The KCFood Guys Pizza Wars continue with an unlikely pairing of Johnny Jo’s just off the Plaza at 1209 W. 47th Street versus Providence Pizza at 12925 US-71, in Grandview. Plaza vs Grandview? Both are Yelp KC Pizza All-Stars with 4.5 Stars but Johnny Jo’s currently has 79 – 5 Star reviews vs Providence with 20 – 5 Star reviews. To the mattresses we go.
Johnny Jo’s Pizzeria
Johnny Jo’s is located just off the Plaza on 47th Street. It’s an unassuming hole in the wall pizzeria with Italian flag awning in front. It’s small, real small, and appears to mainly be a to go joint for the surrounding neighborhood. If you want to dine in you may be S.O.L. if it’s busy as there was a single indoor table, 3 bar stools, an outdoor table for 2, and 2 additional outdoor chairs. In addition if its busy parking could be an issue as well. There are basically two spots in front and then from there its on street parking on the south side of 47th street. Like I said this appears to be mainly a to go place where you can get a whole pie or a few slices. From the online pictures it appears they’ve been trying a few different table configurations to best fit the space and from my trip, I would suggest they keep trying.
Considering I’m not a germaphobe I was surprised that my first impression of the place was that it was a bit dingy. Authentic NY style pizza is great but please at least wipe your counters down so your customers don’t have to. Johnny Jo’s displays it’s by the slice pies in a display case that does nothing to make their pies look appetizing. I went ahead and tried my standard slice of pepperoni and also a pepperoni and sausage slice. Thankfully Johnny Jo’s served Coke, but they come in bottle so don’t think you’ll be loading up a big styrofoam cup and getting a refill. Actually I enjoyed my bottle of Coke but without free refills one has to ensure they have enough soft drink available to wash down the pizza.
As for the pizza it was good. In typical NY fashion you have to eat it by folding the edges of the crust together or you’ll have to eat it off the paper plate with a fork. The pizza was good and I’d eat it again although I’m not sure how they are maintaining their top spot in KC pizza on Yelp. The only thing I can think of is their Yelp score is supported by the neighborhood and that their main customer base is just looking at Johnny Jo’s from a To-Go perspective.
So last Saturday afternoon I was able to make a trip to Providence Pizzeria of 71-Hwy in Grandview, MO. Providence was started by two brothers from Providence, RI who evidently got lost in Missouri and decided to open up a pizza joint. I visited Providence after some time at potentially the best public park in the KC area for kids, Valley Park in Grandview. Since I had my food monsters with me I figured I’d be able to get some additional opinions from some less mature palettes.
It appears Providence commandeered an old Long John Silvers restaurant at the corner of US-71 Hwy and Main St. in Grandview. The place was clean although we did have to shoo off a couple of flies who appeared to be mating at our table. The food monsters promptly disrupted the flies gyrations while we waited patiently for our pizza. My monsters order cheese pizza while I got the standard pepperoni slice and a slice of deep dish with a few different meats. Interestingly enough Providence also served Coke in bottles as well as some pure cane sugar sodas by Boylan Bottling. I got each of the food monsters a bottle of Orange soda and helped them drink them like a good father. I wouldn’t compare Boyland Orange to Sunkist or Orange Crush but it was pretty good all the same.
When the pizza came out I would say that the crust was a little stiffer than Johnny Jo’s but still had some bend to it. The food monsters still have a lot to learn when it comes to eating NY style pizza but they did a decent job of for their first time and seemed to enjoy the taste once they got past the fact the crust was not going to stay straight for them. I enjoyed my pepperoni and as for the deep dish it was a bit disappointing if I’m honest. The deep dish just had too much crust going on and the crust was a bit over done, I’m sure the same mistake wouldn’t be made on full pie from scratch but when you’re trying to heat a single slice in the oven you’re either going to over do the crust or under heat the sauce. Both fouls were committed on my deep dish slice.
…So The Winner Is?
So when it comes to picking a winner I’m going to go with Providence by a smiggen. Even with the deep dish disappointment I enjoyed the regular slice of pepperoni more at Providence and it was certainly cleaner even with the mating flies. Not to mention there was a whole bunch more to choose from on the menu; appetizers, salads, calzones, and desserts. Had I taken my family to Johnny Jo’s there’d be a 50/50 shot we’d be eating together in the car, and that’s not my preference with a NY style pizza.