Review: Wichita Pizza Co.
Rating: Three and a half forks out of four
Where: 1520 S. Webb Road, 316-425-1900
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
Type of food: Pizza, calzones, sandwiches, subs
Alcohol: Full bar
In a sea of pizza sameness, Wichita Pizza Co. has the upper crust.
The food — particularly the homemade crust on the pizzas and calzones — is delicious.
Plus, the restaurant feels family-owned (because it is) and offers everything a pizza fan could want — reasonable prices, an attractive dining room and a full bar.
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And did we mention good food?
Wichita Pizza Co. opened in October at 1520 S. Webb Road, in a space that formerly held three different pizza places — Papa Murphy's, Knolla's and Geno & John's.
Owners Jeff and Lisa Hutton have owned the Dairy Queen in the same strip center for years and modeled their recipes after two of their favorite pizza places — Happy Joe's, a northern pizza chain, and Tim's in Kansas City.
ON THE MENU: Wichita Pizza Co. has a long list of creative pizzas (including a Canadian bacon and kraut and a taco pizza) as well as a build-your-own option.
The restaurant also serves big and beautiful calzones, salads, appetizers and hoagies made on crusty bread.
DON'T-MISS DISHES: We'd heard good things about the pizza at Wichita Pizza Co., and we weren't disappointed.
The homemade pizza crusts are on the thin side, but they're not crackery crisp. They're substantial enough to hold a massive pile of toppings without being doughy.
Though we steered clear of the famous Canadian bacon and kraut pizza (no kraut fans in our crowd), we loved the taco pizza, topped with refried beans, beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and a glorious pile of crushed-up nacho cheese Doritos. Served with a side of taco sauce, it was reminiscent of Pizza Hut's taco pizza but with more plentiful ingredients.
We also ordered a buffalo chicken pizza, and although it was pretty, the buffalo sauce was almost undetectable, and the chicken had dried to an almost hardened state in the oven.
That pizza was saved with a drizzle of blue cheese dressing and buffalo sauce, left over from the order of chicken wings ($5.99) we had as an appetizer.
The wings were unlike any we'd had in Wichita — served sauceless and so crispy we wondered of they were breaded in panko. They tasted as good dry as they did dipped in the sauce, and a friend who grew up in upstate New York said they were as close to the wings he used to get in his local watering hole as anything he'd tasted in Wichita.
We also ordered a calzone called The Works ($6.99) —a beautiful, big half-moon of homemade crust stuffed with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, big hunks of Italian sausage and mozzarella and ricotta cheeses and served with a side of marinara for dipping. Other calzone options include pepperoni lovers, vegetarian and build-your-own.
The hoagie we sampled also was fabulous. We chose the Italian ($5.99), stacked with pepperoni, salami, ham, creamy Italian dressing, lettuce, red onions, tomato and cheese. Though the bread wasn't made on site, the owner told us, it arrives at the restaurant par-baked, allowing her to finish the baking process and crust the bread up nicely. The sandwich came with a generous side of chips and a pickle spear for $5.99. Next time (and there will be a next time) we're getting the chicken bacon Alfredo hoagie, topped with Alfredo sauce, mushrooms, chicken, bacon and cheese.
AMBIENCE: The dining room is attractive and warm, fitted with booths and tables and a tile floor. Several televisions mounted on the wall play sporting events.
PRICE RANGE: Appetizers, which also include bread sticks, cheese sticks and potato skins, range from $3.99 to $5.99.
Small 10-inch pizzas are $9.75 to $11.99; medium 13-inchers are $12.49 to $15.49; large 15-inchers are $15.99 to $18.99. Hoagies are $5.99, and calzones are $6.99.
SERVICE: The day we visited, Lisa Hutton and her son were the only employees working. He was cooking and handling the phones while she delivered food to tables. The food didn't take too long to arrive, and Hutton kindly offered advice on what to order, frequent drink refills and to-go boxes filled with extra sauces.