Big Mama's & Papa's Pizzeria sates appetites with a slew of handmade pizzas, fresh toppings, and casual Italian fare at 17 Los Angeles–area locations. Menus vary by location, and include specialty pies such as the garlic-chicken pizza or a build-your-own-calzone option that supplies more than 40 toppings to stuff inside freshly made calzone dough. Gluten-free and whole-wheat crusts address dietary preferences, and catering service transports piping-hot morsels directly to birthday parties or traffic-court dates. Customers can also pick up a free birthday pizza on the day of their birth.
The specialists at Fratelli's New York Pizza craft pies in true Big Apple fashion. And true to the literally gigantic fruit that city is named for, they don't skimp on the toppings. The signature Fratelli arrives loaded with pepperoni, sausage, and meatballs, while the eggplant pizza piles on flavor with breaded veggies and ricotta cheese. But the marinara-phobic need not worry—dozens of other items populate the eatery's casual Italian menu. Classic pastas, thick hero sandwiches, and crisp salads can also fill tables. And to insure convenience, every mouthful can be enjoyed in-house, or taken to go with carryout and delivery services.
At Riviera Calabasas, chefs draw from local, seasonal ingredients to create dishes inspired by Italian, French, and Spanish cuisine. They even add Asian and South American twists. The result is a menu that features recognizable pillars, such as pasta, steaks, and fish, decorated with delicious flourishes. Chefs coat tender fillets of Scottish salmon in a crisp potato crust, garlic-infused lobster sauce, and vegetables that are seasonal—like freezing rain in winter or falling down despite wearing a classy outfit in winter. And Riviera Calabasas brings plenty of class to the table: white linens drape tables, and earth-tone walls reflect the warm yellow light of fixtures hanging over black-and-white booths in the carpeted dining area.
A full bar showcases wines by the glass, imported and domestic beers, cocktails, and cordials, whereas Sunday brunch presents eggs benedict, a pancake bar, french toast, and breakfast pizza. The Riviera Calabasas team doesn't neglect its guests' health concerns, though—its alternate menu catalogs a slate of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.
Nunzio Donato Ciaraulo and his wife, Cristina, curate a menu of Old World dishes hailing all corner of Italy, from Venetian-style risotto to coils of tomato-kissed Neapolitan pastas. Though the offerings change regularly, diners can count on classics such as pizzas and pastas joined by a revolving assortment of roasted pork, tender veal, cooked-to-order steaks, and simmering seafood. Sweet teeth applaud louder than an ice-cream truck with subwoofers when they see the dessert menu, which lists traditional mealtime denouements including tiramisu, cannoli, and sorbets.
In 1993, a few entrepreneurs transformed the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building into an Italian restaurant. It became the first Buca di Beppo. The owners of that inaugural location soon found themselves riding a wave of popularity and marinara sauce as they opened new restaurants across the nation. Today, the eatery occupies 99 locations nationwide, from downtown San Francisco to Times Square, New York.
At each location, chefs maintain the northern and southern Italian flavors that made the original so popular, adding only a few American twists. They also supply family-style servings, which help make Buca di Beppo a favorite place for families and friends to gather in large, hungry groups. The chefs bake up batches of Cheesy Bread Florentine, a colorful combo of spinach, roma tomatoes, and garlic sprinkled over Italian bread and sealed in place with fresh, melted cheeses. For entr?es, they prepare dishes with an eye toward quantity, both of portion and choice; they whip up Veal Parmigiana, Baked Ziti, and classic Italian-American staples like Ravioli and Lasagna. And in keeping with the convivial atmosphere, they also serve truly decadent desserts. Their Mt. Vesuvius Dark Chocolate Cake erupts with melted chocolate, and their Colossal Brownie Sundae towers with six scoops of ice cream and tiers of sundae trimmings.
By the age of ten, Mulberry Street Pizzeria owner Richie Palmer already had some game in the kitchen. He could make mashed potatoes, meat balls, and marinara sauce?all thanks to techniques and recipes he learned at his mother's side. He always knew he was destined to open a restaurant, he just didn't know where or when. Fate finally struck one night, when, out of curiosity, he peered into a boarded up bakery near his home in the Bronx and found it contained an old, majestic brick oven. A short time?and a call to an oven mechanic?later, he opened his first restaurant, Modern Pizzeria, to great success.
Fate would strike again during a visit to LA, when an old friend convinced Richie to bring his business model?and his mother's marinara recipe?to the west coast. Mulberry Street Pizzeria opened in 1992, and since then, the franchise has grown to encompass four locations, each slinging slices of authentic NY-style pizza. Besides classic cheese slices, diners sink their teeth into pizzas topped with eggplant or chicken parmesan, barbecue chicken, or pesto and sundried tomato, and Mulberry Street even sells its pizza dough and sauces to-go, so customers can recreate their favorite pies at home.