My problem was the supply of milled Kernza to keep a perennial wheatgrass pizza in my menu-mix. Luckily, I found a purveyor that could get me a constant supply of organic Kernza.
The bran impeded the strong gluten net that held carbon dioxide creating an airy crust. I had found this a problem in the past when using 100% spelt flour that wasn’t milled very fine. So I tried something completely different. I decided to go with the crunch and cracker-like characteristics inherent in Kernza and made a beautiful pizzza using almost 60% Kernza flour. These pies, cooked at 600 degrees for only 4 minutes rocked!
I’m now a true and dedicated disciple of Kernza and every time I cook a Kernza pizza or bread, my hope for humanity ratchets up a few notches. I thank Lee DeHaan at the Land Institute, Professor Steve Cullman at Ohio State University, The University of Minnesota and all the local farmers who took the chance to grow Kernza here in Athens and Plovgh for helping me.
Now, I challenge all my fellow bakers and pizza makers to do your part to make perennial wheat part of your menu mix.
Italian Restaurants in Kansas City
Italian roots run deep in Kansas City. The first known Italians who ventured to the Midwest were missionaries. Their travels brought them to the area as early as 1495. Later on, America became Italian immigrants’ primary destination. By 1890, many Italians found Kansas City and called it home.
Along with German, Irish and African American newcomers, these are the folks who populated early Kansas City. The Italian community became a vibrant hub of business and political power, but it was not without its downfalls, as mob violence also became an Italian feature of Kansas City history that cannot be ignored. The impact of the Italian community on this city, for better or worse, has been significant.
This, of course, translates to food. There are hundreds of Italian restaurants in Kansas City and the surrounding metro area. There are mom-and-pop shops that have been around for decades, as well as new Kansas City Italian restaurants. These spots offer all types of Italian classics for all types of hungry diners.
The Making of Italian Cuisine
Italian cuisine was intended to be made in the home. It is the epitome of comfort food — hearty, rich and filling. Since Italian cooking began back in the Roman Empire, it has had a heavy emphasis on grains, red meats and fish. These are the ingredients the land provided, and Italians’ ancient ancestors knew what to do with them.
Masterfully crafted entrees like pasta, pizza and lasagna were not commonplace in ancient Rome. Italian food has continued to involve, bringing in new ingredients, technologies and techniques over many years. The introduction of red meat, for instance, is a modern development in Italian cooking. Fish was the primary meat in centuries past.
Today, we’re all familiar with Italian cooking’s most famous creations. What you need to know is where to find Italian food in Kansas City.
Finding Kansas City Italian Restaurants
There are, without exaggeration, hundreds of Italian restaurants in Kansas City, Mo., and the surrounding metro area. We couldn’t possibly cover them all or tell you which one you’ll like the most. Despite that, we’re going to share a few Kansas City Italian restaurants here that are both historic and beloved by the community. You can grab lunch or dinner at any of these restaurants and have a great meal.
- Founded in 1998, this Kansas City Italian restaurant is a classic and must-try. A man named Leonardo Mirabile opened an Italian restaurant in Kansas City in 1954 with his son, Jasper. Back then, the restaurant was located near 75 th Street and Wornall, and a three-course meal cost .79. Today, Jasper’s is serving up classic Italian dishes on 103 rd The current iteration on Anthony’s is run by the third generation of the founding family. Stop in for classic Kansas City Italian fare in a historic location. Restaurant, deli, grocery and coffee bar. Bella Napoli is a multi-purpose space that has been provided Kansas City with authentic Italian goods and meals since 2001. This is a relaxed, comfortable Italian restaurant in KC that has been serving customers for more than 23 years. Osteria’s location in South Plaza makes it an even better night out.
The North End: Italian in Kansas City’s Columbus Park and the River Market
There are Italian restaurants and communities spread out all over the Kansas City metro, but the North End is a historically Italian district. The area today is split into two communities: the River Market and Columbus Park.
The River Market saw the darker side of Kansas City’s Italian history through a series of violent mob wars that involved drive-by shootings, car bombs and building explosions. The wreckage of the situation left the River Market nearly desolate for decades until its revitalization in the 2000s. Today, there are still old-school Italian restaurants in the River Market, but it has become a much more international scene with places for Brazilian, Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern and Mexican food right next to each other.
The historic Italian community who lived in the River Market at the time of the mob violence moved a couple miles east into Columbus Park, which is home to some of the oldest and best Italian restaurants in Kansas City, Missouri. Here are a few you can check out in these historic communities:
- Try the chicken spiedini, a marinated chicken breast, skewered and rolled in Italian bread crumbs before being grilled to perfection. This is great place for a sandwich at lunch or a sit-down dinner. The North End has been serving Italian food in Kansas City for 90 years from its historic Columbus Park location. Cascone’s is a family-run restaurant with a tradition that dates back to 1930. It’s located on 5 th Street directly next to one of Kansas City’s streetcar stops. Come early — Cascone’s only serves breakfast and lunch. Look no further for the best cold-cut sub in town. This grocery and deli is located on the northwest corner of the historic City Market. You can grab food to go or sit down and enjoy the meal.
The Italian Menu Items You Should Order
Each Italian restaurant in Kansas City will have its own specialty — the dish they create like no one else — but there are also classic Italian dishes that make a great meal from any menu.
- Pasta: Obviously.
