Best Pizza in the Wichita Metro Feed

Pizza Challenge: Finding the 10 best pizza joints in the Wichita Area

By Mike Thayer

Pizza bob and luigisPizza 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 were included in this challenge.  Only the local, regional pizza joints qualified.  Besides, Domino's sucks, Little Caesar's really sucks (so bad they don't even deserve a link) and Papa John's and Pizza Hut are average tasting pizzas at best.  In all, I tried the pizza from 19 local/regional pizza joints.  Of those 19 pizza tasting endeavors I had to whittle my list down to the 10 best.  So with that in mind, below are the nine that did not make the top 10 list.  Don't consider that a bad thing though, some of these places are still better than Little Caesar's and Domino's.  But that's not saying much.  If you have to choose between Pizza Hut, Papa John's or a local joint, I'd still go local.  Of those joints listed in the "Not Making the Top 10" that crank out a decent pizza (Good but not great pizza rate 3 stars or better, don't waste your time with the others), that is, IF you're going to settle for average pizza, don't do the national chain, support your local pizza joint.

Not Making the Top 10 and NOT worth a visit:

Electric Pizzeria ⭐⭐ THE worst pizza of the challenge, a greasy mess.  You always hope that the local joint can crank out better food than the chain places, but that's not the case here.  I might as well have ordered a Domino's pizza, because that's about how NOT good this pizza is.

Mulligan's Pub ⭐⭐  In taking that first bite, I was disappointed. This was a below average pizza. The crust was over-baked and bland with the flavor profile of a saltine cracker. The toppings, which appeared to be plentiful at first glance, were actually very unbalanced, with veggies overpowering the less-than-generous portions of meat

AJ Sports Grill ⭐⭐It looked pretty on the paddle and while it is loaded with toppings and appeared to be perfectly baked, a closer look revealed that there was too much grease dripping off and I'm thinking that settled in under the crust during the baking process. Instead of a crispy/flaky on the outside but tender/fluffy/airy on the inside bottom crust, I got a soggy, greasy crust in almost every bite.

Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria ⭐⭐⭐ An 'iffy' 3 stars, let's start with the crust, the foundation of a good pie. The crust was a classic thin preparation, it's got that semolina flour thing (similar in texture to corn meal) working, it was crispy and flaky, overall a good crust, but not a great crust. I am typically a thin crust kind of guy but I found this crust to be a bit underwhelming. 

Not making the Top 10 but worth a visit:

Angelo's ⭐⭐⭐  Probably the MOST LOADED with toppings of the challenge but the crust was under-baked and the pie was pricey.  It's a popular pizza with many in Wichita, no doubt because of all those great toppings, but that crust, well, it prevents this pie as a whole, from being a truly great one.

Oak & Pie ⭐⭐⭐  The flavors of the toppings were all on point and quite nice, good pepperoni, a zesty, spicy sausage, roasted garlic that let you know it was there without being overpowering, the pepperoncinis provided the perfect complimentary sweet/heat and the portion of mozzarella was generous. My problem with this pie though and it was a downer - IT WAS UNDER-BAKED! An under-baked crust prevented this pizza from being in the Top 10.

Defazio's ⭐⭐⭐⭐  With high expectations for this pizza, I have to admit, I came away a bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it was a good pizza, just not a great pizza. I was hoping for something better from a restaurant priding itself on making things from scratch. Good pizza overall, but not Top 10 in the Wichita Metro worthy. 

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!  Deano's was OH so close to cracking the Top 10, it only needed a little more balance in the toppings. 

Wichita Brewing Company ⭐⭐⭐⭐ My pizza was set in front of me in what seemed like just a matter of minutes and it was DELICIOUS! It was a concert of high quality meats, set on a superb, thin, nicely seasoned crispy crust and what put it all over the top was that sauce! This was no typical red sauce and all the notes were spot on.  This joint was ranked #10 until the last days of the challenge, getting bumped off the list by Marchello's, the 18th pizza joint sampled.

Here's my list of THE 10 best pizza joints in the greater Wichita Metro area, starting with #10, which is very, very good, but not the best....

