Wheat State Pizza! has more kinds of pizza than a high school football coach has inspiring halftime speeches. The abundance comes from a rainbow of options diners mix-and-match to create unique combinations, starting with a whole wheat, white, or gluten-free crust topped with homemade sauces in flavors such as traditional red and whipped cream cheese. On that base, diners can construct a masterpiece pie from a palette of more than 30 toppings including standards such as pepperoni and sausage along with gourmet variants sunflower seeds, avocado, and soy cheese. Though diners don't need to assemble their own combination to enjoy a pie, as, like the Christmas list of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, the menue includes 15 types of specialty pizza. Creations such as the chicken carbonara treat mouths to a velvety blend of alfredo sauce, chicken, mushrooms, mozzarella, and bacon atop a hand-tossed or thin crust. Non-pizza options include the Crispy Chicken Salad and philly cheese steak sandwiches with chicken or beef. Diners can end their meals on a sweet note with one of the restaurant's medley of dessert pizzas, which layer wheat crust with saccharine toppings such as cream-cheese frosting, and apple pie filling.
As you approach the ornate 1916 building now known as Bevo Mill, you may notice two storks on the chimney. They aren't pausing en route to deliver twins—the stone birds were added as a good luck symbol in the German and Dutch tradition. When August A. Busch Sr. of Anheuser-Busch commissioned the structure in the years leading up to World War I, he sought to bring Europe's Flemish architecture and culture back to his native St. Louis. The historical building eventually closed its doors to the public, but in 2009, it reopened as Bevo Mill, an elegant events center that welcomes weddings, corporate gatherings, and other large-scale happenings.
Visitors can still watch the 60-foot-wide aluminum blades of the original windmill spin, and admire the exterior stucco walls’ multicolored stones, each hand-picked by Mr. Busch from his home farm. Brass chandeliers illuminate the main dining area, where vaulted cathedral ceilings curve down into arches whose bases are guarded by stone-carved gnomes. Local artisans restored the Mill Room's painted tile murals and ornate wooden beams, and the Oak Room's artisan glass and art deco light fixtures were meticulously repaired or stolen from Jay Gatsby's mansion.
In the kitchen, chefs prepare refined event menus and samplings of hors d'oeuvres such as flaky feuilletes, glazed pot stickers, quiches, and quesadillas. Buffets feature dishes as diverse as grilled Norwegian salmon, chicken roulades, and seasonal vegetable medleys. On Sundays, chefs prepare a brunch buffet that features dozens of internationally inspired recipes such as hardwood smoked bacon, belgian waffles, potato pancakes, and Hungarian-style sausage. Once a month, Bevo Mill holds an authentic German night, complete with live music and a German buffet.
The chefs at Houlihan's refuse to follow the trend of restaurants using premade dishes and preservative-laden foods. Instead, they elevate their cooking to a higher standard, handcrafting each meal from scratch with local produce in open kitchens that overlook modern, welcoming dining rooms. The dishes fuse familiar comfort fare (think down-home pot roast and bacon-studded mac 'n' cheese) with adventuresome flavors, from goat cheese and asparagus poppers to a spicy burger lavished with fritos. The spacious bar's mixologists concoct a slew of long island iced teas, specialty cocktails, and martinis that chase bites or stand on their own merit. Flights of three mini martinis allow the comparing and contrasting of a trio of flavors or refresh each of the mouths of a single guest’s head.
In 1963, Vita and Jay Totta opened up their cozy café with a small counter, three tables, and four booths. Within three years, the couple’s following of loyal diners had overgrown their modest space, and they expanded to a larger location with more than twice the seating capacity of the original café. Another steady increase in popularity led the Tottas to create V's Italiano Ristorante as it stands today, which includes a spacious dining room, three private banquet rooms, a lounge, and an outdoor patio. When designing and building the restaurant in 1971, Jay—a professional architect—focused on creating an Old-World atmosphere where guests could enjoy everything from Sunday brunch to romantic candlelight dinners with their tax auditors. Patrons may also venture out to the restaurant's garden patio, where they'll eat by a stone waterfall and under the vines of a grape arbor originally planted by Vita's father.
Kostaki’s Pizzeria’s cooks hand-toss their dough, lending it an airy texture before stuffing it with mozzarella and cutting it into St. Louis-style squares within its Cherry Hill kitchen. They can customize pizzas with gyro meat, banana peppers, and the piquant sauces that also flavor their chicken wings. They also whip up a 14 specialty pies, such as a BBQ Chicken, Hawaiian, and the Flagstone, which hoists hefty toppings of peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, ham, and italian sausage. The restaurant rounds out its menu with chicken wings, half-pound Angus beef burgers, gyros, and beers from Boulevard and Leinenkugel.
Award-Winning Pizza | Featured on Food Network |100+ Beers | Lunch Buffet | Vegan and Gluten-Free Menus
What to Drink
The eatery's nationally recognized beer selection features more than 100 bottles of imported and domestic brews. And that doesn't even include the lineup of 20 beers on tap or the vast selection of wines and cocktails.
When to Go
To get the most bang for your buck, stop in Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. for the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. If that doesn't work, aim for a Tuesday, when guests receive a second pizza for half price.
While You're Waiting
Before making your own pizza disappear, marvel at the tricks and illusions of professional magician Eric Z. He appears every Monday night at the downtown location and every second and fourth Thursday night at the Lee's Summit location.
Vegans and folks with gluten allergies have all sorts of options at Waldo's. The restaurant offers a full gluten-free menu—including a locally made pizza crust made with rice flour—and tops its dairy-free pies with soy cheese.