Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita Brewing Company’s wild pizza plans for 2017

Please eat my pizza, which launches Sunday at Wichita Brewing Company.
Please eat my pizza, which launches Sunday at Wichita Brewing Company.

Please eat my pizza.

You may be hearing that plea a lot this coming year from Wichita chefs and restaurateurs who have agreed to participate in a fun promotion that launches Sunday at Wichita Brewing Company.

Owner Greg Gifford, who dreams up WBC’s many inventive promotions, invited me and 11 local restauranteurs to invent a pizza that he’ll serve at both Wichita Brewing Company restaurants, 8815 W. 13th St. and 535 N. Woodlawn, throughout 2017.

The restaurants, whose owners are supporters of WBC and/or have WBC craft beer on tap, can invent any sort of pizza they want using the toppings the restaurant has in stock plus up to five wild ingredients of their choice. Each participant is assigned a month, and whichever pizza has the highest sales at the end of the year wins. The prize is a party at the WBC production facility, complete with beer, for the winner and his or her staff. You can find a month-by-month list of participants below.

Gifford assigned me January, and just before Christmas, I went to the restaurant to assemble my pizza. In retrospect, I might not have gone crazy enough with my ingredients, but I created a delicious pie that’s true to my pizza passions. It’s called The Denise Neil, but it also could have been called The Cheesy Taco. I’ve always loved taco pizza, and I’m fascinated by the concept of cream cheese on pizza, which WBC has mastered with its decadent “itis” pizza.

WBC has a taco pizza on its menu, but I decided to invent a more intense version. Mine starts with refried beans dotted with cream cheese. I added taco meat then mozzarella and white cheddar cheese, plus WBC’s aged cheddar sauce, lettuce, tomato and sour cream. The crowning ingredient is the one I brought in: Neon orange, crushed up nacho cheese Doritos. It’s sort of like the best five-layer taco dip you’ve ever eaten, only on crust and with several extra layers.

The staff and owners of WBC, sampled the finished product and declared me a culinary genius, but I think they were just being kind. It was excessively delicious, but Gifford warned me that the creative minds at The Monarch, District Taqueria, The Anchor, etc. are likely to invent over-the-top pies with the maximum amount of unique ingredients.

The Denise Neil is on the menu at both WBC locations starting on Sunday, Jan. 1 and will be available through Jan. 31. Then, on Feb. 1, the next pizza is up. I’ll let you know each month what the competing restaurants have created.

In the meantime, please eat my pizza.

The lineup

January: Dining with Denise

February: Public at the Brickyard

March: Carlos O’ Kelly’s

April: YaYa’s Eurobistro

May: Sabor

June: District Taqueria

July: The Anchor

August: Dempsey’s Burger Pub

September: Jimmy Vo, Kan-Grow Hydro Farm LLC

October: The Monarch

November: Hangar One Steakhouse

December: The Flying Stove

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