Nothing square about Ziggy’s hip pizzas

03/20/2012 5:00 AM

03/20/2012 12:09 PM

Apparently, when a pair of brothers decides to open a restaurant in Wichita, the results are delicious.

On the heels of the Schauf brothers, Jeff and Rob, and their fabulous Flying Stove food truck comes Ryan and Jamie Verbeckmoes, the men behind Ziggy’s Pizza, which opened in February in Clifton Square.

The restaurant, which specializes in rectangular pizzas with thick and chewy homemade crust, is the best use of the space at 3700 E. Douglas I can remember. (It’s also held businesses such as Bay Leaf Cafe and Everyday Gourmet.)

With its large and peaceful front-porch patio with picnic tables, cozy dining room inside a onetime house and a young-and-hip wait staff, Ziggy’s feels more like a business that would operate in Lawrence or Manhattan.

The brothers say they modeled their recipe after the square pizzas their mother used to make when they were kids. (Although the owners insist on calling the pizzas “square,” they’re decidedly rectangular.)

Whatever the shape, they’re delicious.

ON THE MENU: Ten different types of specialty pizzas, all made in one size of rectangle that easily could feed two or three. There’s also a build-your-own pizza option, and the menu features nine types of toasted sandwiches, four salads and basic appetizers such as nachos, wings and potato skins.

DON’T MISS DISHES: We ordered two of Ziggy’s specialty pizzas and loved them both, mainly because of the fabulous crust. Doughy and chewy on the inside but crisp on the outside, it had a yeasty flavor and was completely grease-free.

The toppings were good, too. The Classic Ziggy ($10.99) was topped with giant hunks of Italian sausage, plus pepperoni, green peppers, onions, fresh mushrooms and black olives. The marinara sauce that anchored it had a nice flavor but was subtle enough to let the fresh toppings shine. The Mamacita’s Taco Pizza ($10.99), topped with a thin layer of refried beans, ground beef, onion, shredded cheddar, lettuce, tomato and crumbled Nacho Cheese Doritos, was as vibrant and colorful as it was tasty. On future visits, we want to try the White Delight, topped with grilled chicken, smoke bacon, green peppers, red onions and a layer of cream cheese, and the Kickin’ Chicken, a buffalo sauce-based pizza topped with grilled chicken, onion, jalapenos and a drizzle of Ranch dressing.

We started our meals with an Italian tossed salad, which was $3.99 for a side-salad serving, $6.99 for a meal-sized serving. It was inventive and delicious, made with romaine and topped with green peppers, banana peppers, black olives, diced tomato, onion, feta and Parmesan cheese. Bite-sized slices of salami and the wonderfully creamy, tangy house-made Italian dressing made it memorable.

Also outstanding: The Italian Toasty sandwich, which was $6.99 and came with a pickle and a bag of chips. It featured a crusty Italian hoagie stuffed with a feast of meats: Italian sausage, pepperoni and Canadian bacon, plus melty Mozzarella, Parmesan and Italian dressing. A tub of warm marinara for dipping was served on the side. The sandwich was great, but its off-the-charts fat content made it feel a little heavy. Other sandwiches include the Costanzwich, piled with roasted turkey, ham, bacon, lettuce, tomato, Provolone, Parmesan and cream cheese, and the Parmageddon with grilled chicken, mozzarella, Parmesan and marinara.

One complaint: The pizzas come in just one size except for during weekday lunches, when customers can get a side salad and two rectangular slices for $5.99. It’d be nice to have an option for smaller appetites all the time. Also, Ziggy’s can make specialty pizzas half-and-half, but only if the base sauce on both choices are the same. A marinara-based pizza can’t be paired with a cream-cheese based pizza, for example.

AMBIENCE: Ziggy’s picturesque patio will be one of the most fabulous hangouts in Wichita during spring and fall months. The interior is comfortable, too, though tight. The front part of the restaurant is a narrow room with a bar and some bar stools that face the kitchen. The back has a square (not rectangular) dining room with a couple of wooden booths and a few tables.

PRICE RANGE: Pizzas are $8.99 to $10.99. Sandwiches are $6.99. Appetizers range from $2.99 for chips and salsa to $11.99 for a sampler.

SERVICE: Our service was a little slow, as our waitress seemed a bit overwhelmed. But she was friendly and responsive when we could get her attention.

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