#10:  Talliano's Pizzeria ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I ordered carry-out and it was a LONG drive home..... I may or may not have eaten a couple slices on the way back to my apartment.... And Talliano's makes a good pie. The toppings are nicely portioned, to include good, flavorful pepperoni, complimented by the green pepper, there's a more than generous amount of mozzarella cheese. 

#9:  Pizza Johns in Derby ⭐⭐⭐⭐ In taking that first bite, it was tasty. The toppings were balanced, nicely portioned and hit all the notes of a classic, supreme pizza. The pie was sauced nicely, not over-sauced, not under-sauced, I'm sounding a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears here.... It was sauced 'just right'. 

#8:  Bob & Luigi's ⭐⭐⭐⭐ LOADED with toppings the pie is a good balance of meat, veggies and cheese bedded on an airy crust. You get the subtle spice of the pepperoni and sausage, the tender-crisp crunch of the onion and pepper and OH that gooey goodness of the melted mozzarella cheese tied everything together. If there's anything to knock on this pizza though, is it was bit under-sauced.

#7:  Ziggy's ⭐⭐⭐⭐ In taking that first bite, I nodded in satisfaction. This was good pizza. The crust had the crispiness on the outside, flakiness on the inside, the toppings were nicely balanced and presented the classic supreme style flavors well, the sauce was a nice compliment and that cheese brought it all together. I enjoyed every bite, it was nicely prepared and it's easy to see why Ziggy's pizza is popular. 

#6:  Gambino's ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Order the Mobster, a specialty pizza and one of Gambino's most popular. The Mobster features toppings of Beef, Pork Sausage, Mushroom, Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Green Pepper, Onion, Black Olive, Canadian Style Bacon, Salami, and Extra Cheese. It's an outstanding combination of meats, veggies and melty cheese..... 

#5:  Knolla's Pizza ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  It was LOADED with toppings and it was a flawless balance of meat, veggies, sauce and cheese. The spice of the pepperoni and sausage, the tender-crisp crunch of the onion, the garlic essence of that sauce, the gooey goodness of the melted mozzarella cheese all served up on a perfectly baked crust. That crust.... crackly, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside with each bite. Wonderful! 

#4:  Piccaso's  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  This pizza does NOT need Parmesan, red pepper flakes or anything else added! The flavors of the "Kitchen Sink" sing! The sausage is top notch, seasoned well with just the right amount of spice. The pepperoni is good quality pepperoni, not too greasy. The onions and green pepper are mandolin sliced thin, a perfect compliment to the meats, and the mushrooms are fresh, not the canned stuff. The sauce is spot on, the cheese was melted golden, brown, delicious and what puts this pizza over the top is the crust. 

#3:  Po Boy Pizza ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This is no run-of-the-mill dough, Po Boy puts some flavor in their product. And while that crust is an awesome, perfectly baked foundation, what put this pizza over-the-top for me was the sauce.  The pizza sauce has some zest, delivering big time on the garlic and oregano notes.  The meats and veggies were all good quality ingredients and generous in portion. 

#2:  Piatto Neapolitan Pizzeria ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The crust - the foundation of a pizza - was absolutely beautiful, having a bit of that wood fired char you're looking for on the edges, and in taking that first bite it was soft, pliable and perhaps THE best crust I've had to date in this challenge, allowing for a perfect pizza fold. DELICIOUS!

And the #1 Pizza Joint in the Wichita metro is......  (drum roll)..... Marchello's ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The crust was soft, pliable, buttery, 'pillowy', with just a hint of crispiness on the outer edge from the melted cheese. Now I'm typically a thin crust kind of guy, and this was no thin crust, but it was so good, Marchello's has me rethinking the thin crust thing. With each bite of this pizza I found myself saying, "Wow!"..... The pie was LOADED with toppings and this crust carries it, proudly, the pie was baked to perfection, golden, brown, delicious. Of all the pizzas I've sampled through the course of this challenge, this one was THE most balanced pie I sampled, a perfect marriage of flavors.  

So there you have it Wichita, a go-to list of the best pizza joints in the metro area from Wichita's best foodie.

