Wichita Metro, Best Pizza 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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Best in the Wichita Metro Pizza 2023 - GF - how does Ziggy's Pizza rank?

Ziggy's Classic Pizza on a GF crust
That's a good-looking pie!

BachelorontheCheap.com

Without question, pizza is my favorite food, but I'm also trying to eliminate wheat products from my daily diet.  I'm seeking out the best of both worlds, eating my favorite food, while also trying to reduce my consumption of wheat.  

Cranking out a good alternative pizza crust isn't easy, and finding out who makes the best one around the Wichita Metro is the focus of the Best in the Wichita Metro Pizza Challenge 2023 - Gluten-Free Edition.  

On a Thursday night date night, Jennifer and I ventured out to Ziggy's East to sample their pizza on a gluten-free crust.

Ziggy's gluten-free crust is based on brown rice flour, a variation from the more common alternative, a cauliflower-based crust.  Another pizza variation when ordering GF here, instead of Ziggy's traditional rectangle-shaped pizza and square slices, the GF pizza comes in a round, 10-inch pie.

Jennifer and I arrived at about 6 p.m.  We were greeted warmly at the door and informed it was "Sit anywhere you like."  There was a decent-sized Thursday Night Football crowd in attendance, but we were able to find a table with no problem.

Our server, Grace, quickly introduced herself and took our drink order.  We really didn't have to look at the menu, as we had both pursued the online version earlier in the day during breaks at our respective jobs.  We had both independently decided on hoping to order Ziggy's Classic Pizza.  Great minds think alike.  The Classic comes topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage, green pepper, onion, mushroom, and black olives.

Delivering our drink order, Grace took our dinner order, the Classic pizza on the GF crust, and an Italian Salad.  After a bit of small talk that included of all things professional wrestling which was on display on one of the TVs, our pizza arrived.  The visual appeal was good but wait a minute...  What happened to the salad?  Grace immediately realized the omission and scurried back to the kitchen to remedy it.  Faster than a politician changes his mind, that Italian salad was delivered to the table.  See what I did there with the election season humor?   I digress...

Ziggy's GF Crust
The crust was a tad under-baked and a bit bland.

Looking forward to sampling that brown rice-based gluten-free crust, I took that first bite of pizza.  A tad under-baked, it was a bit chewy, lacking that light crispy exterior and fluffy, flaky interior and it needed some herbal notes, it was a bit bland.  The toppings made up for it some.  The pizza was loaded with Italian sausage, Ziggy's uses fresh mushrooms rather than canned which is a big plus. The green pepper and onion were tender-crisp and the generously portioned cheese had a nice melt and pull.  The only thing to critique on the toppings was the portion of pepperoni was a bit sparse.

Priced at $13.99, The Ziggy's Classic Pizza on their gluten-free crust scored 55 out of a possible 63 points on the spreadsheet, earning 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars.  Overall, it's a good pizza at a reasonable price, the so-so crust and the lack of pepperoni prevented this pizza from scoring better and earning 5 stars.  As is, although reasonably priced, I'll explore other GF pizza options before declaring this a repeat buy.

Ziggy's East is located at 12115 E 21st St N., #101, Wichita, KS. 67206.  The service was good, Grace was friendly and engaging.  She apologized for the salad oversight, corrected it immediately and her follow-up throughout the meal was commendable.  Observation & Recommendation to Ziggy's, supply tables with disposable coasters.  Perhaps you don't do so now due to cost considerations, or maybe you were out on this occasion?  But if you're going to serve cold beer in frosted pints and schooners, c'mon...

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Best in the Wichita Metro Pizza 2023 - GF - how does O'Malley's Irish Pub rank?

O'Malley's Irish Pub Pizza
Kitchen Sink Pizza, KETO low-carb crust

BachelorontheCheap.com

Without question, pizza is my favorite food, but I'm also trying to eliminate wheat products from my daily diet.  I'm seeking out the best of both worlds, eating my favorite food, while also reducing my consumption of wheat.  

