Tag Archives: pizza

Mini-Review: PizzaBella

In a town not necessarily known for great pizza, the Crossroads’ PizzaBella manages to deliver a mighty fine product in a style that isn’t necessarily well-represented locally. Initially opened by chef Rob Dalzell, PizzaBella closed briefly last year after the financial shakeup that drove most of Dalzell’s businesses under. It quickly re-opened under new ownership essentially unchanged.

Pizza Bella

A recent visit found it largely empty on a weekday evening. The attractive, modern dining room features a lot of wood accents which serves to warm the space up quite a bit. Two wood-fired pizza ovens anchor one corner of the room, where a couple of cooks prepare the thirteen varieties of pizza offered on the menu.


Choice is limited here but it’s easy to see that topping combinations have been chosen with care. In addition to pizza, the menu has a handful of delicious-looking appetizers and only a couple of desserts. I for one, like the simplicity of the menu although others might crave the endless do-it-yourself topping deliberations that are the hallmark of most traditional pizza joints.

The brussel sprout appetizer was prepared in the hot pizza oven and came dressed with a pancetta ham vinaigrette, dried cranberries and almonds. It proved to be slightly too big for two people as a starter, but tasted wonderful.

Brussel Sprouts

For dinner proper, I opted for the classic pizza margherita which featured fresh basil, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and roasted garlic, the latter of which is an unusual but welcome addition.


The Prosciutto pizza, while bordering on too salty, nonetheless was a favorite of mine. The storied Italian ham was barely warmed, most likely added just after removal from the oven. A pile of spicy baby arugula provides a delightful fresh contrast to the buttery richness of the meat and parmesan.

Prosciutto Pizza

PizzaBella’s crust is a force to be reckoned with, as it stays defiantly crispy–despite its thinness–long after it leaves the oven. The pie itself is rustic and uneven in appearance but matches the simplicity and quality of the toppings.

Rather than dump a ton of highly flavorful and expensive ingredients together on its pies, this places focuses on quality toppings used in a judicious manner. No, it’s not the traditional pizza experience, but PizzaBella delivers mightily.

What Doesn’t Belong on a Pizza?

I am somewhat of a pizza purist. I enjoy few, simple ingredients rather than giant, messy, savory explosions of flavor and gimmick pizzas. I don’t need pizza inspired by cheeseburgers, taco salads or hot wings (I’m lookin’ at you, Minsky’s). I don’t need tater tots on top either.

Japanese half & half Pizza

The pizza shown in the pictures is half & half pizza from Pizza-LA. It’s medium sized and about 2,300 yen (25 US dollars). The left half is Teriyaki Chicken and the right half is Shrimp Mayonnaise. Photo by Akira on Flickr.

Jesus, apparently at Waldo Pizza you can get burnt ends, fake crab meat and spam as pizza toppings. Who orders this stuff and why isn’t anyone enforcing good pizza-ordering behavior?

Alright, I know it’s a free country but just for giggles, here’s my list of stuff that doesn’t belong on pizza. This is not crazy stuff, but ingredients that you frequently see on toppings lists and specialty pizzas. This was inspired by an online conversation a while back with Karen Geary, operator of Le Petit Rouge and chef extraordinaire.

Stuff that doesn’t belong on pizza:

  • Chicken, turkey or poultry of any kind
  • Broccoli
  • Shrimp or really any kind of seafood
  • Potatoes
  • Mayonnaise
  • Anything that is “blackened” or cooked “Cajun-style”
  • Provel cheese
  • Eggs (hat tip to Bull E. Vard)


Pizza by the Slice

I almost never go out to eat and order a whole pizza. Something about toppings are very personal, we all have our preferences, dietary restrictions and taste swings. Trying to get four or five people to decide on a pizza is an exercise in futility and frustration.

Pizza slice

Photo by Jeremy Keith on Flickr

For this reason, as well as the fact that I often dine alone, I only go to pizza places that offer slices. If I have never been somewhere before, I check ahead of time to make sure they sell slices. If I am driving by, I look for prominent signage advertising the availability of slices.

Stonewall Inn

Slice at Stonewall Pizza, Lenexa

What am I driving at here? Well, I think every single pizza place should offer slices or individual servings. The “pizza buffet?” Not going to cut it.

Slices are tough on a restaurant because you have to partially or fully cook them, then heat them up. If you try to make them from scratch, the patron is looking at a long wait. Whole Foods does a nice job on this front. I really enjoy the slices at Original Pizza but you run the risk of it not being fully heated, since they want to serve you quickly.

Pizza & Salad

Slice & salad from Original Pizza, Overland Park.

Papa Keno’s takes forever, but I think they actually make each slice to order. Hell, they barely qualify as slices, since the the slice has to be sliced into smaller, uh, slices.

There’s D’Bronx which makes pretty good slices too. I like that they don’t skimp on the toppings; they come really loaded.

D'Bronx Slice

Slice from D'Bronx, Overland Park

And there are several more options before you are compelled to graduate to “gourmet” individual pizzas at a joint like Pizza Bella or Spin.