$pend Wisely My Friends......

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria?

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, most of the local/regional joints can run circles around the national chains in dishing up high quality, great tasting pizza.

During the course of this challenge I have considered customer service, time to order, price, appearance and of course, the most important thing, TASTE.

Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria Deluxe
Not exactly loaded with toppings, skimpy on the cheese...

Today's review:  Avivio Brick Oven Pizzeria in Wichita for lunch. 

This is the last of the 19 pizza joints I selected for my quest in finding the best pizza in the metro area.  Touting a brick oven preparation, I was really looking forward to sampling Avivo's pizza, did I save the best for last?

Placing a carry-out order over the phone, I ordered the Deluxe, which as you might have guessed, is the restaurant's version of a supreme style pizza.   Here's the description from the Avivo menu online:  Old World Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Roma Tomatoes, Green Bell Peppers, Button Mushrooms, Red Onions, Pizza Sauce, Mozzarella.  With my order phoned in at about 11:24am, I headed to the restaurant with a promised ready time of about 15 minutes.

I entered the restaurant right at 11:35am.  I was greeted nicely by a member of the staff and let him know I was there to pick up my carry-out order. I paid for my pizza and he let me know my pie was just about ready to come out of the oven so I had a seat to wait.  Avivo's was pretty much spot on with that time frame, they told me 15 minutes, it was out of the oven and boxed in 14.  Nice!

Did the aroma of fresh, hot, pizza torture me on the drive home?

Yes.

Did I sneak a slice?

No.  I exercised Pizza Discipline....

Getting back to my apartment and without taking off my shoes or removing my jacket, I set the pizza box down on the kitchen counter and flipped open the lid.  I had to take a bite......  OK, pics first, bite second........

I was not impressed.

Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria Crust
Underwhelming crust

Let's start with the crust, the foundation of a good pie.  The crust was a classic thin preparation, it's got that semolina flour thing (similar in texture to corn meal) working, it was crispy and flaky, overall a good crust, but not a great crust.  I am typically a thin crust kind of guy but I found this crust to be a bit underwhelming.  The slight char you look for in a brick oven done crust wasn't there.  As for the toppings, the pie was topped in unbalanced fashion and not exactly generous.  Some folks might call it a bit sparse in fact.  I didn't get sausage in every bite, didn't get pepperoni or mushroom in every bite and so on....   There was no picture worthy stringy cheese when pulling a slice and I'm not sure what makes Avivo's pepperoni "Old World" (according to their menu) because it's nothing special and the sausage was average.  The green peppers and red onion were nice, providing a nice tender crisp bite.  The fresh mushrooms rather than canned were appreciated and the Roma tomato slices were a nice touch, complimenting the sauce which was pretty good.  Overall, this pizza lacked zest, it NEEDED the Parmesan cheese to kick the flavors up a notch.  The dainty and thin pizza offering from Avivo's left this eastsider thinking, "I drove all the way over to the west side of town for that?"

Costing me $11.83 for a small pie, I'm giving Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria 3 out of 5 stars.  The price is reasonable but the product is underwhelming, especially for a brick oven preparation.  I was disappointed in this pizza, it lacked a "Wow!" factor and so Avivo's in my book, is not worthy of a repeat visit. 

3 stars

Avivo is located at:

2441 North Maize Rd, Suite 101 (New Market Square), Wichita, KS., 67205
P: 316-558-5555

The service was courteous, attentive, and my carry-out order was prepped, baked and boxed on time with a minute to spare.  Perhaps the pie should have been left in the oven for that extra minute.....  'just say'n.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it Marchello's?

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, most of the local/regional joints can 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.

Marchello's Pizza
Does that look AWESOME or what?

Today's review is on Marchello's in Wichita. 

This is the 18th restaurant of the 19 I selected for my quest in finding the best pizza in the metro.  In full disclosure I've never had the pizza from Marchello's before, this place found a spot on my list because friends recommended it.  Hey, what can I say, I'm a transplant from Iowa!

