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.
The fragrance of sizzling burgers and roasting pizzas floods Kanz's City Pizza and Burgerz's wood-paneled dining room. Chefs hand-toss signature pizzas with 13 different toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, and pineapple and pair 8-ounce burgers with freshly cut fries and hand-breaded onion rings. More than 45 types of imported and domestic beer moisten mouths owned by people or cyborgs ages 21 and up. The restaurant regales guests with weekly special events, such as Country Open Jam Night on Wednesdays, video bingo on Thursdays, and live bands at the Lenexa location on Fridays.
Leaf-green canopies cover the front of Papa Kenos’ brick building, which attracts passersby with the smell of baking bread. Inside, panoramic wall photography ornaments exposed brick walls, and pizza-shaped hanging lights suggest the cheesy, oven-baked pies on the menu. At a booth or table, guests can grip a hearty Italian or Reuben sandwich, or consume specialty or custom pizzas by the pie or slice. After polishing off a final slice, guests can retreat to the pizzeria’s outdoor beer garden to take a sip of their favorite brew or collect clippings from a tree of flowering lagers.
At two locations, The Other Place’s staff fires up ovens to bake pizzas, italian subs, and sandwiches to a golden brown—the color of Pharaoh’s mask after he eats a chocolate bar. Atop hand-made pizza crusts made from a 40-year-old recipe, the kitchen team layers toppings such as italian sausage, salami, and sun-dried tomatoes, lubricated by tomato, alfredo, and barbecue sauce. Submarine-shaped bread holds italian meats, veggies, and toppings. In both eateries’ dining areas, more than 50 TVs stream sports games. The Other Place also often entertains guests with karaoke—America’s most underappreciated sport, and the one with the least funding in most school districts.
For 70 years, Winstead’s has garnered a myriad of accolades and praise for its scrumptious hamburgers and other drive-in eats. Poke through the menu to find the joint’s signature Double Winstead steakburger, grilled with U.S. Choice Steak and topped with all the sloppy-tasty fixings––mustard, ketchup, pickle, and onion ($3.35). The Fifty-Fifty puts hot and crisp french fries and crunchy onion rings side by side in the most delicious peace pact since ketchup and mustard ended their hot-dog feud ($2.19). Scarf a chili cheese dog ($2.79) or grilled-cheese sandwich ($2.05), and then focus on Winstead’s old-fashioned desserts. Creamy milk shakes and malts ($2.45–$4.55) immerse taste buds in flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, banana, and butterscotch, and Winstead’s beloved skyscraper shake ($7.25) packs enough iced delight to quench the thirsts of four people or one André the Giant. Other desserts include a root-beer float ($2.45) and apple-dumpling à la mode ($4.60).
Family owned and operated, Carlo's Copa Room features an expansive dinner menu stocked with authentic, homemade Italian dishes rich in flavor and character. Matronly tastemaker Kathy "Nani" Fiorello's hand-rolled, olive-oil-fried meatballs are a homespun favorite, sidekicked by her savory sugo sauce ($9.99). Also beloved is her piquant balsamic vinaigrette, which arrives drizzled atop the classic house salad ($7.50). Swingin' stomachs croon for the ravioli Sinatra's tomato cream sauce, prosciutto, and mushrooms ($18.99). And tappy tongues perform a daring dairy-dance in anticipation of the fresh romano cheese and rich cream of the penne alfredo ($16.99, with veggies, chicken, or shrimp available for an additional charge). The succulent homemade cheesecake with strawberry sauce ($6.99) and traditional spumoni ($6) ably furnish any leftover stomach space, and Carlo's copious white and red wines satisfy sippers.