- Pizza: There are many different ways to make it, and finding your favorite is a fun food adventure.
- Risotto: A creamy dish of rice mixed with vegetables and meat, with variations depending on the chef.
- Tiramisu: A layered coffee cake that is to die for.
Italian restaurants in KC will each have their own recipes for these classic, tasty dishes. Try them out at any of the restaurants listed here and you’re sure to enjoy a great meal.
In the mood for some New York style pizza? Stop by d&rsquoBronx for a floppy, savory slice that makes New York proud, probably because the concept was conceived in The Bronx. The original owner&rsquos father owned a deli in NYC and when she married and moved to Kansas City, the couple brought along all of her father&rsquos recipes. The original owners went on to sell their restaurant to Don Foringer who is just as dedicated to maintaining its authentic deli style and family recipes as his predecessors.
website|3904 Bell St. Kansas City, MO 64111|816.531.0550
KC Cajun is givin' Kansas City, MO a little taste of the bayou at every turn. Voted the best Cajun truck in all of the KC metro, they're committed to tradition in a way most aren't, stickin' to time tested recipes passed down over generations of Creole chefs and cooks.
At KC Cajun, you're getting classic dishes alongside street food fusions, culminating in a full-bodied menu built to satisfy. Get a bowl full of goodness in their hearty gumbo infused with hearty andouille sausage, or fill ɾr up with jambalaya for a meal that's got that stick to your ribs quality. But where KC Cajun stands apart from the rest is in its offering of unique eats, including Cajun pizza topped with Louisiana crawfish tails and fried alligator on a stick for you adventurous foodies out there. Really, there are no wrong choices here, only delicious ones. So why wait? Track down KC Cajun in Kansas City, MO, or have ɾm out to cater your next event. Either way, this is one foodie experience you don't want to miss.
Cajun Pizza — A must try for a reason, you're getting their specialty crawfish bread with tomatoes, garlic, Louisiana crawfish tails and spices, and oh so much mozzarella cheese for your enjoyment.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
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So lately, I’ve been craving pizza. All day. Every day.
Apparently this is what happens when a trendy new little Neapolitan pizzeria moves in next door to your loft downtown. And any time you go outside to walk your dog…you smell pizza. Any time you walk to the coffee shop down the street, you pass by people enjoying a lunch out on the patio and…you smell pizza. Any time you open your window to let in those gloriously warm spring breezes…you smell pizza.
I mean, no complaints. I’m beyond thrilled that these guys have moved in next door, and my neighbors and I have already made this place our designated new hangout for pizza and beers every chance we get. But after our month eating out in Austin, I’m still trying to reign things in with my food budget back home in Kansas City. So I have been trying to channel my pizza cravings back into my own kitchen at least half of the time to save a few bucks. And, in the meantime, use those cravings to perfect some of my favorite homemade pizza recipes. Especially pizza dough recipes.
Now for years and years, I have used Jenna’s recipe for homemade pizza dough made with all-purpose flour, which tastes amazing. But I’ve been on a mission to cut out most refined flours from my diet this year, and have been experimenting with some whole wheat alternatives again. And after round after round of pizza-indulging — err, taste-testing — I think I have finally settled on my favorite recipe for honey whole wheat pizza dough.
It’s easy to make. It’s made without refined flours. It’s naturally sweetened with a spoonful of honey.
And oh man, I can’t stop craving it.
I’ll be the first to confess that I’m often a reluctant adopter of all things “whole wheat”.
Like many people, I grew up with all sorts of refined flours in my diet. Rice, pastas, breads, pizza doughs, you name it — all-purpose flour is freaking delicious, and it set the bar in my mind for how everything should taste. But that said, I know it’s not the best for me, so I have been exploring heathier whole-wheat or grain-free alternatives for the years for some of my favorites. I love me some quinoa in place of white rice. DeLallo rocked my world with their (genuinely) tasty organic whole-what pasta. I’m obsessed with sprouted grain breads. But when it came to pizza, I had a hard time making whole-wheat alternatives at home that actually tasted good.
So I went on a mission to figure it out.
I’m happy to finally say…mission accomplished.
I seriously can’t stop making this whole wheat pizza dough. After tinkering around with various recipes over the years, I have finally landed upon this mix of ingredients. And the result is a dough that’s easy to make (especially if you let a mixer do the kneading), full of ingredients I can feel good about (including my favorite white whole wheat flour and a bit of honey), and it actually tastes good.
Like seriously. I’m now to the point where I crave that taste of wheat more than the refined blandness that is all-purpose flour. (Who would’ve guessed?!)
To make it, just simply mix up a batch with your mixer (or knead it by hand). Let it rise for awhile, then roll it out and toss on your favorite toppings (pepperoni for life!). Then bake it up to crispy perfection.
I went with a thicker crust version for this pizza, which was golden and chewy and delicious as ever. But if you’re more into thin crust, simply divide the recipe in half and then roll it out nice and thin and you’ll have two crusts to load with toppings — bonus!
You can even roll out and freeze the dough for later, if you’d like.
Which makes it perfect for those nights when you’re craving a Digiorno, but would love to enjoy a frozen pizza without refined flours (whole wheat for the win!). Perfect for those nights you’re craving some pizza but don’t want to venture out (pop on some Netflix and have a movie night!). And perfect for those nights when you’re wanting to save a few bucks (because pizza dough is way cheaper to make homemade!).