When it's not hosting weddings and other monumental events in its elegant banquet hall, Villa Nova treats everyday diners to a taste of celebration with a menu of traditional Italian cuisine served in its dedicated restaurant. Beneath the dark beams of a vaulted ceiling, diners cozy up to white-clothed tables to savor steaming platters of saucy pastas, veal and chicken parmigiana, and pizzas adorned with traditional toppings such as tomato and basil or modern ingredients such as barbecue chicken and emoticons. Guinness and Blue Moon pour from taps in the softly lit bar, where drink specials and arcade games keep revelers entertained into the night.
The chefs at Michael Anthonys Pizza sprinkle more than two dozen ingredients atop pizza crusts to ensure that no taste buds are left unsatisfied. Toppings include pineapples for those who love sweet things, jalapenos for those who love spice, and Canadian bacon for those who love a good John Candy joke. While thin crust, pan, and stuffed pizzas bake to a golden finish, the chefs busy themselves layering cheese and sauce with lasagna noodles or slathering barbecue sauce onto full or half slabs of baby back ribs. A number of sandwiches also festoon the menu, including housemade Italian beef and char-grilled Italian sausage on fresh baked French bread.
Even if Gulliver's ovens went cool and the warm-weather chatter on its back patio went silent, visitors would still be drawn through the unassuming fa?ade to witness the sights inside. Dozens of antique lamps from the 19th and early 20th centuries hang from the walls, casting a delicate light on the restaurant's cozy, wood-and-leather interior. Fortunately for hungry patrons, the kitchen continues to operate 47 years after its founding, quieting stomachs' growls with its take on Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.
After slapping a mound of their housemade dough into the pan, chefs carefully contour the crust to leave thick, chewy edges and a thin, golden bottom?a tasty compromise for lovers of thin and thick pies. Next, layers of cheese, fresh veggies, and meats such as ham and homemade sausage form a base, covered by a zesty garlic sauce that earned praise from the Chicago Reader. Thin- and stuffed-crust pizzas round out pie offerings, and a tasty cornucopia of Italian soups, sandwiches, and entrees sates pizza-averse diners.
As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments.
In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.
The chefs at Mr. G's Restaurant work from an extensive menu of house-made American comfort fare. All day, they dole out classic breakfast dishes such as omelets, skillets, and waffles, sating early risers, late risers, and seasonal hibernators. For lunch and dinner, the chefs adorn thin-crust pizzas with fresh meats and vegetables and make sandwiches cushioned by onion rolls and seven-grain bread.