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Daily Slice: Original Pizza, Oak Park Mall, Overland Park, Kansas

Original Pizza, Oak Park Mall

A slice of "plain cheese" pizza at Original Pizza in Oak Park Mall.

I'm about to invoke that old cliché "you can't go home again". The catalyst: Original Pizza in Oak Park Mall, long regarded as "the mall" in this part of Johnson County, Kansas.

Me: Eighth Grade, Mildly GothI was a huge mall rat here in the late '80s (photo at right from my goth-lite phase, circa 1988), aimlessly walking the length of this place, from the long defunct punk-rocker hangout Taco Via at Oak Park's west end to the food court just outside Montgomery Ward on the east end. After a couple rounds and having hit the usual haunts — Merry Go Round, Chess King, Musicland — we often stopped at Original Pizza for a slice. It was one of the cheapest options that could still pass as "dinner," i.e., not cookies, not a Super Pretzel.

I remember it as one of my favorite slices in the KC metro area. Not too cheesy, crisp enough from the reheat, an array of add-on toppings available if I hadn't blown most of my money at the arcade near the JC Penny.

Original Pizza, Oak Park Mall

You know, it's still not a bad slice. It's New York–style, cooked in a Bakers Pride gas-fired deck oven, straight on the deck, not on a screen, as you'll often find with NYC-style pizza outside NYC. And the attitude there is pure New York. A surly crew still mans the joint, giving off the air they'd rather you go peruse blacklight posters at Spencer's Gifts.

There's some decent hole structure on this thing, and there's a nice balance among crust, sauce, and cheese. It's maybe a little too doughy, too soft, like a Domino's pie, but it's still crisp and fairly chewy. My only issue is with the sauce, which is too sweet and tastes like the generic, premade canned stuff you might find on a school cafeteria pizza or at places that don't bother to make their own flavorful New York–style pizza sauce.

After having eaten plenty of pizza with phenomenal sauce, the slice at Original was a bit of a let down and I left the mall a bit regretful that I'd tried to relive my pizza past.

Still, a lot of chatter on the local KC interwebs and Yelp lists Original as one of the best NYC-style pizzas in the area. D'Bronx gets a lot of props for good NYC pizza, but I'm still partial to Original. Then again, I haven't yet tried Italian Delight, at 81st and State, which gets high marks from local pizza hounds, too. I guess that's for my next trip home.

Original Pizza

Oak Park Mall food court, 11511 West 95th Street, Overland Park KS 66214 (map)
913-888-9301; originalpizzakc.com

About the author: Adam Kuban is the founder of Slice, where he has been blogging about pizza for more than 8 years. You can follow him as @akuban on Twitter.

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