It's all in the name at Pronto Casual Italian, where the kitchen staff puts a fresh spin on fast food. Every day before customers arrive, the cooks are busy preparing New York?style thin-crust pizzas, stromboli, spaghetti with meatballs, chicken parmesan, and breadsticks. The results of their hard work are then displayed before their patrons, who pass by behind a glass divider and customize their meals with the point of a finger.
Fat Billy's pizza-crafting professionals sate hungry hoards with an extensive menu of saucy spheres, meaty entrees, and dough-swaddled sandwiches. Muffle the moans of stomach-dwelling teenaged turtles with a starter of breaded mushrooms ($2.99) before tongue diving into a cheese pizza ($5.99 small, $11.99 extra large)—customizable with an array of toppings ($.99–$2.99 each)—or one of the many specialty pies ($9.99 small, $15.99 extra large), such as the philly cheesesteak or the barbecue-soused baja chicken.
Like any great Italian meal, made-from-scratch dishes at Spaghetti Warehouse are created from family recipes passed down for generations. Using fresh ingredients ranging from ricotta, romano, and mozzarella cheeses to house-made tomato sauce and Italian sausage, chefs labor for up to three days to prepare batches of their 15-layer signature lasagna from scratch. The menu also offers perfectly al dente pasta, bottomless soups, and 12-layer chocolate cakes to share with family and friends.
It?s that feeling of togetherness that people love about Spaghetti Warehouse, a feeling that is only enhanced when the drinks start flowing and the air is punctuated by the sounds of laughter as kids play retro games, such as The Claw prize-grabbing machine. To reach their table, guests commonly have to step through two doors: the front door of the restaurant and the door of the antique trolley parked inside. Since its inception in 1972, the Italian eatery has merged the functions of kitchen and museum. Artifacts such as grandfather clocks, factory flywheels, and circus billboards surround diners as they delve into Italian creations.
At age 14, Michael Kidd and Cristopher Malita worked side-by-side at a local pizzeria and dreamed about what they might do differently if they owned one themselves. Today, more than 10 years later, they put their ideas into practice at Pudgies Eatery. The pair builds each pizza on a handmade crust rendered more flavorful by a special blend of rosemary and spices. Their roster of specialty pies includes the Pulled Pudgie pizza with barbecue sauce, pulled pork, cheddar, and onion, as well as the chicken bacon ranch pizza with white sauce and tomatoes. Instead of pitching them into a catcher's glove, the cooks toss chicken wings into housemade sauces ranging in flavor from Mississippi mustard and garlic parmesan to hot teriyaki. The kitchen team rounds out the menu with sub sandwiches stuffed with philly steak or meatballs and soft, fresh baked cinnamon rolls.
The DeCheco family feeds the masses that swarm into their pizzeria with from-scratch recipes. Their most popular pie combines creamy garlic sauce with tomatoes, banana peppers, black olives, and a smattering of herbs. Other creative endeavors include the chicken-bacon-ranch pizza with jalape?os and the potato pie topped with potatoes, sour cream, bacon, and green onions. Beyond pizzas, the chefs cook up hot wings, meatball sandwiches, and garlic breadsticks that can be dunked into marinara sauce.
Formerly known as Casa Mimi, Casa Perfetto has served up family-style Italian cuisine since 1967, when Frances and Antimo "Mimi" Perfetto opened the restaurant with brother and chef Giuseppe Perfetto. Originally determined to become the first pizzeria shaped like a Jetsons house, Casa Perfetto has trained its focus on Italian comfort food that sings gentle ninna nannas before tucking diners into sheets of warm lasagna. The menu reads almost like a family album, with photos of relatives adjacent to their favorite dishes, like the pasta Caruso, a heaping dish of chicken livers, mushrooms, and marinara sauce over cappellini ($14.95). Fluffy pillows of handmade gnocchi come tossed in carbonara, sprinkled with mozzarella and flanked by tender meatballs ($14.95). Fresh chops and seafood can be had for $14.95–$29.95. Picky eaters will appreciate pasta alla vostro gusto (pasta to your taste, starting at $9.95), which lets them combine cappellini, linguine, or rigatoni with their choice of sauce, vegetable, and meat options to build the ideal pasta mate.