Cranking out a good alternative pizza crust isn't easy, and finding out who makes the best one around the Wichita Metro is THE focus of this challenge.

On a Monday Night, also a football night, Jennifer and I ventured out to O'Malley's Irish Pub to sample their pizza on a KETO low-carb crust.

I've been to O'Malley's for their Wednesday steak night special, which is $6 for a ten-ounce sirloin.   Sides including mashed potato, baked potato, side salad, corn, green beans, and more cost $2 each.  You can also take advantage of half-price whiskey all night long.  Shout out to Remington & Kayla!

Helping me find the best GF pizza in town, Jennifer recommended we try O'Malley's and their non-traditional crust, featuring cauliflower.  Hanging with Jennifer, pizza, Monday Night Football, Happy Hour, what's not to like, right?!  

Expecting a decent-sized crowd for a Monday Night Football double-header starting at 6 pm - Browns vs. Steelers and Saints vs. Panthers - Jennifer and I arrived at O'Malley's at about 5:30.  Ahead of the after-work crowd, we had no problem finding a table.  In view of pre-game shows from just about every angle, our server soon introduced herself and took our drink order.  Oh, O'Malley's Happy Hour is from 2 - 7 pm every day.

We went with the Kitchen Sink pizza, which is topped with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, hamburger, jalapenos, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and black olives.  The KETO low-carb crust featuring cauliflower comes in 10 and 12-inch pie options, we went with the bigger pie.  In full disclosure, O'Malley's does NOT advertise this as a GF crust, but it's not a traditional crust and fits my needs in reducing my consumption of wheat products.

It didn't take long for our pizza to arrive and wow was Jennifer's recommendation spot on!  She's capital 'W' Wonderful by the way.  The crust, the foundation of a good pizza pie was excellent, thin, crispy, savory, and baked to perfection.  We couldn't tell we were eating a cauliflower-based crust, which is what makes an alternative crust a great one.  All of the toppings were generously portioned, the sauce was well balanced, and tying everything together was the cheese, which had a perfect melt and a nice cheese pull.  

Costing about $19 for the Kitchen Sink Pizza on the KETO Low-Carb crust, the O'Malley's pie scored a perfect 63 out of 63 points on the spreadsheet, earning 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars.  It's the best pizza so far in this Challenge, very reasonably priced, and VERY much worthy of a repeat buy.  The pizza had all the characteristics of a great pie, the visual, the perfect bake, generously portioned toppings, quality ingredients, savory sauce, a good cheese pull, and that all-important taste factor.

Located at 2405 W 31st St S, Wichita, KS 67217, the pizza was excellent, but the service was less-than optimal.  To be fair, there was only one server working the floor and she was also slinging drinks, but the place wasn't packed with a big crowd like I thought it would be, not even close.  Our pizza was delivered to the table in a timely fashion, but I had to go up to the bar and ask for plates.  Our server never came to our table to check on drink refills, or if we needed anything else.  Meanwhile, neighboring tables, seemingly people the server knew, and more than 2 in number (larger tabs + friends = a larger tip) were provided more attention.  Those tables didn't have to ask for drink refills, I had to go up to the bar.  After enjoying our pizza, taking in a bit of football, and our drink glasses emptied, I had to flag our server down for the check.  Here's the thing, the server had time to properly attend the party of six folks right next to us for example, but apparently, didn't have the time to simply ask, "How's the pizza?", or, "Can I get you anything else?" on the way back to the bar to fill another neighboring table's refill drink order.  After waiting for a while to get the check, I ended up going back to the bar to settle up.  I felt for the server, she was without question busy, the only server on the floor, and I get that it's tough to get good help these days, ESPECIALLY in restaurants and bars, but in my humble opinion, she chose to work the bigger tables harder, rather than provide optimal service to all.

The pizza is worth another visit, but the service isn't for two reasons:  1.  Not enough servers to properly cover the floor.  2.  Larger tables get better service.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

 

 

 


Best in the Wichita Metro Pizza 2023 - Gluten Free - how does Wichita Brewing Company rank?

