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.
The people behind Gambino’s Pizza really love pizza, and they’ll make any pie in the shape of a heart to prove it. Traditional round pies are on the menu, too, in five sizes and three crust options: original, thin, or buttery pan. Specialty pizzas overflow with meats, veggies, and a blend of shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese. Some are even topped with sweet pineapple to round out the food pyramid. Diners can also order oven-baked subs and individual- or family-size pasta dishes that come with garlic bread and napkins folded into tiny togas.
Family is important at Cascone's Restaurants?Johnny Cascone's in Overland Park and Cascone's in Kansas City?a fact illustrated by the portraits adorning their lobby walls and the relatives working side by side in the kitchen and dining room since the first eatery opened four generations ago in 1954. At Johnny Cascone's, the bill of fare hearken's back to the founding family's origin story in southern Sicily, with plates of grilled sweet Italian sausages, tender veal limonata, and savory eggplant parmigiana. Guests kick off fancy banquets and simple meals alike with appetizers such as pork neckbones in sauce or marinated olive salad before digging into main courses of seafood pasta, meatballs, or pork chops.