I ordered the Marchello's on their original crust, with the 'Marchello's' being the restaurant's version of a supreme style pizza.   Here's the description from the Marchello's online menu:  Pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, black olives, bell peppers, ground beef. Anchovies available by request.  I decided on another carry-out for this trip, it's college football bowl season and when a restaurant doesn't have TV's for viewing, I'm not staying to enjoy the ambience, I'm getting my pizza and going home to enjoy my pie in front of the tube with a game on.  I placed my carry-out order with the restaurant over-the-phone at 5pm, and the pleasant lady taking that order informed me that it would take about 20-25 minutes to be ready.  That worked out just fine, because I was driving across town to pick up my pie.

I entered the restaurant right at 5:25pm and PERFECT timing!  I was greeted warmly at the door and in letting the attendant know I was there to pick up my carry-out order, she quickly reviewed the pizzas ready for pickup, there were quite a few, a nice stack - if that's not good tell of just how good Marchello's pizza is.........  Clarifying if I was "Mike" or "Michael" to ensure I got the right pizza, I paid for my pie and out-the-door I went in short order.

Marchello's Crust
A perfectly baked crust

And regular readers know I like to 'bitch' about the pizza pain I go through driving home with that pie, those wonderful aromas of warm crust, seasoned meats and gooey cheese...  But it's TRUE, the aroma pain physically, OK, virtually hurts..... Once again, I had to exercise 'pizza discipline' and channel my inner William Shatner, a.k.a. Captain Kirk, MUST.NOT.EAT.IN.THE.TRUCK.......  MUST.GET.HOME......

"So the aroma was good, how did the pizza taste?"  You ask....

Without hesitation, this is THE best pizza I've had so far in this challenge, with one pizza joint left to try.

Let's start with the crust, the foundation of a good pie.  The crust was soft, pliable, buttery, 'pillowy', with just a hint of crispiness on the outer edge from the melted cheese.  Now I'm typically a thin crust kind of guy, and this was no thin crust, but it was so good, Marchello's has me rethinking the thin crust thing.  With each bite of this pizza I found myself saying, "Wow!".....  The pie was LOADED with toppings and this crust carries it, proudly, the pie was baked to perfection, golden, brown, delicious.  Of all the pizzas I've sampled through the course of this challenge, this one was THE most balanced pie I've sampled, a perfect marriage of flavors.  All the meats and veggies were nicely seasoned, hitting ALL the notes you're looking for in a supreme style pizza and oh-so generously portioned!  The cheese was melted perfectly - yes, I'm using that word a lot - the crust was spot on, the toppings were spot on, the cheese was spot on, but what put this pie over-the-top for me was that sauce!  Marchello's has THE best pizza sauce in town, hands down.  Let me sum up just how good this pizza is/was:  I couldn't wait to eat the next slice!  I stopped at three, exercising more of that 'pizza discipline.'

Costing me $13.21 for a small pie, I'm giving Marchello's 5 out of 5 stars.  The price is VERY reasonable and it's in my humble opinion THE best pizza value in town and the best tasting to boot!  Said with one more restaurant to try of course.......  Marchello's is a MUST visit if you haven't already done so.   I don't think I've given my signature line for any of the pizzas sampled so far in this challenge, but Marchello's is ANOTHER DOSE OF YUM!

5 stars

Marchello's is located at:

3107 S. Seneca St., Wichita, KS 67217
P: 316-522-6662

The service was courteous, attentive to detail and my carry-out order was prepped, baked and boxed right on time!

 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it Piatto Pizzeria?

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.

Piatto PizzeriaToday's review is on Piatto Neapolitan Pizzeria in Wichita. 

This is the 16th pizza joint I've tried in my quest of finding the best pizza in the metro.  I've never eaten here before but I've really been looking forward to it because they feature a true wood burning pizza oven and Neapolitan style pizza. 

"What makes pizza Neapolitan?" you ask... 

From Wikipedia:  According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour (type 0 or 00, or a mixture of both), natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer's yeast, salt and water. For proper results, strong flour with high protein content (as used for bread-making rather than cakes) must be used. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine, and may be no more than 3 millimeters (0.12 in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) wood fire oven. When cooked, it should be soft, elastic, tender and fragrant.

