Chef Kenny Bowers, of the eponymous Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill, Kenny’s Burger Joint, Kenny’s Smoke House and Kenny’s Italian, has added a new restaurant to his domain with the opening of Kenny’s East Coast Pizza in Plano. The new spot is near Preston Road and Park Boulevard, next to a recently remodeled Studio Movie Grill.
In a statement, Bowers noted that he’s obviously not the only pizza game in town but hopes to share the memories of pizza like he used to get in his native Boston.
“We wanted to offer an exceptional East Coast pizza in a laid-back environment with service second to none,” Bowers said. On our visit the day after the official opening, the service part is typical Kenny’s, which is to say good: The front of the house staff were on point in taking care of an already busy restaurant.
The new space keeps with what works at other Kenny’s location. Red walls, dark slate floors and wood trim highlight a clean, masculine design, with walls adorned with photos of friends of the restaurant. The space also sports a sizable patio, which has the misfortune of facing the setting sun, but offers shades to give patio goers a respite from the sun’s rays.
What exactly is “East Coast” pizza, you ask? Think more New York than Neapolitan, at least when it comes to the crust. When we asked our waitress, she explained that Kenny’s assortment of 14-inch pizzas are hand-tossed, then baked at around 650 degrees for 10 minutes in a Baker’s Pride deck oven. The crust is thin and gets a good char on the bottom, staying crispy enough that it doesn’t sag under the weight of the toppings. New Yorkers who expect a saggy crust that they can fold in half will be disappointed.
We tried the “adult pepperoni” pie ($16), which is like your childhood standby pizza augmented with “adult” toppings of mushrooms, basil, red onion and truffle oil. It’s a delicious combo, and the truffle oil is noticeable but not overpowering. A dozen other standard pizzas are listed, or diners are invited to build their own from a choice of veggies and proteins added a la carte.
After the assortment of pizzas, the rest of the dinner menu comprises “classic” entrees that would be familiar to patrons of Kenny’s Italian in Addison. Most salads and appetizers also carry over from Kenny’s Italian, but with a few unique additions such as a Greek salad, Philly cheese steak crostini or oven-roasted wings. There are also three dessert items not on the menu: tiramisu, cheesecake and a rich peanut butter pie that came with a graham cracker/chocolate ganache crust sure to strike fear in the heart of the sugar-averse.
On the beverage front, Kenny’s Pizza offers a modest assortment of wines by the glass and the bottle. There’s also a full bar that takes up a third of the interior space, and fans of other locations in Kenny’s empire will be pleased to know that chilled Grey Goose vodka still flows from the taps at the new joint. The bar was already a popular gathering spot on just the second evening of operation, as was the restaurant as a whole; there’s little reason to think that the popularity of Bower’s latest concept won’t continue.
Kenny's East Coast Pizza, 4701 W. Park Blvd. #101, Plano