By Jill Draper
Do you like your pizza baked New York, Sicilian or Detroit-style? There’s no need to choose at Providence Pizza in Grandview, where diners can sample a variety one slice at a time throughout the day.
Standard toppings are offered plus housemade meatballs, Castelvetrano olives and Sweety Drop peppers, sometimes drizzled with chili-infused hot honey, pink vodka sauce or fig jam. Cheeses range from fresh mozzarella and whipped ricotta to provolone, cheddar, feta, gorgonzola and more.
It’s the dough, however, that sets Providence Pizza apart from competitors, says Luke Salvatore, who owns the restaurant with his brother Aaron. With a motto of “No crust left behind,” their goal is to approach the business as bread makers just as much as pizza makers.
Before opening Providence Pizza in 2014 at the northeast corner of Highway 71 and Main Street, the brothers studied pizza in New York and Detroit, also traveling to San Francisco where they attended a five-day pizza school.
To achieve three distinct styles, the brothers learned to use different flours to create different types of dough, some batches undergoing a four or five-day fermentation process to achieve a flavor like sourdough. The pizzas are cooked in separate ovens at slightly different temperatures.
A copper-domed woodburning oven sits in a corner of the restaurant. It was used in the past to bake Neapolitan-style pizza, but that style didn’t hold up well when the brothers had to pivot to carryout-only meals during the pandemic, Salvatore says. He plans to install it onto a trailer for its next life as a food truck.
Neapolitan pizzas are made with Italian flour in small rounds without a heavy topping of cheese, he says. Their New York-style is a thin and crispy hand-tossed pizza, while their version of Sicilian is a thick square crust studded with sesame seeds on the bottom. Detroit-style also has a thick crust spread with a cheddar and brick cheese blend that turns crispy and caramelized on the edges. Tomato sauce is dolloped atop the cheese.
“We’re equally proud of all styles,” Salvatore says. “New York style sells the most, but Detroit is arguably the most popular. I’ve seen tremendous excitement from people trying it for the first time.”
He hopes to offer cooking classes on Saturday mornings this fall in Grandview, providing sauce and oven tips to help home-based pizza makers.
“Boy, I could have used something like that in the beginning,” says Salvotore, although he and his brother were not total novices. They both learned to cook as teenagers at a pizza place in their hometown, Providence, Rhode Island.
Other future possibilities are a drive-thru option and a return of Covid-era pizza kits (“Those things went crazy”) that included three doughballs, sauce, cheese and toppings for $25.
A second Providence Pizza operated for a while in Parlor, KC’s downtown food hall, before relocating in Westport. There’s a third restaurant in Oklahoma City, and Salvatore would like to open at least one more location.
Meanwhile, he says their original spot in an old Long John Silver’s building at the edge of a parking lot they share with the International House of Prayer University has been good.
“What’s neat about Grandview is we have our own little space and people have been willing to make the drive from surrounding towns—Belton, Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs.”
Newcomers to Providence Pizza should expect an unmatched experience, Salvatore claims. “You’ll taste the difference in the crust. You pay for it, but it’s worth it.”
Slices range from $2.75 to $5, he says. Gluten-free and vegan options are available, as well as salads, calzones, stromboli and cannoli. See the full menu at providencepizza.com.