Grinders is one of the lesser known diamond in the rough eateries in Kansas City. We first tried the pizza because it was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. We were hooked at once.

Grinders 1

Grinders used to be an auto parts store and is now owned by metal sculptor Stretch. So, needless to say, the decor is interesting. For example, some of the tables are also made to look like old pin ball machines. There isn’t a spot in the whole place that isn’t touched by art. The backyard of Grinders has HUGE sculptures and picnic tables that are a great way to meet awesome folks and giant dogs alike. There are concerts back there in the warm months.

The atmosphere is truly unique. Where else can you buckle your kid into a booth made out of van seats? Seriously cuts down on the squirming. More restaurants should present this option.

Grinders 2

The menu is crazy: you can get toppings like smoked salmon, tandori chicken, goat cheese, capers, anchovies, gorgonzola, shrimp, heart of palm, almonds and crab meat on your New York style pie. But our favorite is a classic pepperoni with “da bomb”. That’s right. There’s chili cheese tater tots in the middle of that pizza. With melted cheese whiz. For our international readers, you can go ahead and insert your favorite joke about fat Americans here. It might kill us, but we’ll die happy.

Grinders 3

We went with Harvey, one of our very best friends, last week. This time around we thought we’d brave the death wing sauce. But we didn’t actually order wings; we just tasted it on a toothpick (see the toothpick by the crab ran goon?). Licking that toothpick made us appreciate the heat challenges on Man vs. Food more; no way could either of us handle eating a whole wing. It was interesting how the heat moved from the tip of my tongue and slowly rolled to the back of my throat. And it felt different on my tongue than it did on my throat. Crazy experience.

I should also mention that I’m a bit of an idiot. I put my toothpick on my plate and a tiny bit got on my pizza (which was fine). But then I rubbed my eye. It burned for the next half an hour. And that was from barely touching the sauce and then barely touching my eye!

The sauce is made with habanero peppers (100,000 – 350,000 Scovilles), so tasting the sauce makes us appreciate all the more that many of the heat challenges around the U.S. use hotter peppers (some even use the deadly ghost chili- 1,001,304 Scovilles!). Yikes! We’d love to know if you’ve ever braved a habanero or hotter based sauce. How did you live to tell the tale?

Do you have a favorite local “dive” resturant? What is it like?