Piatto Pizza Fold
A perfect fold and some added Parm, pizza heaven

Walking into the place, I was greeted nicely by two members of the staff and since it was lunch for one, I found a seat at the bar.  This is an upscale place with a nice selection of wines and craft beers and the bar is set up directly in front of the pizza prep area and in full view of the pizza oven.  Having reviewed the menu online before arriving, I ordered the Sausage & Mushroom pizza and a Wingman Wheat beer - brewed right here in Wichita - to wash it down with.  Here's the description of the pizza from the restaurant menu:  The Anchor Meat Market's sausage, sautéed shiitake, cremini, and white button mushrooms, Pecorino Romano, fresh mozzarella, olive oil. 

My beer, a water and table service was quickly delivered and set up to where I was sitting at the bar.  Enjoying a sip of beer, it didn't take long at all for my pizza to be crafted, then strategically placed in the oven and in true Neapolitan fashion it was done in 90 seconds. 

It was pulled with excellent timing and if pizza looks could kill.....  The crust - the foundation of a pizza - was absolutely beautiful, having a bit of that wood fired char you're looking for on the edges, and in taking that first bite it was soft, pliable and perhaps THE best crust I've had to date in this challenge, allowing for a perfect pizza fold.  DELICIOUS!   The sauce dressed the crust quite nicely, I picked up the pleasant notes of the basil and hint of salt - not too much, not too little.  The generous portion of sausage was seasoned nicely, the fresh mozzarella delivered soft, creamy notes with each bite and the sauteed mushrooms were spot on. 

And here's a neat thing about the place....  So after my pizza was pulled, the pizza artist - yes truly - put some more wood on the fire and stoked it.  Patrons caught a pleasant whiff of that smoky amber ambience, providing for a nice 'Naples in Wichita' pizza experience.

Costing me $17 for a 12" pie, I'm giving Piatto Pizzeria 5 out of 5 stars.  The price is on the high end for what you would typically pay for a 12" sausage and mushroom pizza at most places, but Piatto is no typical pizza joint.  The high quality, fresh ingredients used in crafting this pizza, combined with that incredible dough and pizza oven makes for a top notch pizza!  Piatto Pizzeria is definitely worth a repeat visit.  I look forward to trying all their other pizza options!

5 stars

Piatto Pizzeria is located at:

1706 E. Douglas Ave., Wichita, KS 67214
P: 316-680-4625

The service was courteous, attentive and the pizza rocks.

 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it DeFazio's?

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.

DeFazio'sToday's review is on DeFazio's Italian Restaurant in Wichita. 

This is the 17th restaurant of the 19 I selected for my quest in finding the best pizza in the metro.  Around since 1982, DeFazio's has an excellent reputation in town for home style Italian food, they grind their own sausage, bake their own bread and make all their sauces from scratch.

DeFazio's PizzaI decided on carry-out for this trip, it's a good day for college football bowl games on TV and I'd rather enjoy my pizza in front of the tube with a game on.  Arriving at the restaurant a bit after 12pm, I ordered a small 'Big Deluxe' pizza which is described on the DeFazio's website as:  Italian sausage, pepperoni, beef, mushrooms, green peppers, onions & mozzarella. Black olives & anchovies are optional.  There was no wait in placing my order and I opted for the optional black olive.   I sat down to wait for my pie.

My wait was over after about 10-15 minutes, I paid for my pizza and made the aroma enticing trip back to my apartment. 

Was I tempted to eat a slice on the way home?

Yes.

Did I?

No.

Pizza Discipline, if there is such a thing....

DeFazio's Crust
A good crust, but a bit on the heavy side

Getting home and turning on the TV, I popped open the lid of that pizza box and picked up a slice.  The cheese pulled away all stringy like you see on pizza commercials, a good sign.  The pie looked great and smelled fantastic, but it's the TASTE that matters.

With high expectations for this pizza, I have to admit, I came away a bit disappointed.  Don't get me wrong, it was a good pizza, just not a great pizza.  I was hoping for something better from a restaurant priding itself on making things from scratch. 

