Among the oldest and longest-held single-family businesses in Kansas City, Pizza Shoppe began like many murder mysteries begin—during a dinner party on a dark and stormy night. Dick Ryan realized he was short on a key ingredient and decided to improvise, whipping up a pizza from what ingredients he had and baking it to a crispy crust. The first Pizza Shoppe pizza was born, with Dick's wife, Loreta, having the honor of the first bite. More than 45 years later, the pizzeria has expanded to 20 locations in four states, and its signature crispy crust has been topped by ever-bolder permutations of toppings. The Butcher Block emphasizes bacon and pork, while the BBQ Chicken accents its eponymous ingredients with pineapple, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese. Patrons can also paint their own dough-canvases with off-the-beaten-path ingredients that include corned beef, blue cheese crumbles, genoa salami, and dill pickles.
Since 1982, the pie architects at Simple Simon's Pizza have assembled casual Italian and American fare at 240 locations scattered across 10 states. Fresh veggies, quality meats, and blankets of cheese spread atop pizzas and fortify the golden-brown walls of Calizones. Breadsticks sheathed in even more cheese accessorize meals, and a smattering of mild-to-spicy wings helps to separate the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and the girls from the boys if they get too rowdy at coed canoe camp.
At the Pita Place, you might sit down to the same meal that the Iranian royal family once enjoyed. That’s thanks to owner Fred’s father, who passed down to his son the skills he acquired as a chef for the Iranian rulers. Now, Fred upholds family traditions with a menu of classic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare that has been lauded by Urban Tulsa and Tasty Tulsa. Chefs shave off hunks of slow-roasted gyro meat, and enfold falafel patties in warm pita bread. For dessert, they dish out a colder food—Persian ice cream, a blend of vanilla ice cream, pistachio, saffron, rose water, and sweet nothings borrowed from a local poet.