BY: NATALIE LARIMER
Towards the end of the last school year I was very disappointed to see that Planet Sub had been removed from Dogtown and I was stuck with Jimmy Johns. But then something crazy and unexpected happened. A sign went up in the old Planet Sub window that announced that there would soon be a pizzeria opening in that space. Now, just in time for the beginning of the semester, Papa Keno’s Pizzeria, home of the slice as big as your face, is here.
I visited Papa Keno’s a few days ago for lunch and just got a slice to go to see what was up. Well, the slice was indeed as big as my face, and it was maybe the best New York style pizza I’ve ever had (counting all the pizza I’ve had in New York). I got the Mama Keno’s, which is roma tomato, spinach, feta, romano, and roasted garlic and I honestly think a little part of me transcended this universe when I ate it. It was also super cheap for a full meal. It cost me about $6.50 just for the slice and then it was a bit extra for the drinks I got as well. Basically, I was already sold.
But wait, there’s more. That night one of my roomates came back and wanted to go out to dinner. So where else would I suggest other than good ol’ Papa Keno’s? For the second time in one day, I walked into Papa Keno’s, and I was super pumped to try another specialty slice. This time I went for the Tuskeno, which has cream cheese, roasted chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and romano on it. And believe it or not, it was once again one of the best pieces of pizza I’ve ever had. Gusto Pizza is quaking.
Of course, we cannot embrace a new shop in Dogtown without making sure they aren’t fellow Bulldogs. So, upon my second visit to Papa Keno’s I made sure to pay attention to how they are supporting our school. I discovered that their bartop is the old Knapp Center court and it is accompanied by a plaque congratulating the Drake Bulldogs who have played on it. They also have a painting of workers sitting on a suspended beam eating lunch and they sneakily put Griff smack-dab in the center of it. Now that’s my kind of art.
This Papa Keno’s is not a stand-alone pizzeria, the brand actually started in Kansas. They have locations in Overland Park and Lawrence, Kansas and also in Kansas City, Missouri. But even if it isn’t an original pizza place, it’s so good that I don’t care. So next time you walk down University and wonder where you should go for lunch, make sure to stop into Papa Keno’s just to try it. If you hate it, you can blame me for the recommendation. If you love New York style pizza, then I am sure there is no way you could hate Papa Keno’s.