It had a good crust with a crispy-on-the-outside edge, a nice zesty sauce, generous portions on the toppings and the cheese was melted nicely, but after sampling, I came away thinking, "This is good pizza, but not the best I've had in this challenge, it's middle-of-the-pack."  The execution of this pizza was there, it seems to have been prepared correctly, but there's nothing about it that puts it over-the-top or makes it special.

Costing me $10.76 for a small pie, I'm giving DeFazio's 4 out of 5 stars.  The price is very reasonable and it's a good product and worthy of a repeat buy, just know that it's not the best pizza available in Wichita. 

4 stars

DeFazio's is located at:

2706 N. Amidon, Wichita, KS 67204
P: 316-838-0709

The service was courteous and my carry-out order was prepped, baked and boxed in an average amount of time.

 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it Oak & Pie?

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.

Oak and Pie PizzaToday's review is on Oak & Pie in Wichita. 

Oak & Pie is the 15th pizza joint I've tried in my quest of finding the best pizza in the metro.  I've never eaten here before, but in talking about my Pizza Challenge with friends, the consensus was Oak & Pie was pretty good. 

Walking into the place, the hostess greeted me with a big hello and a huge smile - good start.  Since it was dinner for one, I found a seat at the bar where I was once again given a big hello and a huge smile by the lady bartender.   She asked me what I would like to drink and offered me a menu.  I'm thinking, "This place is on it, hitting all the marks to make a patron feel welcome."  My beer was quickly poured and reviewing the menu online beforehand, I pretty much knew already what I was going to order.

Touted as a 'Staff Favorite' on the menu I ordered the Soprano Italiano, which is roasted garlic, mozzarella, pepperoni, spicy sausage and pepperoncini peppers.

Oak & Pie underbaked
The middle of the crust, not close to being done

As the bartender set up my table service, I started the wait for my pizza as I sipped on my beer, watched ESPN on one of the big screens and fiddled a bit with my phone. My wait wasn't long at all, perhaps 10 minutes and the pizza looked pretty awesome, check out all that pepperoni! 

I took the first bite.....  The flavors of the toppings were all on point and quite nice, good pepperoni, a zesty, spicy sausage, roasted garlic that let you know it was there without being overpowering, the pepperoncinis provided the perfect complimentary sweet/heat and the portion of mozzarella was generous.  My problem with this pie though and it was a downer - IT WAS UNDER-BAKED!  The middle of this pizza was soft and doughy and the outer crust was not elevated to the perfect crispy flaky texture that it could have been.  This pie could have used a couple more minutes in the oven and that's a shame, the toppings were spot on, but the foundation - the crust - was a fail.  I could have sent it back, but that's not something I do in a restaurant, review or not.  I ate a few slices but boxed up the rest to take home, the pie will re-heat just fine in my oven and the crust will improve.

Oak and Pie not enough oven time
Great pepperoni, but the outer edge pizza crust was not crispy/flaky enough.  The pepperoni should have just a bit of a crispy, browned edge to it and so should the outer crust, it's NOT golden, brown & delicious.

Costing me $15 for a 12" pie, I'm giving Oak & Pie and their Soprano Italiano 3 out of 5 stars.  The price is reasonable and the pie has some great flavors but the under-baked crust just brought the whole pizza experience down.  I'll chalk this up as an anomaly, perhaps it was an oven temp issue or the pizza was just flat out pulled too early.  Oak & Pie deserves another visit, as the service was TOP NOTCH!

3 stars

Oak & Pie is located at:

2244 N Greenwich Rd #900, Wichita, KS 67226
P: 316-768-6900

 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it Electric Pizzeria in Wichita?

By Mike Thayer

Electric PizzeriaPizza 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.

Today's review is on Electric Pizzeria in Wichita. 

Electric Pizzeria is the 14th pizza joint I've tried in my quest of finding the best pizza in the metro.  I arrived a bit after 11am on a Friday and ordered a medium classic 'Supremo' which is Pepperoni, Beef, Sausage, Mushroom, Red Onion and Green Pepper, covered in a three cheese blend.  Ordering it to-go, I found a seat to wait for my order. 

