Now this is Kansas City-style pizza

Illustration for article titled Now this is Kansas City-style pizza
Photo: LauriPatterson, bhofack2 (Getty Images)

Last month, we brought you the story of a Kansas City, Missouri-area pizzeria that claimed it had created “Kansas City-style pizza.” I expressed skepticism that its sauce-on-top and herb-butter-brushed crust were enough to create a new geographic style of pizza. Put scientifically, I was unsure Pizza Speciation had occurred. To truly join the ranks of accepted regional pizza styles like Detroit, New Haven, New York, or Chicago, I wrote, Kansas City-style pizza should perhaps be slathered in barbecue sauce or topped with burnt ends. Now, two pizzerias are doing just that. I’m not taking credit… except I’m 100 percent taking credit.


First, Long Bell Restaurant, the very pizzeria who claimed to have invented KC-style pies, tweeted—with a shoutout to yours truly—that it had created a special pie with house-smoked burnt ends, pulled pork, Burnt Finger BBQ sauce, crispy onions, jalapenos, and garlic cream sauce. Gaze upon this pizza, which is proof that we can all be the change we wish to see in the world:

Beautiful. But other pizzerias are also heeding my call, and today I caught wind that Kansas City’s Minsky’s Pizzeria had teamed up with that most KC of institutions, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, to offer a special barbecue pie at all its locations beginning March 25. The pizza will be topped with smoked brisket, pulled pork and burnt ends from Joe’s, Joe’s KC BBQ sauce, and dusted with Joe’s fry seasoning—just like I’d hoped and dreamed.

I share news of these pizzas with you not to brag—though let’s be clear, I, Katherine Bernot, am solely responsible for Kansas City-style pizza—but to inspire others. You, too, might have a dream that seems a little far-fetched, a little too grand. But I am living proof that with just a humble food website and loud enough hinting, anyone can inspire pizzerias to create the regional pizza style they’d always imagined. Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: “The future belongs to those who write about barbecue-topped pizza on the internet.”

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.



I don’t think pizza speciation can occur with toppings alone. It has to happen with some fundamental change to the pizza on top of which other ingredients could be placed. For instance, substituting bbq sauce for tomato sauce. Or some unique recipe or process for the dough. Or in a different ordering of the ingredients. Chicago style, for instance, is not only a deep-dish crust, but also includes tomato sauce on the top of the pizza, rather than between the cheese and the crust. Putting chopped steak and provolone on a pizza does not make “Philly Style Pizza” it just makes a cheese steak flavored pizza. Not the same thing.

Secondly, the recipe needs to be widely available and widely popular. If lots of places aren’t making it, and lots of people eating it, it’s just a mutation not a speciation.