Wichita Brewing Company Pepperoni & Mushroom pizza on a gluten-free crust
The WBC GF pizza is a smaller pizza than their traditional 12" pie and it costs an additional $4.  Their menu states $3.50. the receipt stated otherwise.

BachelorontheCheap.com

Gluten-free is a big deal, it's in demand as more people become aware of the benefits of going gluten-free.  The number of restaurants putting GF items on their menu is ever-growing and you're seeing a lot more GF products in the grocery stores.

I did a Best Pizza in the Wichita Metro Challenge a few years back, but it wasn't gluten-free.  So using those same judging criteria and updating my Best Pizza in the Wichita Metro List (sadly, some of the restaurants noted in that Challenge have since gone out of business), here's the latest Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge:  Who makes the best gluten-free pizza in the Wichita Metro?

Cranking out a good GF pizza crust isn't easy.  And finding out who makes the best one around is THE focus of this challenge.

On a Friday Night Date Night, I visited the Wichita Brewing Company with Jennifer.  She had never eaten at WBC before, and based on my past experience, I talked up the pizza a bit.

The 'under the slice' view
An under-baked crust, it wasn't thin & crispy like you expect in a wood-fired baked pizza, it was a bit 'doughy'

I had high hopes for the WBC gluten-free pizza based on the pizza I enjoyed when visiting WBC during the Bachelor on the Cheap Best in the Wichita Metro Pizza Challenge a few years back.  They finished at #11, just one spot shy of being a Top 10 Pizza Joint in that Challenge, here's the summary of that review:

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.

WBC traditional pepperoni & mushroom pizza
Unbalanced portion of toppings

Jennifer and I are both fans of pepperoni and mushroom, so in placing our order we went with two pizzas, a traditional pepperoni and mushroom pizza, and for the purpose of a direct side-by-side comparison, a pepperoni and mushroom pizza on the WBC gluten-free crust.

The WBC gluten-free crust features roasted cauliflower, and combined with a wood-burning oven bake, I was looking forward to it.  Kudos to Jennifer, she suggested the two pizza orders in a side-by-side comparison.  Bonus:  Leftover to take home!

The under slice view of the traditional pie
The traditional pie was even more under-baked than the GF version.

As we waited for our pizzas, we enjoyed a few selections from the beer menu.  We both had fun sampling a flight of 4 beers, WuShock Wheat, Tallgrass Raspberry Jam, Oztoberfest, Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout, along with a 16-ounce draft of Red Ale - American Amber.   They were all enjoyable, with the exception of the Tallgrass Raspberry Jam, which neither of us cared to finish, it's got a vinegar-like finish.   Of the lot, our favorite was the Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout, a really nice dark beer.

After enjoying some beer sampling, the pizzas arrived.  According to the WBC website, all the pizzas are 12-inch pies.  Not so with the gluten-free crust, it's a noticeably smaller pizza and is served up on a standard plate, rather than the WBC traditional wire rack and pizza dish.  The GF crust costs an additional $4, and you get less pie.

In taking that first bite of the GF crust, it was noticeably under-baked.  The outer edge was nicely done, but the rest of the GF crust needed more time in the oven, an indication that whoever was managing the oven on this night, didn't have a proper temperature.  The traditional pepperoni and mushroom pizza suffered from the same fate and I think it got even less time in the oven than the GF pie, another under-baked crust.  Both pizzas lacked that thin & crispy bite and that nice light char that you expect in a wood-fired oven bake.  What we got was a bit 'doughy.' In the side-by-side comparison, the traditional pie was superior to the GF pie, but that's not saying much, neither pie had a generous portion of toppings, and neither pie had a good cheese pull (perhaps our pizzas sat a bit before being delivered to the table?).  The pizza sauce also came off as a bit sweet, rather than a savory compliment to the crust, cheese, and toppings.