My wait wasn't long at all, perhaps 10 minutes, while the place was also busy prepping their buffet table.  There were only two other patrons in the joint, but it was just after 11am.... 

And this is where I usually 'complain' about the long drive home, about the great pizza aromas filling the cab of my truck, the pie teasing me to pull a slice and eat some on the way home......  Sadly, I didn't have that problem today......  And even though it's only about 11:20am.....  the hunger is there, I had a light breakfast.....   Hmmmmm...    Not a good sign, the aromas weren't really wafting.......

Electric Pizzeria SupremoYou always hope that the local joint can crank out better food than the chain places, but that's not the case here.  I might as well have ordered a Domino's pizza, because that's about how NOT good this pizza is.  It was really disappointing.  Starting with the crust, it was nicely baked and in sampling the outer edge, it had a nice light crunch on the outside, was fluffy on the inside, but it was bland, it lacked flavor and sadly the sauce and toppings did not make up for that lack of flavor.  And then there's the grease factor which I'll get to in a bit....  The sauce was unremarkable, missing that garlic/oregano zest, the sausage and beef were both under-seasoned and the pepperoni Electric Pizzeria uses is not of high quality, it's quite greasy.  That grease diminishes the light crunch/fluffy on the inside of the crust, the underside of the crust was shiny, almost soggy with the low quality pepperoni grease permeating what was otherwise a nicely baked crust.  And while the greasy pepperoni portion was OK, the remaining topping portions weren't exactly generous.  The only redeeming quality of this pie was the cheese. 

A truly good pizza does not need any doctoring, but that's what I had to do here to make it palatable, shaking on some black pepper, red pepper flake and Parmesan cheese.

Electric Pizzeria greasy crust
Check out the 'shine' on that bottom crust, 'shine' is NOT a good thing....

Costing me $12.99 for a medium carry-out, I'm giving Electric Pizzeria just 2 out of 5 stars.  Their classic 'Supremo' is less-than-stellar and is NOT worthy of a repeat buy.  I wasted gas driving half-way across town to sample this pizza.    This is one of those kinds of pizza, where you pull a slice and all the toppings fall off leaving you with just soggy/greasy crust and sauce, the toppings and cheese remaining in the box.....  That slice of pie didn't do that because it's over-loaded with toppings, but because it's just not a well-crafted pizza. 

2 stars

Electric Pizzeria is located at:

240 S West St #70 (facing Maple Street)
Wichita, KS. 67213
P: 316-977-7823

 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it Talliano's in Derby?

By Mike Thayer

Talliano's PizzeriaPizza 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 an out-running-errands-on-Friday-so-pizza-for-lunch taste test at Talliano's Pizzeria in Derby.

TallianoTalliano's is the 13th pizza joint I've tried in my quest of finding the best pizza in the metro.  I arrived a bit after noon and ordered 'The Talliano' which is Pepperoni, Beef, Sausage, Mushroom, Black Olive, Onion, and Green Pepper - essentially what is commonly known as a Supreme Pizza.  Ordering a small pie on a thin crust to go, I found a seat to wait for my order. 

My wait wasn't long at all, perhaps 10 minutes and this place was pretty busy on a Friday lunch hour.  Thanking the server I took the carry-out to my truck, with that great pizza smell wafting out of the box, just teasing me....

It was a LONG drive home.....  I may or may not have eaten a couple slices on the way back to my apartment....  And Talliano's makes a good pie.  The toppings are nicely portioned, to include good, flavorful pepperoni, complimented by the green pepper, there's a more than generous amount of mozzarella cheese.  The sauce is good (but not "Wow" great) and the crust was nicely baked and flaky. 

Costing me $11.87 for a small carry-out, I'm giving Talliano's Pizzeria 4 out of 5 stars.  The 'Talliano' is a nicely balanced pizza and is worthy of a repeat buy.  

4 stars

Talliano's CrustTalliano's Pizzeria  is located at:

408 N. Baltimore Ave
Derby, KS 67037
P: 316-788-8315

This place was pretty busy during a Friday lunch hour, that's says something right there about how good their pizza is.  It's worth the drive to Derby!

