Some of our strongest memories are linked to food and dining. Whether it’s a treasured family recipe or a favorite restaurant, food creates lasting emotions. Some of my earliest food related recollections are my family’s Angelo’s pizza nights. I remember the hungry anticipation as my father trekked from Andover to Angelo’s and back with delicious pies in tow. Their glorious pepperoni pizza was all I ever had back then, as I had not yet come to appreciate vegetables on a pizza, and it was certainly the best pizza in Wichita at the time.
For many long time Wichitans, Angelo’s Italian Restaurant was a beloved institution that had a 46 year run before closing its last location in 2006. Since then, many people have spent sleepless nights pining for their loaded pizzas, pickled eggplant, and lasagna. Last year the son of the former owners initiated a Kickstarter campaign to help resurrect the restaurant and the outpouring of support enabled him to open it back up earlier this year.
The new location is on Central between Oliver and Edgemoor and is much more scaled back compared to the original. The menu has been kept short and simple, with only lasagna, manicotti, spaghetti, several pizza varieties, as well as pickled eggplant, garlic bread and marinara sauce by the quart if that’s your thing. A small dining room was recently opened for sit down customers, but the main business has been carry out orders. There is also the option to do take-and-bake on several of the menu items including medium pizzas, spaghetti, and lasagna. The demand has been high, so be prepared for longer waits.
On a recent Friday night I called to order a pepperoni pie and ended up going with the take-and-bake option because the wait was only 30 minutes, compared to one hour for the cooked version. Note: The take-and-bake option is only available on medium pizzas. The pizza comes on an aluminum tray with heating instructions included. After throwing the pizza in the oven for about 15 minutes, I pulled out a delicious looking specimen. It was just about everything that I remembered from the original Angelo’s. The perfect balance of ingredients, the flavorful sauce, and the ample and thick chunks of pepperoni. Really the only issue was the underdone crust, but that was user error. First of all I did not preheat my oven, nor did I employ my pizza stone, and due to hangry children I was forced to remove the pizza earlier than I wanted. I did put a slice back in the oven and was able to achieve a crispier crust. All in all I was happy to see that Angelo’s had not lost their pizza mojo of yesteryear.
The local pizza scene has picked up since Angelo’s last operated in town, with the likes of Picasso’s, Wichita Brewing Company, and Ziggy’s offering solid pies, but it appears that the new Angelo’s can hold their own against the expanded competition. I look forward to sampling the rest of the menu to see how it stacks up against other Italian joints in town.