GF Pizza
Some slices were pretty much like eating a slice of cheese pizza

So after hyping up WBC pizza a bit before dining, Jennifer and I both came away with a disappointing pizza experience, doubly disappointing because the wood-burning oven bake notes just weren't there.  The pizza on this occasion was flat-out not as good as what I've enjoyed in the past.  And as far as that bonus of leftover pizza to take home I mentioned earlier?  Jennifer and I were like,

Mike:  "You can take the pizza home."

Jennifer:  "No, you can take the pizza."

Mike:  "Take the pizza, I insist"

Jennifer:  "No, really, you can have the pizza."

The Wichita Brewing Company gluten-free pizza scored 44 out of a possible 63 points, earning 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, the lowest score so far in this challenge.  It's not a bad gluten-free crust, but it was under-baked and doesn't measure up to a traditional crust.  There are better GF crusts and pizza prep out there.  The WBC pizza sampled on this occasion is NOT worthy of a repeat buy, I'll take a pass on the GF version, and the traditional one.  WBC pizza has gone downhill in my book.

Located at 535 N. Woodlawn St., Wichita, KS. 67208, the service was friendly, but not as attentive as it could have been.  It was a steady busy Friday night, but not a slamming busy night and there was plenty of staff to handle the crowd.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related: How good is Wichita Brewing Company's pizza?


Best in the Wichita Metro Pizza 2023 - Gluten Free - how does Papa Johns rank?

Papa Johns Gluten Free Pizza
Typical of the national chains, you can only get a GF crust in a small pizza

BachelorontheCheap.com

Gluten-free is a big deal, it's in demand as more people become aware of the benefits of going gluten-free.  The number of restaurants putting GF items on their menu is ever-growing and you're seeing a lot more GF products in the grocery stores.

I did a Best Pizza in the Wichita Metro Challenge a few years back, but it wasn't gluten-free.  So using those same judging criteria and updating my Best Pizza in the Wichita Metro List (sadly, some of the restaurants noted in that Challenge have since gone out of business), here's the latest Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge:  Who makes the best gluten-free pizza in the Wichita Metro?

Cranking out a good GF pizza crust isn't easy.  And finding out who makes the best one around is THE focus of this challenge.

As I sample and review in conducting this Challenge, I consider customer service, time to order, price, appearance, and toppings, but the most scoring weight will be on the crust.   And unlike the previous pizza challenge, I will be evaluating national chains and their gluten-free crusts in addition to the local and regional restaurants.

Today's review:  Papa Johns

Papa Johns GF Crust
Unevenly baked

I made the typical Challenge order, a supreme-style pizza, pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, onion, and green pepper, with regular sauce and a regular portion of cheese.  The Papa Johns gluten-free crust is a thin and crispy style, a small pizza.  Like other national chains, they don't offer a medium or large GF pizza.

The online ordering process was easy and the Papa Johns site can conveniently set you up with text alerts on the status of your pizza, from making, to baking, to boxing, to delivery which I opted in on.  You can also track the status on the restaurant's website if you're that kind of bored.  Going for a contactless delivery, with instructions to leave the pizza on the chair by the front door, getting that text of "Your pizza has been delivered" is important.   I never got that text.  The delivery driver did NOT text me when the pizza arrived.  I got all the status updates leading up to the delivery and the contactless delivery instructions were followed, but my pizza sat on that front porch chair for who knows how long...  Occupied by a household chore, I didn't get around to visually checking my front porch until 15 minutes past the max estimated delivery time, a window of 7:15 pm - 7:25 pm.  This resulted in a less-than-hot pizza.

Papa Johns makes a less-than-good gluten-free pizza.  The crust, the foundation of a good pie, was unevenly baked and chewy.  The portions of meat and veggies were a bit unbalanced if not sparse, although the regular amount of cheese provided good coverage.  There was no cheese pull, I was eating a lukewarm pizza after all, and the sauce is an average sauce at best.  In a national chain comparison, Domino's makes a better GF pizza which was kind of surprising, but it's still not saying much.

