Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it Deano's Grill & Tapworks?
By Mike Thayer
Pizza is my favorite food. Burgers, steaks, lasagna, anything grilled and an assortment of other dishes are high on the list of favorites, but there's nothing quite like a good slice of pizza pie.... That slice of pie has that perfectly baked crust that's flaky/crispy on the outside, but tender and fluffy on the inside. Then there's the marriage of toppings, the subtle spices of pepperoni and sausage, assorted veggies that are tender-crisp like onion and bell pepper. The sauce, it's got to be a zesty sauce, providing those notes of garlic and oregano with each bite. And bringing everything together is a generous portion of melted cheeses, mozzarella, Parmesan, perhaps some cheddar or provolone that bubbles up in the oven to golden, brown, deliciousness!
No national chains will be included in this challenge. Only the local, regional pizza joints qualify. Besides, Domino's sucks, Little Caesar's really sucks (sucking SO bad they don't even deserve a link) and Papa John's and Pizza Hut are average tasting pizzas at best. The fact is, the local/regional joints run circles around the national chains in dishing up high quality, great tasting pizza.
During the course of this challenge I'll consider customer service, time to order, price, appearance and of course, the most important thing, TASTE.
It was a Saturday-night-college-football-on-TV-at-a-sports-bar taste test at Deano's Grill & Tapworks.
I have to admit, Deano's was NOT part of my original list of 18 places to evaluate for best pizza in Wichita, but a friend highly recommended Deano's and their Doggy Breath Pizza, so I just HAD to try it!
Here's the description from the bar's website: Deano's Doggy Breath Dog sauce (house-made pizza sauce and garlic paste), mozzarella, pepperoni and red onion. Garnished with garlic chips.
The pizza looked fantastic and smelled even better when it arrived. Deano's serves up their 14 inch pies in classic paddle fashion and with that aroma just teasing me as I got my plate ready I couldn't wait to take that first bite. Just LOOK at that crust, it's baked to perfection!
It was a delicious bite, good, flavorful pepperoni, complimented by the red onion, there's a more than generous amount of mozzarella cheese, but the kicker is that garlic, the chips included with the toppings is a nice touch, but that sauce.... That sauce is what puts this pizza into the "You have to try this category." It is garlic forward, it's not subtle at all, it's in-your-face but in a good way. And while I did enjoy this pizza and it did look awesome and smelled great at first glance/wafting aroma when delivered to my seat at the bar, I was a bit disappointed in the prep work on this pie. It's like half the pie got red onion and garlic chips, the other half didn't..... And while the pepperoni portion was adequate, it wasn't exactly generous either.
Costing me $14.99, I'm giving the Deano's Doggy Breath pizza 4 out of 5 stars and it's worthy of a repeat buy. Had the toppings been a bit more balanced, this pizza would have scored a 5 star review.
Deano's Grill & Tapworks is located at:
9747 East 21st St N
Wichita, KS 67206
The service at Deano's is STELLAR! Every server was friendly, wearing smiles and paid attention to detail, they didn't miss a beat from time of order to settling up the bill. I didn't have to ask for a beer refill and the bartender was cranking out the drinks on college football night! She really knew what she was doing. Nicely done Deano's and crew!