Dining With Denise Neil

Small-town pizza staple Gambino’s makes its move into Wichita

Restaurants we lost in 2016

A look at ten of the Wichita restaurants that closed in 2016. (video by Jaime Green)
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A look at ten of the Wichita restaurants that closed in 2016. (video by Jaime Green)

A few things you can count on when driving into small-town Kansas: The speed limit will reduce quickly, you’ll be stuck behind a slow semi you can’t pass, and a Gambino’s Pizza will be one of the only restaurants you spot.

Gambino’s, a regional pizza chain that has restaurants in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas, is a small-town staple for sure. But now, it’s made its move into Wichita.

Rob Wagner, a franchisee who runs the Gambino’s stores in Winfield and in Alva, Okla., has just opened the first store in Wichita. Though there’s no official sign posted outside yet, it opened last week in the former Wichita Pizza Co. space, 1520 S. Webb Road. That restaurant closed last fall after six years in business.

“We’ve talked about it for a long time,” Wagner said. “So many people come to Winfield and say, ‘Man, I wish we had a Gambino’s in Wichita.’”

Wagner said the chain approached him about opening in Wichita. He discussed it with his wife and decided to give it a try.

Gambino’s has a big menu that includes many different specialty pies, calzones, sandwiches, pasta dishes, salads, appetizers and desserts. At the moment, it has a Kraft mac & cheese pizza on special.

You’ve likely seen restaurants in nearby towns like Towanda, Colwich, Andover and El Dorado. Some bigger cities, like Topeka and Lenexa, also have them.

The new Gambino’s is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The dining room has seating for 88, and Gambino’s will deliver within a five-mile radius.

If this restaurant works out, Wagner said, he’d consider adding another one in Wichita, possibly on the west side.

For more information, call 316-272-9777.

Wichita Eagle food writer Denise Neil takes a journey to find out if pizza you buy at a gas station is as good as some tell her it is. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)

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