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Pizza chain with lots of funky toppings plans to locate near KU's Memorial Stadium
As a child of the 1980s, I remember when pizza companies went crazy and started putting pineapple on pizzas. There was little doubt in my household that it was a sign of a Communist infiltration. Fortunately, the Communists have moved on to U.S. elections, so I have no reason to worry about a pending Lawrence pizza parlor that has made its name with funky toppings.
A pizza chain called Toppers has signed a deal to locate in one of the retail spaces in the HERE apartment building across the street from KU’s Memorial Stadium. The company has filed plans at Lawrence City Hall for a location at 1100 Mississippi St., and the company’s website also lists a Lawrence location as coming soon.
The company focuses on carryout and delivery pizza. The company also has a menu that encourages people to get creative with their pizza combos. Any pizza with two or more toppings is the same price, so you can get wild with the pairings.
The menu also features several ready-to-go funky offerings. I’m sure some of you have heard of the mac ‘n’ cheese pizza before, and you maybe have heard of the buffalo chicken pizza, too. Toppers has both of those, but one of its top sellers is a buffalo chicken mac ‘n’ cheese pizza. There’s also a taco pizza, a Maui pizza (yes, pineapples), a bacon cheeseburger pizza, and a smoky barbecue chicken pizza. But none of those compare to the ... Tot-Zza. Hold onto your dough ball for this one. It is a pizza with tater tots on it. It is covered in ranch sauce, mozzarella cheese, tater tots, bacon, green onions, and nacho cheese sauce drizzled across the top. (Take note, Putin: This pizza is the prime example of why Russia will never be superior to America.)
The restaurant gives diners three types of crusts to choose from — hand-tossed, thin, and “tallboy” — and about 16 different dipping sauces for the pizza. They include the traditional ones, such as marinara and garlic butter, the slightly exotic, such as bacon honey mustard, salsa, and sweet chili, and the full-on unusual including vanilla or chocolate frosting.
Perhaps the frosting dipping sauces are for the dessert breadsticks, but maybe not. (Never underestimate American ingenuity.) The breadstick menu is extensive. They call them Topperstix. There are the garlic-cheese variety, the pepperoni variety, and the gooey cinnamon variety. But there are also Tacostix, Baconstix, and the Chocolate Baconstix varieties.
For good measure — this is Lawrence after all — the restaurant also will serve chicken wings, with about a half-dozen varieties on the menu.
As for the chain’s background, it got started in 1993 with a single store in Whitewater, Wis., which is why I assume the chain makes a big deal out of using only Wisconsin cheese on its pizza. The company now has grown to about 100 stores. The company has been growing rapidly, but the Lawrence store will be just the second one in Kansas. The company has a sole Kansas City store at Metcalf Avenue in Mission.
No timeline on when the Lawrence store will open. My understanding is the store is going into one of the ground floor spaces along Mississippi Street. I would think the store may well be open by the beginning of football season, which may be worth remembering. The restaurant will be across the street from Memorial Stadium. Tailgate parties may get even funkier at KU football games.
As a reminder, we’ve reported that two other businesses are going into the HERE building. Edible Arrangements has moved into one of the spaces along the Indiana Street side of the massive HERE building. It sells edible fruit bouquets and other fruit-based treats.
Topeka-based PT’s Coffee Roasting is locating in the spot right at the corner of 11th and Indiana streets. That store, of course, will sell coffee but also have light breakfast and lunch menus and a small cocktail menu too.
While I’m issuing reminders, I should remind you we also reported on one other pizza place that is coming town. Sarpino’s Pizzeria, which also focuses on carryout and delivery pizza, is locating in The Malls Shopping Center at 23rd and Louisiana. It too is a chain that features a large number of toppings. It boasts more than 50 gourmet or speciality pizzas on its menu.