Short Order: Bono Keeps It Weird-and Still Makes Great Pizza

Kristen Schmidt
The Goddess pizza at Bono Pizza in Grandview

Weirdness has been an essential trait of Bono Pizza from day one. Its last home was inside a dingy carryout where customers had to step past an accordion-style security gate to get inside. Yet Bono Pizza routinely sold out of pies. People came for the exceptional pizza, its crust charred and blistered Neapolitan-style, with toppings veering from simple to outrageous. The place felt improvisational and joyful.

Several months ago, the carryout closed, and Bono found itself homeless. Within days, owner Jake Wilch had a handshake deal to move the business to the Heritage Apartments development off North Star Road in Grandview.

In true Bono fashion, the new location connected to 14 Twenty Bar & Grill is weird. For one thing, Cowtown Pizza has been operating inside the bar since owner Bobby Cooper left a storefront on Grandview Avenue. The two owners seem at ease with sharing one roof-their pizza styles are polar opposites.

Bono feels as idiosyncratic as ever: Credit cards are now accepted, but the menu and website are still rife with mildly randy references (the Monday through Wednesday three pizzas for $25 special is called the "menage a trois"). But the pizzas are better than ever.

It must be Wilch's new oven, which he crafted himself and built on a trailer so it could be hauled to remote events. The crust is more evenly textured than it was before-the bottom is crisp from the edges all the way to the center.

Among the 20 specialty pizzas on the menu, I return to a few favorites. First, The Hulk, smeared with pesto and fresh mozzarella and topped with a spontaneous selection of green veggies. If you crave bracing puttanesca pasta sauce, go for the Puttana, with Italian tomato sauce, capers, Kalamata and green olives, mozzarella, artichoke hearts and hot peppers.

Bono's menu has expanded, slightly, to include a few salads and a dessert pizza. But the pizzas are still the stars, and using tummy room for anything else seems blasphemous.