Family-Owned Gems

Pass the parm

I don’t know if you’re like me, but when I see a good fit, whatever it is, I usually buy two.

That’s exactly what Quillan Glynn and his wife Hillary did. They saw an opportunity and decided it’s better to have two Pizzabella locations than one.

So, on the heels of their successful restaurant in the Crossroads, the Glynns scoped out the corridors in southern Johnson County and settled on Mission Farms. Only this isn’t on the east side of the popular retail district, it’s on the west.

“Regardless, we’re happy with our locale,” says Quillan. “We just need people to turn their heads and look in our direction.”

Sounds perfectly plausible.

Over here, I have breathing room, get a seat and exhale. This shop features the same wood-fired ovens that are used downtown to bake the tender one-type-crust pizzas with a diligence that would make any epicure swoon.

Well, for that matter, the pizza here is not your average doughy-saucy-cheesy stack-up that many proffer as a good pie. This pizza excels with an ever-so-slightly charred, cracker-thin crust.

“We don’t do any gluten-free crust but we do use a little olive oil, fresh herbs, then a variety of toppings that you can actually taste,” says Glynn.

On a sun-stroked day, I had the Margherita — an ample round that can easily be split. The pizza was accompanied by another standout, the roasted Brussels sprouts. No turned-up noses, please. This is a treat. Roasted sprouts bathed in vinaigrette along with an assemblage of almonds, pancetta and cranberries turns this dish into “delish” instantly. It’s sort of sweet with a definite tang from the vinegar.

The surroundings are pleasant: charcoal-colored walls, light wood and a big window/door that makes it easy to imagine dining al fresco. And, if it’s not too blazing outside, go ahead and settle on the patio. Next time you’re on Mission Road, turn your head and plan on trying Pizzabella for a change. The places across the street can wait.


Outta da box –

It’s gourmet food to-go!

There are a lot of choices when it comes to lunch.

For those who troll downtown, hungry for something different, may I suggest an unassuming little lunch spot called Orange Box?

It’s not generally on my route, but that could change.

Scott Welsch’s dandy little place, situated in a residential neighborhood, is why. Welsch, a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef/caterer, is happily taking the lead with his own place after a stint working in the corporate world.

Inside the Box, a blackboard details the weekly fare. A broad selection of sides is available to accompany your order.

This is a lunch spot, so plan on making an appearance between 11 and 2.

Grab a soda from the cooler and then delve into good food with a twist. This is slow food done with a sense of purpose. Welsch designs everything from scratch — read: homemade. Waldorf and macaroni salad, tenderloin as big as a hubcap, fish tacos, curried chicken salad.

Chatting with Welsch, I learned that this chef is eager to bring good, fresh food to neighborhoods that rarely have it. He plans a second location in Waldo if the stars align. One can only hope.


Kitsch with a delicious kick

I’m still not sure what succotash is, but that hardly matters.

What does matter is the welcoming restaurant that bears the concoction’s name.

Not new by any means, I was a quasi-regular at owner Beth Barden’s breakfast place in the City Market. That location dissolved and moved to Holmes and 26th.

I have to say, I’ve never gone anytime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. when it wasn’t standing room only. If they would just ply us with one of those biscuits.

Forget it.

What drives me is the thought of the breakfast. The home-style cooking comes through, and there’s little chance you can stay awake after trying the flying saucer-sized pancakes.

Talk about carb-loading. It’s that or a half-dozen other entrees that are wildly popular.

Yes, it can be bustling. There’s a bar. The place is early funk with mismatched everything. No one cares. You’re here to eat, not critique the decor.

There are all sorts of goodies, but if you like lemonade — you won’t find any better.

I’m headed to Succotash right now. See you there.


4000 Indian Creek Parkway
Overland Park, Kan.
(913) 341-7700

Orange Box
2700 Jarboe St.
Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 756-5200

2601 Holmes St.
Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 421-2807

photos: Steve Puppe