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.
Hearty recipes perfected at CheeZies Pizza's Tulsa headquarters bake into golden crusts across more than 15 locations in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and throughout its home state. A simple menu of signature dishes fills plates with hot and barbecued wings, jumbo calzones glistening with garlic butter, and breadsticks dappled with savory cheese or sweet sprinkles of cinnamon. Spangles of meat and vegetables emulate the flavors of savory tacos and tropical treats atop specialty pizzas, and customizable pies arrange patron-chosen ingredients to satisfy every palate and pepperoni feng shui principle.
Gaetano's Pizzeria is named for the owner’s grandfather, Gaetano Guadagnino, the son of Italian immigrants who tantalized his family with homemade pizzas topped with sauces and veggies from his own garden. To honor his memory, the restaurant hand-tosses the dough for its pizzas and calzones, smothering them in a house-recipe red sauce. Each pizza is made fresh to order, instead of being kept warm and crisp by lingering beneath a hot lamp or in a tanning bed for hours on end. An earth-toned dining room showcases its warm atmosphere with stone accent walls and live green plants surrounding deep brown chairs and padded leather booths.
Named the #1 pizza by Coweta Readers’ Choice in 2010, Goodfella's Pizzeria lifts cheese and sauce from the dreams of Italian chefs and serves them in a simple, laid-back atmosphere. Saddle up taste buds to scrumptious menu items such as the Boss pizza, a customer favorite loaded with pepperoni, beef, two kinds of sausage, Canadian bacon, and a garden of vegetables plopped onto a thick cushion of cheese ($10.49 small, $16.99 large). Or enjoy the Hoffa buried-in-cheese pizza, on which layers of pepperoni rest beneath a thick, gooey entombment ($9.49 small, $15.99 large). Besides pizza, Goodfella's fetes diners with homemade subs, fresh salads, breadsticks, buffalo wings, and packed calzones that serve as a handy snack for those swathed in the tail end of a two-person horse costume.
Pasquale Giammarco moved to the United States when he was 9 years old, but his family made sure to teach him the merits of Italian-style pizza making. Giammarco learned by doing, working in his family’s pizzeria while he grew up, and when he became of age, he branched off to start his own establishment. He focused on making his dough fresh daily and creating his own sauce recipe and cheese blend. Though Marco’s Pizza has expanded from its flagship store to include more than 320 franchised locations, all of Giammarco’s standards remain in place.
Today, Marco’s Pizza has added to Giammarco’s original, pizza-centric menu. Now, diners also can opt for family-style meatball platters—served with CheezyBread that feeds up to four people—or steak-and-cheese subs. As for dessert, Marco’s has that covered, too: the cooks sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on fresh-baked dough, which customers can dip in vanilla frosting.