Pizza Paradiso

Imports and local favorites wage tasty battle for pizza supremacy

Story by Joe Stumpe

Taco pizza from Wichita 
Pizza Co.

Taco pizza from Wichita Pizza Co.

There's a pizza Renaissance underway in Wichita, only fitting for a town that launched 10,000 Pizza Huts.

Despite its history as the original home of the behemoth franchise, the city's pizza scene had seemingly been in the doldrum for a few years. Sure, longtime local favorites like Knolla's and Savute's were still cranking out tasty pies, but several newer start-ups with promise had failed to take hold.

Fortunately for pizza lovers  and who isn't one? a new wave of pizza joints that look like they'll be around for a while has come along.

Just about every side of town is benefiting from the bounty. Out east, Wichita Pizza Co. owners Lisa and Jeff Hutton have brought the style of pizza they grew up with in Dubuque, Iowa to Kansas. It's a pizza with a distinctive crust and lots of toppings  a large pepperoni boasts 90 slices of the stuff.

Another variety, the taco pizza (topped with refried beans, lettuce and taco chips, among other things), made the Food Network Magazine's list of the 50 best pizzas in 50 states. Still another, the bacon cheeseburger, comes with mustard instead of tomato sauce as an option. Wichita Pizza Co. even has a gluten-free pizza for people trying to avoid the stuff for health reasons.

On the west side, another kind of taco pizza has arrived and it's also an import  Charlie's Pizza Taco, which started in Pratt in 1965, recently opened a Wichita location on Tyler Road. The signature dish is a folded-over pizza with cheese, marinara sauce and meat inside, a little like a calzone but with a crispier crust. We recommend extra sauce on the side for dunking.

And that's not the only new west-side pizzeria. The Wichita Brewing Co. and Pizzeria combines two of the things we love best  a microbrewery and thin crust pizza from a wood-fired oven. If there's room after beer and pizza, the incredibly gooey and delicious S more dessert pizza will take care of that situation.

The central part of the city has also just gotten a new pizza place, called Picasso's PIzzeria located in the Delano neighborhood. In addition to whole pizzas, Picasso's sells pizza by the slice. But be warned, these are huge slices, easily as filling as one of those personal pan pizzas. There are quite a few creative options for toppings, such as pesto and blue cheese.

Finally, there's a fairly new entry in the northeast, Pacific Coast Pizza, that's proven popular enough to reportedly inspire its owners to open a second one near the Intrust Bank Arena downtown in the near future.

A PIZZA BAKER'S DOZEN

More about the pizza places mentioned in this article and others in Wichita:

Wichita Pizza Co.
1520 S. Webb Road
wichitapizzacompany.com

Charlie's Pizza Taco
602 N. Tyler
charliespizzataco.com

Wichita Brewing Co. and Pizzeria
8815 W. 13th
wichitabrew.com

Picasso's Pizzeria
621 W. Douglas

Pacific Coast Pizza
7713 E. 37th
thepacificcoastpizza.com

Knolla's
Three locations
knollaspizza.com
Wichita institution for more than 30 years

Savute's Italian Ristorante
3303 N. Broadway
Wichita's oldest full-service restaurant and reportedly the first to get a pizza oven. Try the hamburger and sauerkraut pizza really!

Po Boy Pizza
5619 E. Lincoln
This mom-and-pop's pizza roll is great and a bargain. Just don't go expecting much ambiance.

Bob & Luigi's
4559 N. Woodlawn
It's easy to forget about this place tucked up in Bel Aire, but the pizza and meatball subs are worth the trip.

Il Vicino
Two locations
ilvicino.com
It's a regional chain, but a very good one, with great wood-fired pizza and a casual but upscale feel at its College Hill and Bradley Fair locations.

Bartelli's Pizzeria
10330 W. Central
bartellispizzeria.com
New York style brick oven pizza.

Avivo Brick Oven Pizza
2441 N. Maize
avivopizzeria.com
Gourmet toppings and crispy crust are served in this attractive New Market Square eatery.

Ziggy's Pizza
3700 E. Douglas
College Hill has a new pizza place as well in Clifton Square. We haven't personally sampled this one yet, but the early reviews of their rectangular pies are good.

 
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