Cooking up Italian staples and baking pizza has been a Walker family tradition since 1969, first at a pizza franchise and now at their own Old Shawnee Pizza and Italian Kitchen. They use the skills they've perfected over the last 40 years to make everything from their Alfredo-topped ravioli stuffed with three types of seafood to their Midwest-style pizzas on homemade dough.
They first top their inventive pizzas with sauces such as the classic red, salsa, spicy peanut, or garlic olive oil. From there, they use their multitude of unique toppings to create most any pie their customers can dream up, barring ones that bear an uncanny resemblance to Burt Reynolds. They also cook up specialty pizzas such as the Caribbean Jerk, made with jerk sauce, chicken, onions, pineapple, and roasted red peppers.
Before the owners of Pie Zano’s Pizzeria opened their restaurant, they knew that their toughest critics would be their own relatives. That’s because they planned for their menu to include the time-tested recipes that were passed down for generations. After receiving high marks in a family taste test, they flung open the doors of the neighborhood eatery to share their creations with the community. For an added touch of freshness, their specialty pizzas, meatball subs, and pastas boast ingredients culled from local sources. The family-owned establishment also shows its dedication to the community by supporting area youth sports programs.
Founded in 1964 by a tile maker as an edible canvas on which to practice his square-cutting, Imo’s original St. Louis–style pizza features a thin, cracker-crisp crust topped with homemade sauce and Provel cheese, then sliced into squares. The love child of a culinary fromage a trois between cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses, Provel melts into a soft, creamy pool reminiscent of the delicious dairy lagoons tucked away high in the Swiss Alps, and can be enjoyed on Imo’s pizza for its minimalistic beauty or as a blank canvas for a DIY pizza experience ($12.38–$14.76 base price for a large). Pile on any of Imo’s 14 fresh toppings—including pepperoncini, hamburger, Canadian bacon, and jalapeno—or indulge in one of its popular specialty pies (less than $20 at either location). The all-meat pizza combines sausage, hamburger, bacon, Canadian bacon, and pepperoni, while the veggie deluxe (mushroom, onion, green pepper, and tomato) hosts a stately garden party in one’s mouth.
The chefs at CJ's Chicago Pizzeria ladle sauce and sprinkle italian cheeses onto homemade dough with a Chicago-inspired pizza menu. The deep-dish stuffed pizza’s golden crust (14", $17) conceals strands of melted cheese within its crispy, parrot-free treasure chest. Add pepperoni, cream cheese, or fresh garlic ($2 per topping) to family-sized thin-crust cheese pizzas ($17) or dress up hand-tossed thick-crust cheese pizzas ($18) with veggies. The preadorned tops of CJ's specialty pizzas, such as the JFK flanked by pepperoni, sausage, hamburger, and canadian bacon ($14.50 for a regular), erect taste monuments more awe inducing than a marinara-doused Stonehenge.
Santora's pie masters craft 17 gourmet and signature pizzas entirely from scratch, tossing each crust by hand, slathering it with house-made sauce, and festooning the savory circle with fresh-cut vegetables and locally sourced meats. The margarita pizza begins with a zesty pesto base before piling on fresh slices of tomato, garlic, and basil, whereas Lil Anthony's 8 Cheese pie showcases a gooey synthesis of romano, parmesan, feta, alfredo, mozzarella, cheddar, smoked provolone, and the shop's signature herb blend. Juliana's Taco pie disguises all the components of a taco—salsa, refried beans, fresh ground beef, and sour cream—into a form that is easier to share, but harder to hide under a derby hat. Alternatively, uncover the cornucopia of veggies, pepperoni, hamburger, italian sausage, meatballs, and canadian bacon cleverly concealed beneath the Mamma Mia pizza's extra heap of golden cheese.
Where's Waldo? In Kansas City, serving up some delicious pizza, of course! If there's one thing Waldo specializes in, it's options: there's the traditional pizza crust, as well as a thicker, chewier "honey grain" crust, and a "St. Louis style" thin crust option. It doesn't stop there, though: Waldo's also offers an extensive menu of both gluten-free and vegan pizzas, so everyone in your family can have tons of delicious pizza options! Local carnivores are obsessed with Waldo's "Local Pig" pie, topped with porcini sausage, spicy red sauce, roasted potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and parmesan cheese. In addition to their huge array of pizza picks, Waldo has an impressive list of wine, draught beer, and even specialty cocktails! What more could you want in a pizza place? Whenever you're in Kansas City, make sure to find Waldo!