By Glen Vaughn Petersen and Kathy Feist
The Arizona-based Peter Piper Pizza has opened its first Missouri location at Ward Parkway Center’s Restaurant Pavilion. The pizzeria had its soft opening on June 10th and a grand opening on June 22.
Having opened in the former Hurts Donuts location, the space offers plenty of seating and arcade games. Pizza, pasta, wings, sandwiches, salads and desserts are available for indoor and outdoor dining. Pizza by the slice is also available, perfect for quick dining or listening to weekend concerts at the Pavilion. Two kinds of stone-baked pizza crust, hand-tossed or pan, create the base for toppings.
The atmosphere at the Ward Parkway location is inviting, with arcade machines dotted throughout, large TVs behind their bar, and brightly colored murals, artwork and neon lights decorating the walls.
Arcades have long been a part of the franchise since 1980, when their Tucson location introduced arcade games. Presented in a “Chuck E. Cheese” type format, the restaurants featured 35 to 40 games with prizes and buffet-style dining. (Chuck E. Cheese purchased Piper Pizza in 2014.)
The Ward Parkway location is a pared back version of that and is the first of a fast-casual dining concept being introduced by the franchise. The new concept, called Peter Piper Pizzeria, as opposed to Peter Piper Pizza, features eight to ten nostalgic arcade games geared to adults in a decidedly fun, but upscale, environment. Gone are the buffet and prizes.
The restaurant’s various games operate using the franchise’s “Funpass” system, a card-based system instituted in 2022. The Funpass system allows customers to add minutes of play or points to their reusable card instead of acquiring more tokens after running out. This makes using the cards much easier and less dependent on keeping track of many individual items.
Earlier this year, the franchise expanded its way into the Midwest with a location in Olathe, Kansas. That operation is smaller and has fewer games than Ward Parkway. Both are test grounds for the two slightly different concepts.
The company is also testing its Roto-Flex oven which allows for 24 pizzas to be baked at once. With five signature pizzas to choose from, this provides a faster dining experience especially for the lunch crowd, or in the case of Ward Parkway, the movie or concert crowd.
Peter Piper Pizza has come a long way since Anthony “Tony” Cavolo opened the first location in Glendale, Arizona. Since then, 98 locations have opened around the southwestern US, including Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas—and in Mexico where 45 locations have opened since 1991.
This reviewer found that the pizza is well-made, with fresh ingredients and dough made from scratch in-house. A highlight was their Chicago Classic, topped with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and various herbs and spices. The crust has a nice crunchy, cheesy flavor than most pizza crusts.
The Ward Parkway location of Peter Piper Pizzeria is located at 8809 State Line Rd. For further information, visit their website at peterpiperpizzeria.com.