For more than 30 years, the pizza makers at Ray's Pizza have been hand-tossing and baking pies that hearken back to old-world Italy by way of New York. Their food can satisfy appetites for both thin- and thick-crust pizza with Neapolitan- and Sicilian-style slices, and curb Italian-food cravings with hot hoagies and pasta dinners. The Scottsdale location's interior is as warm and welcoming as the pies, with TVs, brick-covered columns, and archways that invoke a rustic, European vibe—like a palace painted light brown with cappuccino. The Glendale restaurant, on the other hand, boasts a full-length mural depicting the New York City skyline.
The oven at Papa Kelsey’s Pizza & Subs works a double shift. The family of cooks in Papa Kelsey's kitchen not only sends pizzas into the fire, but also bakes all 17 of their hearty subs until the bread is lightly toasted and the cheese melted. An expansive menu lists the handheld creations, from a classic ham, cheese, and salami stack to the Cowboy Cut, which is piled high with barbecue sauce, sliced steak, and hot peppers. Seven specialty pies rise from the flames, including the plain and simple garlic pizza—which foregoes classic sauce for a brushing of pure olive oil—and Papa Kelsey's Special crowned with ham and italian sausage. Though known for its pizza and subs, the kitchen also crafts meat-packed ravioli, crispy calzones, and green beans appealing enough to coax diners to eat vegetables that haven't been hidden inside a chocolate cake by their parents.
After four decades dazzling diners in Chicago with hearty Italian fare, Salerno's opened the doors to its first Arizona location, allowing the smells of saucy pastas and cheesy pizzas to waft out. The menu showcases classic Italian fare, such as veal scallopini ($20.75), lasagna ($13.50), and zucchini parmigiana on a bed of beckoning pasta ($14.75). Salerno's also serves a selection of sandwiches ($6.95–$8.95), topping-packed pizzas ($7.85 and up), and a kids' menu for the pint-sized and adults wearing Haley Joel Osment masks.
If you’re tired of Arizona's desert landscape, blame the Flancer goat. Legend has it, the greedy little guy saw Arizona’s once lush land and greenery as a personal buffet—he ate and ate until the landscape became barren. And though he's now extinct, it is said that the goat's shadow can be seen running through the café with a satisfied grin on his face.
Lucky for hungry Arizona natives, Flancer’s manages to offer a robust, diverse menu despite its desert location. Sandwiches are built on made-from-scratch breads that are baked throughout the day. They come stacked with unique flavor combos such as filet mignon and caramelized onions, or chicken breast marinated with prickly pear.
Owner Jeff Flancer claims you won’t find the café's bruschetta anywhere else but Flancer’s. The appetizer comes with breaded goat cheese, basil, and tomato piled atop baked-to-order crouton bread. With innovative food offerings such as this, it’s no wonder the restaurant claims to have been "rockin' taste buds" since it opened in 2000.
At Christina's Italian Restaurant and Bar the herbaceous aromas of fresh-baked calzones and lasagna waft around tables checkered in red and white and into nostrils around an outdoor patio. Drawing on family recipes refined by three generations of Sicilians before her, owner Christina Curley oversees a menu of authentic dishes such as seafood frutti di mare. In the kitchen, cooks assemble dishes from fresh-made dough and sauces made onsite by resident Sicilian grandmothers. On plates, chicken and broccoli join mozzarella inside a golden-brown calzone pocket infused with a garlic white-wine sauce, while steak tip au poire swims in garlic, tomatoes, and white wine.