Costing me $28.62 which includes a delivery fee plus tip for a small pizza, the Papa Johns gluten-free pie scored 47 points out of a possible 63, earning it 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars.  The score of 47 is the lowest so far in this Challenge.  The crust was unevenly baked and even with a proper bake, it's not a great GF crust, lacking a light, crispy exterior and a flaky, fluffy interior bite.  Papa Johns GF pizza is NOT worthy of a repeat buy.

The Papa Johns ordered from on this occasion is located at 7800 E Harry St, Wichita, KS 67207.  The unevenly baked crust and the failure of the delivery driver to text the delivery confirmation made this a less-than-stellar gluten-free pizza experience.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Domino's gluten free pizza option is WAY overpriced

Domino's gluten-free crust pizza
Only a small, 10" pie size is available

BachelorontheCheap.com

In my book, there is no better bite, than pizza.  For me, that combination of seasoned meats, melted cheeses, and savory sauce generously portioned on a great crust is the ultimate flavor party in the mouth.

Going gluten-free, however, has presented a challenge to that perfect bite.  It's not easy making a good gluten-free crust that compares to a traditional one.   The foundation of a great pizza pie is the crust and I'm in search of the best gluten-free pizza in Wichita.

Today, I'm sampling what Domino's has to offer.

Domino's GF Pizza
A nice bake on the crust

In full disclosure, I've never really been a fan of Domino's.  They make a very average pizza at best but at a reasonable price.  However, this is a gluten-free challenge and so Domino's is being reviewed along with any other pizza joint, be it local, regional, or national chain that has a GF crust on their menu.

Domino's only offers a GF crust in a small pizza, a 10-inch pie and it's a thin and crispy style crust.  I'm OK with the thin and crispy, that's my preferred style of crust, but the small, well, doesn't really allow for many leftover slices.  I went with a pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, onion, and green pepper pie, kind of a 'supreme' pizza kind of thing, ordering the regular sauce and a regular portion of cheese.  I do have to say the online ordering process on Domino's website is easier to navigate and faster than their national competitors.  My pizza was delivered quickly and the contactless instructions were followed (not always the case with other pizza joints).  

The price of a small pie
$30 for a small delivery pizza? OUCH!

The under-the-lid reveal met my expectations, with an average portion of toppings.  In taking that first bite, also average, with a tomato sauce that is less-than-zesty, average pepperoni, and mild sausage, there was a decent thickness to the mushrooms, the cheese pull was unremarkable, but I did get a nice tender-crisp bite on the green pepper (meager portion) and onion.  The crust had a nice bake and while there was a decent cracker-like crunch to the exterior, it was chewy on the interior rather than flaky and fluffy.  Overall, not a bad crust, but not great.  An average pizza bite, just like the regular Domino's pies.

Costing me a total of $31.20 ($19.49 for the pizza + $0.75 for the garlic butter dipper + $5.99 delivery charge + a $3 tip), the Domino's GF pizza scored 48 out of a possible 63 points earning 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars.  Domino's GF option is WAY overpriced!  A small pizza costs $30?  I don't mind paying a little extra for a gluten-free crust, but $30 for a tiny, 10-inch pie?  OMG!   And it was average pizza, the GF crust was decent, but SO not worth buying again at that high price.  Domino's is NOT a good GF pizza option.  This was by far the smallest pizza to date in this Challenge.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike 

Related:  Food Review: Dominos Pizza Still Sucks

Related: Smokehouse/Chophouse Style Challenge: Reviewing a BBQ pizza from Domino's - Bachelor on the Cheap

The Domino's ordered from on this occasion is located at 7825 E Harry St Ste 209, Wichita, KS 67207.  The service was quick, delivery was quick, special instructions by the driver followed.  Too bad the pizza product doesn't measure up to the ordering and delivery processes.


Best in the Wichita Metro Pizza 2023 - Gluten Free - how does Keto On with Kerri rank?

BachelorontheCheap.com

Keto On with Kerri Pizza
Is that a good-looking pie or what?

