Something that came up a lot when I was working for a content marketing company was start-ups coming to us with solutions for problems that were not really problems. I’ll never forget this one start-up, (name withheld), whose product was basically “an app, but for laundry.” It wasn’t even purported to be “the Uber of laundry” which was a very popular pitch structure in 2014 (“the Uber of farm animals,” “the Match.com for tattoo removal”).
Not to inhibit any would-be inventors who might stumble on to the emo-rock blog of a thirty-year-old man and lose their grit, but some problems do not have elegant solutions that can come via the tech of the day. Call me short-sighted, but there is never going to be a solution for dirty clothing beyond washing your clothes, buying new cloths, or some kind of to-be-determined super-fabric that repels all stains and spills, never stinks and will make all of mankind look like harp seals. Until that day comes, we’re doing the wash, one way or another.
It’s hard to ignore the “solution for a non-problem” mentality when looking at Kono, the cone-shaped pizza. Here is what Kono has to say about itself, via its website – which, not to be petty, doesn’t look all that much better than mine:
“Cooked on-the-spot, made to order
Your favorite pizza ingredients
Hot to the very last bite
No mess- easy to eat
Healthy and fresh
Eat it anywhere, anytime”
Setting aside that this is less a mission statement and more a D- haiku, here’s what a Kono is: It is a pizza, stuffed inside of a waffle cone made out of pizza dough. Its very existence snuggest one of two things: That someone, somewhere, pitched the idea of pizza “without the mess” to a person of means and that person of means, being an easily-led dumb-ass, decided to back a small truck’s worth of money to make this ice cream / pizza inter-species sex crime a small-time reality, OR that someone, somewhere got very high, imagined pizza but, like, on an ice cream cone and decided to pursue that stoned dream once the kind bush wore off.
Either way, Kono is a stupid novelty item that has no reason to exist. It is also, I must report, delicious.
I ordered my first-ever Kono via a kiosk at the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey last weekend. Like any adventurous fatboy worth his salt, I had been eyeing the kiosk for a long time. One of my personal life edicts is to eat weird, bad-for-you shit anytime it presents itself, and Kono hits that mark square. Nothing about the initial ordering experience suggested I was in for a good time; the pizza dough cone was summoned from an under-counter case, filled with sauce and cheese, then put into its own special Kono oven that could probably be used to keep peanuts warm in a pinch. Everything about it was assembly line and personality-free, including the sullen teens that made all this happen for me.
Imagine my shock when I discovered that the Kono tastes pretty great! The crust is excellent; buttery and flaky without being heavy or over-done. The cheese is standard cheese, but due to the mysterious power of this Kono peanut-oven, it was melted all the way through the cone and even a little brown at the top. I love me some cheese crust. The sauce was a simple red sauce with a hint of basil, it gave a nice tang to the somewhat unremarkable, but functional, mozzarella. The sauce-to-cheese ratio was a little off, and I confess that I couldn’t stop feeling like the world’s biggest rube chomping down on my pizza triangle, but goddamn if the Kono didn’t satisfy me completely.
As far as insane novelty carnival food goes, Kono stands up as well as anything. Here’s what it is not, though; a replacement for a quick piece of pizza. Two Konos ran me about $9, which is at least $2 more than two slices of pizza would cost me. Even with that great crust, that cost isn’t worth it. Plus, I reject the premise that “it’s less messy,” as my fingers were as greasy and my mouth as sloppy as if I had eaten any other pizza. Some problems don’t have solutions.