The Ultimate Guide to Pizza

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

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Bruno’s  Italian Restaurant

Bruno’s Italian Restaurant
416 South Ave., Springfield, 417-866-0007,

Pies at Bruno’s start with freshly made sauce and dough that’s stretched just thin enough to create a perfect crispy crust when baked in the restaurant’s brick oven. Toppings are carefully distributed, having just enough presence to add a zip of flavor. Favorites include L’Affumicata with smoked mozzarella, smoked bacon, smoked chicken and mushrooms; and Alla Salsiccia E Pepperoni with mozzarella, homemade Sicilian sausage, pepperoni, onions, red peppers and chili oil (mmm, spicy). Although he doesn’t classify his pizza as any particular style, Sicily native and restaurant owner Bruno Gargiulo says it’s a hit. “People come from places like New York and Chicago, where pizza is supposed to be excellent according to American tastes, and say it’s some of the best pizza they’ve ever had,” he says.   Try This Pie: The Prosciutto Crudo with tomato sauce, mozzarella, imported Parma ham, mushrooms, olives, arugula and Parmesan cheese


Mama’s Style Kitchen
206 N. First St., Ozark 417-485-3330,

The crust at Mama’s Style Kitchen is possibly the thinnest New Yorkstyle crust we’ve ever tried, and that’s a good thing. Originally from Pennsylvania, owner Tina DeLong longed to serve up pies like the ones back home, and when she purchased this restaurant two years ago, it had the perfect recipe on file. Slices here come wide and flavorful, and the super-thin dough makes them go down rather quickly. Every pie is made with fresh dough, mozzarella and provolone and a well-seasoned sauce that’s carefully constructed within DeLong’s specifications: It can’t be too sweet or too tomatoey. The restaurant also serves another East Coast favorite: white pizza with a sauce of olive oil, garlic and oregano. Don’t miss the plethora of specialty pies including the Chicken Bruschetta, and come on a Saturday for the Eggs Benedict breakfast pizza. Try This Pie: The Muffaletta Pizza with ham, Genoa salami, pepperoni, capicola, slices of mozzarella and provolone cheese and homemade olive relish


D'arpino's Italian Cafe
3014 S. National Ave., Springfield,  417-889-9898

Growing up in New York, Mark D’Arpino learned to make a fabulous pizza. But the pies at his restaurant aren’t exactly like those in NYC. “Everyone calls it New York–style, but there’s a difference,” Mark says. “I couldn’t put a brick oven in, so they aren’t as crispy. I don’t call it New York–style pizza, but I do call it one of the best pies in town.” With just one bite, we think you’ll agree. Try This Pie: The PaPa Leone with homemade alfredo sauce, broccoli, chicken and mushrooms


Mcsalty's Pizza
McSalty’s on Battlefield, 1550 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-883-4324

The two McSalty’s Pizza locations have different owners, but the menus are the same. We love the thin wheat crust and homemade sauce loaded with a plethora of herbs and seasonings. The specialty Fools Gold pie comes topped with a sea of mozzarella, cheddar and provolone that’ll make your mouth water before you even take a bite. Try This Pie: The Crazy Italian with pepperoni, Italian sausage and onions (Editor's note: The Sunshine location of McSalty's has closed since the publication of this article.)


Arris’ Pizza
1332 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-881-7260

Arris’ Pizza serves pretty pizzas, arriving at your table with an adorably crimped crust that’s almost (keyword: almost) too beautiful to eat. The whole-wheat flour dough is made fresh at least twice daily and rolled out fairly thin before it’s topped and baked in an old stone oven. The sauce is also made fresh and flavored with garlic, basil, oregano and other signature spices. When it comes to toppings, Arris’ does two things extra-fabulously: the ground beef and the Greek sausage. “We get the meat fresh and put our own spices in it,” says Tani Kremer, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Joe, and her brother, Gary Whorton. One of the best ways to get a taste of that Greek sausage is on the Pandora specialty pie, where it’s served with black olives, bleu cheese, Roma tomatoes and pepperoni. Try This Pie: The Apollo, a sweet and sassy pie with Canadian bacon, breakfast bacon, pineapple, red onions and light jalapeños


La Pizza Cellar
3015 E. State Hwy. 176, Rockaway Beach, 417-561-4709

Truly located in a cellar, this restaurant provides a cave-like atmosphere to enjoy while eating your pie. It offers regular and thin crust pizzas, both topped with homemade sauce and mozzarella that’s grated from 20-pound blocks. “If you like everything, try the special,” recommends Sandy Stoddard, who’s been a manager at the restaurant for 15 years. The special comes with pepperoni, Italian sausage, onions, black olives and green peppers. Try This Pie: A grilled chicken pizza with bacon and tomatoes


Pizza by the Chef
8050 Business 13, Branson West, 417-272-8287,

The hand-tossed original crust here is described as “not too thick or too thin” by Gary Morris. Morris owns the restaurant with his wife, Sally, and they run it with the help of their daughter, Meredith, who is the general manager. The pizza sauce is made daily with fresh tomatoes and a super-secret set of spices. “There’s a spice house in St. Louis that blends our spices for us, and they’re the only ones who know the ingredients,” Morris says. Pizzas can come fully loaded, like the Chef’s Supreme that packs on 12 toppings and weighs nearly 3-and-a-half pounds. Others are a bit simpler, like the Hawaiian topped with Canadian bacon, pineapple and Mandarin oranges. There’s also a Florentine pie with garlic-infused olive oil, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach artichoke dip as sauce (yes, dip as sauce). Be sure to save some room for the streusel dessert pizza. Try This Pie: The Poulet with olive oil, barbecue chicken, red onions, mozzarella and cilantro


Mr. Bigg's
320 Park Central West, Springfield, 417-501-8906;  517 E. Elm St., Republic, 417-732-4667;

(Editor's note: This restaurant has closed since the publication of this article.) In June 2010, Jason Bebout started serving piping-hot pizzas inside a charming old house (yes, we said house) in Republic. Soon, pizza-lovers started piling into the residence-turned-restaurant to order up pies, and Bebout opened a second location in Springfield nearly two years later. Both locations offer two kinds of pizza: a thin, flaky St. Louisstyle pie that’s topped with a gooey provel blend and a gargantuan (18-inch!) hand-tossed New Yorkstyle pie that features mozzarella and freshly made dough. You’ll find anchovies and shrimp on the well-rounded toppings menu. Try This Pie: The Chicken Alfredo pizza that’s topped with a thick and creamy Alfredo sauce, juicy chicken, crisp bacon, mushrooms and onion.

Pie Surprise

You don’t have to go to a pizzeria to get a good slice—these local restaurants serve up some seriously delicious pies.

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