Pizza is my favorite food, for me, that combination of seasoned meats, melted cheeses, and savory sauce generously portioned on a good crust makes for the perfect bite.

Going gluten-free, however, has presented a challenge to that perfect bite.  It's not easy making a good gluten-free crust that compares to a traditional one.   In my book, the crust is the foundation of a great pizza pie and I'm in search of the best gluten-free pizza in Wichita.

Today, I'm sampling what Keto On with Kerri has to offer.

Located in Derby, I've been wanting to try this place for a while.  Providing customers with a full menu of grain-free and gluten-free foods for pick-up including sugar-free desserts, I am now kicking myself in the proverbial rear end (how's that for a visual?) for not trying Kerri's shop before today.

Keto On with Kerri Pizza
Every slice was LOADED with toppings, nicely balanced

I ordered Kerri's 15" pizza, a customized pie topped with pepperoni, sausage, and onion.  The online menu and ordering process was easy to review and navigate. 

Baked in-house for pickup, my pizza was ready in about 45 minutes.  I arrived a bit early and had time to check out the store and visit with Kerri, who was SUPER nice, accommodating, and very informative.  Her store doesn't just crank out a full menu of KETO foods and host KETO classes and events, but she's got grocery shelves full of great KETO products, making a healthier eating lifestyle a hassle-free one, and quite tasty!

KETO Pizza
Every bit as good, if not better, than traditional pizza joint pizza.

With a freshly baked pizza in hand, it was a LONG drive home...  The aroma emanating from that pizza box was SO enticing!  But I maintained pizza discipline, I did NOT steal a slice on the way back, and the pizza remained intact.    

Once home, I took that first bite.  Keto On with Kerri Pizza has that WOW factor!  What a good-looking, great-tasting pie.  The toppings were generously portioned, there was a great cheese pull (they shred the cheese when making the pie), both the pepperoni and sausage were flavorful and robust, the onion had a nice tender-crisp bite, the sauce was on point and the foundation of that pie, the crust, was the best GF crust I've ever sampled.   It had a perfect bake, a nice, slightly crispy exterior, with a flaky, fluffy interior.  It rivals any traditional pizza oven crust out there and that's no easy feat.  Even the edge, which can be dry, bland, chewy, or all of those no matter the crust type from any number of pizza joints, was a delight to bite.  To sum, Keto On with Kerri pizza ROCKS, crust to cheese.

Pineapple Upside Down CheeseCaken Slice
OMG Delicious, low carb, low sugar!

I also had the opportunity to sample some dessert from Keto On with Kerri, a Pineapple Upside Down CheeseCaken Slice, yes, as the name implies, a cheesecake, layered with cake.   After enjoying two slices of pizza for lunch, I sampled my dessert and it was OMG delicious!  The cheesecake was creamy, the cake was moist, and the pineapple was pleasantly subtle, not overpowering, a truly nice balance of flavors.  What a delightful end to a perfect lunch.  The best part?...  Just 4 net carb grams and 1 gram of sugar in that tasty treat!

Keto On with Kerri Shop
Not only can you get great pickup, take and bake meals, but there's a HUGE variety of KETO products on the store shelves!

Costing me a bit over $30 for easily the best-tasting GF pizza I've ever had (that goes beyond this challenge), the pizza from Keto On with Kerri scored 62 out of a possible 63 points, earning 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars.  This pizza rivals anything traditional and is very worthy of a repeat buy.

Kerri's is located at 619 N. Rock Road in Derby.  If you haven't already tried Kerri's, you need to, even if you're not following a KETO diet, they crank out healthier alternative products that taste amazing.  I challenge you to distinguish the difference between traditional foods.  I say you can't.  The service, the food, and the atmosphere are all top-notch.  They had some Take and Bake Breakfast Pizzas available in the refrigerated section, I'm trying one of those next!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Keto On with Kerri Shop
This is a MUST visit store!

 

 

 


Best in Wichita Gluten-free Pizza Challenge, how does Papa Murphy's rank?

