Wichita may not be renowned for one particular type of food the way New York is known for hot dogs or Kansas City for its ribs.
But there is one thing local restaurants continually get right, and that’s pizza. With our hometown eateries continually perfecting the pie, we’re bound to be put on a map sooner or later, and when they come calling, the Pumphouse will be on that list.
It’s been at least a year since Jim and Judy Ross, owners of the Pumphouse, let on that their gas-station-turned-bar-and-grill would be creating hot pizza pies, and on Aug. 1, it finally happened. The pizza is the shining star on a newly designed and revised menu, which includes not only the new pizza offerings but also new sandwiches such as a New Yorker Pastrami sandwich and a Meatball sub.
The pizza is really good. Judy Ross assured me that the bar isn’t using any canned ingredients, save the black olives. The mushrooms, peppers, onions, jalapenos and other toppings are sliced fresh in the Pumphouse kitchen.
The sauce is excellent – an original creation that the bar’s chef spent six months perfecting. It’s got a bit of a spicy bite, but nothing that would be off-putting to sensitive palates. It’s a thick sauce, and the kitchen doesn’t overdo it on the pizza.
The crust also is the Pumphouse’s own recipe. It’s a nice, thin and crisp crust that’s sturdy enough to hold sauce, cheese and toppings without getting limp or soggy. Every bite of my pepperoni, red pepper and mushroom pizza had a generous mix of all the toppings and plenty of stretchy, melty mozzarella cheese. It wasn’t greasy, and after three slices, I was plenty satisfied.
The lunch pizza is the best deal – a two-topping personal pizza with a salad for $6.99. I opted for the 12-inch Build-Your-Own with three toppings for $14.86; $10.99 for the pie and $1.29 for each topping. This could feed two or three people, especially if they added sides such as wings or a salad.
Crust sizes are available in 10, 12, and 16 inches, with a 14-inch gluten free crust also available for $14.99. The specialty pizza menu reflects the meaty appetites of Wichita diners, with one vegetarian option and three fully-loaded that are a take on a supreme, a meat lover’s, and a “Full Service,” which is topped with beef, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard and cheddar cheese.
The Pumphouse’s pizza will hit the spot. Be impressed by the lengths the owners take to use fresh ingredients and craft their own sauce and crust. That’s not something every pizzeria can say.