Wheat State Pizza impresses with quality toppings; missing dine in option

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I love pizza, but I’m also really picky. If the pizza oozes grease, doesn’t leave cheese strings after each bite, or doesn’t have a hint of garlic, I’m not a fan. It takes a lot for me to put a pizza joint at the top of my list.

Manhattan’s new Wheat State Pizza, located at 705 N. Third Place, jumped high on my list with their wide variety of quality ingredients but fell short of the top position due to a lackluster crust and no dine in option.

Wheat State Pizza, which has locations in Pittsburg, Lawrence, Emporia and Derby, was started in 2004 by Ryan Murphy, the son of a Kansas wheat farmer. The Manhattan location opened in early May.

The most obvious benefit of Wheat State Pizza is the large variety of crust, sauce, cheese and topping options. Chalkboards line two walls detailing the dozens of choices, including 14 speciality pizzas with names such as “The Hit Man” and “City Slicker.”

There are five size options, ranging from a 10-inch small to a 24-inch “gorilla pizza.” Prices start at $7.99 for “create your own pizzas” and $9.99 for speciality pizzas, and top out at $44.99 for the speciality gorilla pizzas.

It took me 10 minutes to decide on a white hand-tossed pizza with Alfredo sauce, chicken, mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese. My less picky lunch mate added Italian sausage, pepperoni and bacon to his half. With a coupon from their take-out menu, the large pizza cost about $14.

The pizza, which took about 15 minutes to get, ranked in the top five best pizzas I’ve ever had (Hideaway Pizza in Oklahoma takes the top prize.) The pizza wasn’t swimming in oil, and they loaded on the quality ingredients. The Alfredo sauce and layers of cheese were creamy and excellent and the chicken was tender.

My only complaint about the pizza was the crust. I ordered the white hand-tossed crust and it was rather unimpressive and flavorless. The white crust certainly didn’t ruin the pizza, but it didn’t add anything. To get the full Wheat State Pizza experience, try their wheat hand-tossed crust, which they are known for.

Wheat State Pizza also offers a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, calzones, desserts and non-alcoholic drinks. The prices range from $3.99 for salads to $8.99 for the calzones and sandwiches. The selection is slightly overwhelming, but if the quality of their pizza is any indication of the quality of their other products I am confident they are delicious.

As a first time visitor to Wheat State Pizza, I was surprised when it turned out to be a carry-out and delivery restaurant only. I expected it to be a sit down place, especially with their selection of appetizers and salads. Only offering take-out or delivery is a downfall.

The ingredients were a step above the average greasy late-night pizza place, at an almost comparable price. I suggest checking out their website at wheatstatepizza.com/manhattan to peruse the options before ordering because the options can be overwhelming. Wheat State Pizza doesn’t have a regular spot on my pizza joint rotation yet, but it has potential to be a Manhattan favorite. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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