Papa Murphy's Take & Bake
How good is Papa Murphy's GF crust?

BachelorontheCheap.com

Pizza is my favorite food, for me, that combination of seasoned meats, melted cheeses, and savory sauce generously portioned on a good crust makes for the perfect bite.

Going gluten-free, however, has presented a challenge to that perfect bite.  I'm in search of the best gluten-free pizza in Wichita.

Today, I'm sampling what Papa Murphy's has to offer.

Papa Murphy's Pizza
Before going in the oven...

I'm a fan of Papa Murphy's, I like them better than Pizza Hut, or Papa John's, and it's cheaper too.

For this review, I did a custom order of toppings, pretty much a Supreme pizza, with pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, onion, and Papa Murphy's blend of cheeses.  But no matter how good the toppings are, they key to a good pizza is the foundation - that crust.

I usually order a large pizza, I love cold pizza leftovers, but Papa Murphy's doesn't make a large gluten-free crust, which is a standard thing for most any pizza joint.  

Fresh out of the oven
A perfect bake

Placing my order online, my medium-sized pizza was ready for pickup well before the 30-minute timeline in making an "ASAP" request.   Prepared per the package instructions, dinner was ready in about 20 minutes with those mouthwatering pizza aromas perfuming the house.

In taking that first bite, I was hit with a perfectly portioned mouthful of balanced flavor, all the toppings in the same bite, nice job Papa Murphy's!  There was a good cheese pull, the sauce carried the garlic and oregano notes and the crust was NOT chewy!  The crust, a thin crust style, had a pleasant crispy exterior, and a light, fluffy interior.  For a gluten-free crust, is was pretty good, a nice alternative to a traditional crust.

This was a good pizza, better than what I had at BJ's Brewhouse in my first Gluten-free pizza Challenge endeavor, which was chewy.  

The underside look
This is a pretty good GF crust.  It was baked on the tray per the instructions, a bit uneven, but still good.

Costing me just over $20 for Take and Bake, the Papa Murphy's GF crust pizza scored 53 out of a possible 63 points, earning 4 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars.  It's worthy of a repeat buy.  In a cost comparison, pricing both Pizza Hut and Papa John's gluten-free options - also medium in size - cost around $25 and that was before the tip for delivery.  That price for a medium pizza, even with the extra cost for the GF crust, is what drove me to Papa Murphy's.  

The Papa Murphy's visited on this occasion is located at 4813 East Central Avenue, Wichita, KS 67208.  The service was fast, efficient, and friendly, done with a smile.

Related: Why Papa Murphy's is better than Pizza Hut

 

 


Sampling the gluten-free pizza crust at BJ's Brewhouse

BachelorontheCheap.com

BJ's Brewhouse Classic Combo Pizza
A generous portion of toppings, but how is the GF crust?

I recently completed a 30-day gluten-free challenge, eliminating wheat products from the daily menu. It was a very successful challenge, I lost some weight and more importantly, I feel better as a result, with no bloating, gas, or other digestive problems from eating too much gluten. I've maintained the GF diet regimen post-challenge and on a Saturday night for dinner, I met up with a buddy of mine from my military days, Ben, and his wife Kelly.

We decided on BJ's Brewhouse for the evening meal, a place we're all familiar with and enjoy.  BJ's started off as a pizza joint before it became a full-service restaurant and brewhouse.  They may be known for their pizza, but they also crank out some stellar appetizers, tasty burgers, specialty entrees, and mouth-watering pasta dishes.  If you still have room, there's a decadent dessert called Plzookie, with a variety of flavor options to choose from.

When it came time to order and with that pizza joint background in mind, I ordered BJ's Classic Combo Pizza on a gluten-free crust, the toppings being pepperoni, mushrooms, Italian sausage, seasoned tomatoes, and BJ's signature five-cheese blend.  I was anxious to sample the gluten-free crust, served up thin and crispy style.  Ben decided on a Hickory Brisket & Bacon Burger with fries, and Kelly opted for Burger Sliders with roasted vegetables.

