Numero Uno Pizza has been cheesing up Chicago–style deep dish and spinning out New York–style pies since 1973. The pizza spot's menu, brimming with eight specialty pizzas ($14.95+ for a medium), travels from the shores of Hawaii with pineapple chunks and canadian bacon to the sands of Santa Fe with smoky barbecue sauce and chicken breast. Pie aficionados orchestrate their own masterpieces from a choice of crusts ($4.95 for a 7” individual) lavished with a selection of 20+ toppings such as feta cheese, pepperoncini peppers, and artichoke hearts ($0.75–$1.95 each). Diners can close the hatch of a genoa-salami-and-cheese submarine ($8.95 for a footlong) and venture into the depths of the ocean, or climb up mountains of triple-chocolate Blackout cake ($4.95) in search of glory and napkins.
In 1993, the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building was transformed into an Italian restaurant, becoming the first Buca di Beppo. The owners soon found themselves riding a wave of popularity and marinara sauce as they opened new restaurants across the nation. Today, the eatery occupies 97 locations nationwide, from San Francisco to Times Square.
At each location, chefs maintain the northern and southern Italian flavors that made the original so popular, with a few American twists. Then they serve it up in massive, family-style portions, making Buca di Beppo a favorite place for hungry families and groups of friends.
For starters, 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. Entr?es are prepared with an eye toward quality and quantity, both of size and selection, complete with 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. The Mt. Vesuvius Dark Chocolate Cake erupts with melted chocolate, and the Colossal Brownie Sundae towers above other sweets with six scoops of ice cream and tiers of sundae trimmings.
When catering parties and special events, Roma Italian Deli's staffers enter hoisting trays of sandwiches, cannolis, and tiramisu. At Roma's sit-down eatery, visitors can have a tasty party of their own in the dining room or outside on the breezy patio. The menu begins with an antipasto salad layered with cold cuts, fresh veggies, and a blanket of Italian dressing. Hearty subs stuffed with meats, such as genoa salami or prosciutto, furnish bellies alongside a choice of soup or salad, while fettucini noodles tossed in creamy marinara sauce serve as a bed for grilled sausages or an ugly wig for freaking out blind dates.
“It's the best pizza I’ve found in Los Angeles,” says comedian and recognized Italian Ray Romano about D’Amore’s Pizza. He’s not the only star to fall for the authentic slices: owner Joe D’Amore has shipped his cracker-thin crusts to destinations across Hollywood, including the set of Two and a Half Men and Jennifer Garner’s house. Whether he’s serving an A-lister or the average hungry citizen, Joe bakes all of his cheesy treats to-order inside a stationary brick oven or an innovative oven on wheels.
D’Amore’s traditional methods and tempting taste are a family legacy. Born and raised in an Italian family in Boston, Joe D’Amore grew up savoring his grandmother Mommanonna's handmade pizzas—a meal he would miss upon moving to California. Joe asked his grandmother to join him out west and show him the secrets to her trade, but when she pulled the pie out of the oven, something wasn't quiet right. Mommanonna immediately knew that the California water was sabotaging her famous cracker-thin crust, and urged Joe to bring water from Boston. Today, he takes the practice a step further, importing water from Italy along with olive oil, flour, and pizza wheels carved by Michelangelo.
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.