When it comes to local restaurants, our choices in Arkansas City are somewhat limited. But when it comes to pizza, our crust runneth over. And from what I hear, we may soon have a few more. 

When I was a child, like every other kid, I loved pizza. When our school cafeteria served pizza for lunch, we gobbled it down as fast as we could. Like a group of hungry sharks, we’d rush back to get seconds, even thirds if the supply held out. Two of my aunts worked in the cafeteria, and those ladies knew how to make pizza.

My dad was a dedicated meat and potatoes man. He grew up on a farm. When he was a boy, no one had ever heard of pizza. As a family, we once visited a Pizza Hut, and we never went out for pizza again. My siblings and I loved it, but Dad didn’t care for it.

During my high school and vo-tech years, I ate enough pizza to choke a rhinoceros. It was nothing for me to order a large pizza and eat it all by myself. About an hour later I was ready to visit the local Dairy Queen for a small desert, usually a banana split. 

 But today, I eat about four slices of pizza and then I am stuffed. 

As an adult, I have grown tired of pizza. I enjoy going out for pizza once in awhile, but for the most part, I’d rather have something else, almost anything else. 

Looking back, it seems that every time I got together with a group of people, we always ordered pizza. I have lost count of the number of business meetings, parties and church functions where pizza was served. 

According to recent reports, it appears we may soon have three new pizza places in Ark City. I am very happy to see new businesses wanting to locate here. I hope our community gives them a warm reception, and that they will find a permanent home in our city. 

I doubt I will be a frequent customer, but it does give me a great idea.

With so many pizza locations here, perhaps we can turn it into a special attraction to bring people into our city. We could bill ourselves as the Pizza Capital of Kansas. When tourists come to visit Etzanoa, we can direct them to a self-guided tour of our pizza vendors. 

This really could work. 

First we’ll need to rename Summit Street.  Perhaps we can call it Pizza Avenue. We could also rename some of our other major streets. We could have Pepperoni Parkway, Anchovy Avenue, Beef Boulevard, and name other streets for specific pizzas or restaurants. 

This could really put us on the map.

Some communities have a welcome wagon that brings gifts to new residents. I think we should have a pizza patrol to bring a nice hot pizza to those who move into our community. 

We could even build a new pool shaped and painted to look like a pizza. The possibilities, or should I say the pizzabilities, are endless.

Along with Arkalalah, we could have Pizzalalah. All of the pizza vendors could setup booths in Wilson Park. We could walk around and try the different types of pizza. The main event could be the crowning of a Pepperoni Princess, and she would then have a pizza named after her.

Afterwards, we could a have a special pizza parade.  All of the pizza places could have floats and bake pizzas as they travel down the street. That aroma would be wonderful.

Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea. And tossing out slices of pizza to the crowd instead of candy might not work well. 

Ok, maybe I am full of goofy ideas, but there is no denying the fact that we have plenty of pizza places to choose from and are about to get more. 

In Ark City, we can get pizza at so many different locations.  Casey’s, Love’s Country Store, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Speedway Pizza, Walmart and Dillons.  If that’s not enough pizza, don’t despair. Pizza Ranch, Pizza Inn, and Brother’s Railroad are hoping to start serving their own special creations here soon.

As I sit here thinking about pizza, somehow I find myself smelling it. How can that be? No one in the office is eating anything, and there is nothing in the microwave. I can smell the pepperoni and the bacon, and I can almost taste the hot, bubbling cheese. There might even be cheese in the crust. 

It smells so good.

Maybe I could force myself to eat a few more slices.


CourierTraveler reporter John Shelman can be contacted at (620) 442-4200 or reporter@ctnewsonline.com.

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