Monday, April 28, 2014

Phil Bourne and Waldo Pizza

SPOTLIGHT: When a Pizza Place is Not JUST a Pizza Place . . .
Phil Bourne and Waldo Pizza

I caught Phil Bourne, owner of Waldo Pizza, twice in the last week – once at his restaurant, the other time on the phone.  Waldo Pizza has long been a favorite of ours – and almost everyone else in the broadly surrounding neighborhood as near as I could tell.  I’ve never been to the Lee’s Summit restaurant (1543 NE Douglas Street)

The pizza joint has been there since 1987; Phil bought it on April Fool’s Day in 1993.  Originally from St. Louis, he’d been in the record business for a while, but his brother owned a casual restaurant and he thought it might be fun.  He started working at Waldo Pizza two years earlier – from dishwasher to delivery person to waiter before the original owners said they were tired of it and Phil made them an offer.

Since then, he has basically turned it into simply the kind of pizza place he would enjoy himself.  It’s St. Louis pizza – thinner, crispier crust, lightly sauced, slightly on the sweet side with, mainly, a different cheese – a blend of provolone and mozzarella with cheddar and Munster.  This gives the pizza a richer taste which Phil says people either love or hate.  Most popular pizzas?  No surprise here – the pepperoni or the combo (with lots of meats).

What’s cool about Waldo Pizza, other than the pizza pan lighting fixtures, friendly servers, full bar, and delicious pizza, is that it just has what must be called “quirks.”  For instance, you just don’t see salad bars hardly at all anymore, and Waldo’s remains in place.  It’s a small one, but everything is very fresh with some different flavors.  For instance, there’s his mom’s pickled beet salad, a rice salad, pasta salad, and really, all the fixins you need.  They make all their own salad dressings but one (the fat free honey Dijon) and they are well known for their garlic ranch dressing – and people seem very happy to pour that one on, eliminating the healthiness of the entire salad bar. 

Another quirk has to be Phil’s love of desserts and how the list has gotten longer and longer because he just can’t take his new-found favorites off the list.  The butterscotch pudding is one reflection of Phil’s home-life where dessert was usually served at the family dinner.  There’s homemade ice cream as well as Ted Drewe’s famous custard from St. Louis.  The number one favorite is St. Louis gooey butter cake, which even beats a very decadent chocolate dessert or tiramisu.


Phil says his greatest pleasure of his business is the same as when he was in the record business – being able to share something that he likes with other people, “bringing love to the customers.”  That makes up for the everyday problems which sometimes can seem overwhelming . . . until he sees, and serves, his customers and they’re ohsohappy with what they’re eating.  Then Phil is, too.

Waldo Pizza                                                          Waldo Pizza Lee's Summit
 7433 Broadway,                                                  1543 N.E. Douglas, 
 Kansas City, MO 64114                                      Lee's Summit, MO 64086
 816-363-5242                                                     816-875-2121    





        
Waldo Pizza on Urbanspoon


Waldo Pizza on Urbanspoon


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