It took a while for our meals to arrive, and by the time our food came, the crowd had already started to thin out.  The time passing by was no big deal, we were busy with some great conversation, and our server did come out to update us on the status at one point, but when our order did finally arrive, I was given the wrong pizza by another member of the staff.  As I was noting out loud the toppings didn't look right, our server swooped in with the correct pie.

Gluten-free pizza crust
The crust had a nice bake on it, but it was chewy.

In taking that first bite, the robust flavor of the seasoned tomatoes hit me first, followed by the subtle spice of the pepperoni and the juiciness of the plump morsels of Italian sausage.  The cheese had a nice pull, the sauce provided those zesty notes you look for, and the mushrooms were a great compliment, but the crust - the foundation of a pizza pie - was a bit of a disappointment.  A good thin and crispy crust should deliver a nice, savory, cracker-like, slightly crunchy bite on the exterior, yet have a tender, flaky texture on the interior.  Instead of thin and crispy, I got thin and chewy.  Pulling off a good pizza crust with gluten-free dough is a challenge, what I got on this occasion didn't rise to the challenge...  (see what I did there...  "rise" to the challenge...).  The toppings and sauce saved this pizza, the portions were generous and the flavor was there, but the texture of the crust was less-than-stellar.

With the pizza and some lemonade costing a little over $20, I'm going to pass on the gluten-free pizza options next time I visit BJ's Brewhouse, in my humble foodie opinion, it's not worthy of a repeat buy.

Scoring:  The pizza scored 48 out of a possible 63 points, earning a 3-star rating.  Just one more point would have earned 4 stars.  What was otherwise a pretty good pie, was done in by the chewy texture of the crust. 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

A slice of GF pizza
Good toppings, good sauce, the crust, not so much...

Located at 7960 E Kellogg Dr N, Wichita, KS 67207, in the Towne East Mall parking lot, this dining experience was not as good as what Ben, Kelly, and I are accustomed to at BJ's Brewhouse.  Our server, while polite, wasn't all that attentive.  She performed most of the obligatory functions, but the follow-ups just weren't there, the little things such as a timely drink refill, and the clearing of dinner plates before dessert arrives.

Related:  Best in Wichita Metro Burger Challenge 2022: How does BJ's Brewhouse rate?


Who has the best gluten-free pizza in the Wichita Metro?

BachelorontheCheap.com

Gluten-free pizzaI recently completed a 30-day gluten-free challenge, eliminating wheat products from the daily menu. It was a very successful challenge, I lost some weight and more importantly, I feel better as a result, with no bloating, gas, or other digestive problems from eating too much gluten. I've maintained the GF diet regimen post-challenge and as a lover of pizza, well it got me wondering what restaurant cranks out the best gluten-free pizza in town.

Gluten-free is a big deal, it's in demand as more people become aware of the benefits of going gluten-free.  The number of restaurants putting GF items on their menu is ever-growing and you're seeing a lot more GF products in the grocery stores.

I did a Best Pizza in the Wichita Metro Challenge a few years back, but it wasn't gluten-free.  So using those same judging criteria and updating my Best Pizza in the Wichita Metro List (sadly, some of the restaurants noted in that Challenge have since gone out of business), here's the latest Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge:  Who makes the best gluten-free pizza in the Wichita Metro?

Without question, 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 the tasty complement of toppings, the subtle spices of pepperoni and sausage, and 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, and perhaps some cheddar or provolone that bubbles up in the oven to golden, brown, deliciousness!  Most important, especially in this Challenge, is the crust!  Cranking out a good GF pizza crust isn't easy.  And finding out who makes the best one around is THE focus of this challenge.

As I sample and review, I will consider customer service, time to order, price, appearance, and toppings, but the most scoring weight will be on the crust.   And unlike the previous pizza challenge, I will be evaluating national chains and their gluten-free crusts in addition to the local and regional restaurants.

I look forward to finding the BEST GF PIE!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


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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