 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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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.

Deano's Doggy Breath PizzaI 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. 

4 stars

BeerDeano's Grill & Tapworks is located at:

9747 East 21st St N
Suite 101
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!

 


Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it AJ's Sports Grill?

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.

AJ's Pizza hot from the kitchen
Looks good, right?

A Monday Night Football taste test:  AJ's Sports Grill  - Located in The Alley on 13th (bowling, go karts, arcade & more)

The pizza 'foundation' for this challenge is a supreme style of pizza - meat and veggie toppings.  In order to do a fair evaluation of all pizza joints, the choice of toppings has to be as similar as possible.  AJ's version of a supreme pizza - They call it the Perfect 300, working that bowling theme  - features the classic supreme style of pizza toppings and a few extras, pork and Italian sausage, pepperoni, beef, Canadian bacon, green pepper, onion, black olive and mushroom.  

I chose AJ's to be a part of this pizza challenge for two reasons, 1.  Their pizza was recommended by a friend, and 2.  It was Monday night and it doesn't get much better than Monday Night Football, cold beer, pizza and two HUGE big screens for easy viewing at the bar.  I entered the place close to 7pm, I was surprised however to see how empty the place was.  A couple tables were taken and just a few patrons were seated at the bar. 

I found a seat with the aforementioned TV view and Erick the bartender was quick to give me the standard "Welcome, and what can I get you to drink" acknowledgement.  I ordered a 20 ounce Miller Lite which was properly poured and set on a coaster in front of me in short order.

Aj's Pizza with grease
The grease reveal.  It even puddled on the fork!  Click to enlarge, you can actually see how 'wet' the crust looks!

That's when the service went downhill.  I viewed the menu that was already sitting there on the bar, then placed it down and waited, and waited, and waited....  When my beer was about two-thirds gone and MNF underway, I finally had to wave the bartender over to place my meal order.  He took my order and went back to what he was preoccupied with, hanging out with what seemed to be a regular, sitting across from me at the bar.

My pizza didn't take long to arrive, Erick setting it in front of me, asking if I wanted Parmesan cheese or pepper flake, as he set a small plate and silverware by my beer.  I went with the Parm and asked Erick for another beer.  Another was poured and I took that first bite of pizza.

Looks are deceiving!  The "Perfect 300" was far from perfect.  It looked pretty on the paddle and while it is loaded with toppings and appeared to be perfectly baked, a closer look revealed that there was too much grease dripping off and I'm thinking that settled in under the crust during the baking process.  Instead of a crispy/flaky on the outside but tender/fluffy/airy on the inside bottom crust, I got a soggy, greasy crust in almost every bite.  It really kind of ruined the whole experience which is a shame, because I got the notes of the meats and veggies, highlighted by the Canadian bacon and tender-crisp green pepper, but that greasy crust just took all the yum out of the pie.  And while the cheese was generous in portion, the sauce was less-than-stellar, no real zest to it.  If it had any garlic or oregano notes, it got lost in the grease and soggy crust.  This little 6 inch "Individual" pizza was a sad entry in the pizza challenge, I've had a better pizza experience buying Red Baron Mini Pizzas and doctoring them up with extra ingredients at home! 

The little 6 inch "Individual" pizza is the smallest pizza I've had so far in this challenge.  The small in other joints is a bigger pizza and costs less.  I paid $8 for this disappointment.  Along with two beers at $4.50 each and non-attentive service - Erick never asked me how my pizza was, I had to ask him if I could order a meal, he didn't offer let alone suggestive sell, and I also had to ask for a second beer -I shelled out $20 I would have rather spent somewhere else.  I'm giving AJ's Sports Grill and their pizza just 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.   The pizza is NOT a repeat buy and the place is not worth a repeat visit.

2 stars

The AJ's Sports Grill visited on this occasion is located at: 11413 E. 13th St. N. Wichita, KS 67206 (The Alley)

PH: (316) 636-1991

 

Additional location:  3232 N Rock Rd, Wichita, KS 67226 (Northrock Lanes)

PH: (316) 636-1991

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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