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Pittsburg – Gusano’s Pizza

Pizza chains abound in southeast Kansas. On the plus side, chains offer consistency and value. Unfortunately, they tend not to include much excitement in the variety department. Fortunately for those in and around Crawford County, Pittsburg has a Gusano’s Pizzeria, located near Pittsburg State University, and Meadowbrook Mall, at 200 W. Centennial Drive.

Gusano’s is a small Chicago style chain that got its start in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 2004. According to their website (https://gusanos.pizza), the owner, a Chicago native, found his way to Arkansas for an education. After graduating, he began a restaurant true to his Chicago roots. The success of his first location eventually led to seven more.

Gusano’s Pizzerias have a smoke free, sports bar vibe. The Pittsburg location has a large bar area and nearly a dozen televisions. Besides pizza, Gusano’s has all the typical sports bar foods. But for me, I went for the pork!

If you like pizza (and who doesn’t?!), you owe it to yourself to try a Chicago style pie! Chicago style pizzas have a deliciously thick crust that serves as a vessel to hold fresh mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings. Unlike other pizzas, however, Chicago style pizzas have a tomato flavored sauce on the top of the pizza, with the cheese and other toppings underneath.

My fantastically flavored pizza include bacon, pepperoni, and perfectly seasoned Italian sausage chunks.

If you are a pizza lover like me, you owe it to yourself to try a Chicago style pizza. If you find yourself in southeast Kansas, give Gusano’s Pizzeria a try!

Until next time,

Chris

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Emporia – Radius Brewing Company

Recently I had a ticket to a concert in Emporia fall into my lap at the last minute. The trip to Emporia involved dinner too we decided, and Radius Brewing Company was chosen as our pre-concert destination. Located in downtown Emporia (Merchant St. and Hwy 50), Radius is right across the street from Bobby D’s BBQ, which is one of my old blog subjects for IPOP. It was nice to see Bobby D’s was still doing well a few years later with a line out the door on a Saturday night!

Like Bobby D’s, Radius is in an old store front that’s been there for a pretty long time. It’s a relatively narrow place that goes all the way through to the back alley. On your way to the seating area in the rear part of the place you can see through glass all the food being prepared right before your eyes. Watching the workers toss the crusts, assemble the pizzas, and operate the huge rotating brick pizza oven was kind of fun to see.

Before I left home I had studied the Radius menu long enough to know I was going to get one of their highly spoken of pizzas once I was there. I just picked a few of the “can’t miss” pork products like bacon, sausage, and pepperoni and then added some olives and mushrooms to balance things out a bit. It was an excellent pizza with a chewy crust that was crisp on the outside. The toppings all tasted great. The sausage was high quality stuff and the Fanestil bacon (from right there in Emporia as well) tasted great without being too fatty.

I washed it all down with a couple different beers from their brewery that were very good too. At this point I’m just looking for another reason to head back down to Radius so I can get another pizza, this time with some of their chorizo on it, and possibly another beer or three while I’m at it!

Until next time,

Mike

Olathe – El Panzote

If you had a dictionary with phrases instead of single words and it had pictures to match, and you looked up “hole in the wall Mexican place” in the book, it would likely have a picture of El Panzote next to it. El Panzote sits out in western Olathe on old 56 Hwy west of KS Hwy 7, pretty much right next to one of my favorite places to eat in all of Olathe; Johnny’s BBQ. Literally for years now I’ve driven by El Panzote and every time thought to myself “I should go eat there one of these days”.

Finally “one of these days” actually occurred, and I went to try El Panzote. Overall it was a pleasant surprise, as besides the basic Mexican foods you’d expect, they also have a bakery and serve ice cream too! It’s a nice little place that was very clean and well-kept inside.

The tamales are like nothing I’ve had around this area. They are wrapped in banana leaves before they’re steamed rather than corn husks. It makes for a slightly different (but good) flavor on the masa dough. It also makes for a much larger tamale, which neither me nor my stomach expected! The pork soft tacos and their salsas and sauces were really good too.

If you want to study up on El Panzote, they don’t have a website but they do have a fairly active Facebook page that you can learn quite a bit about their foods from. Now that I know what this little place is really like inside I plan on going back in the morning someday and maybe trying their breakfast, or at the very least getting a variety of the baked goods to bring home and sample!

Until next time,

Mike