Continuing the Italian tradition of pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice), Pizzeria Venti hand-tosses a handful of oven-baked, circular pies teeming with trans-fat-free toppings. Like a repertory theater, Venti's homespun crust acts as a stage for more than 20 pizza performances. The pillowy crusts are pedestals for varieties such as house-made italian sausage, seasoned with fennel, fresh basil, and herbs ($3.50 for a slice) or chicken vesuvio which touts a roasted breast of chicken, mushrooms, black olives and garlic ($4.75 per slice). Though pizza prevails as Venti's main attraction, the menu is also stocked with baked pastas ($6.50+), salads ($6+), and soups ($3+) to create a culinary lineup that is more well-rounded than a reconstructed Humpty Dumpty.
In the midst of ever-multiplying chain eateries, Gabriel's Pizza embraces its status as a mom-and-pop pizza joint. Though the restaurant boasts patio seating and exposed-brick walls, owners Charley and Allen Eisenmenger generally avoid frills and instead focus on perfecting a menu that brings together New York’s thin-crust pizzas and Chicago’s deep-dish pies. Their fresh dough never sees the inside of a freezer or kitchen igloo, and it takes on a whole new layer of taste when chefs coat it with the restaurant's signature sauce. They top specialty pies with USDA-certified meats and produce largely sourced from a Charleston vendor, gracing dough with accessories ranging from classic pepperoni to rich artichoke hearts. The chefs also craft entrees such as baked spaghetti and ravioli.
Pizza Hut opened in 1958 and continues to sling its famed hand-tossed-, pan-, thin-, and stuffed-crust pizzas alongside a menu of snack-ready eats. Aspiring pizza artisans can build their own pizzas ($3.25+ for a personal pan), choosing from any of the protein-packed meat toppings including pepperoni, ham, pork, beef, italian sausage, bacon pieces, and chicken. Use veggie toppings to augment a meaty meal, or craft a rounded garden cornucopia of mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives, diced tomatoes, and jalapeños.
Crowned Best Overall Restaurant by the Knoxville News Sentinel in 2010, Puleo’s Grille takes tongues on a whirlwind taste tour with its eclectic menu of Southern and Italian classics. Circle tooth wagons around scrumptious orders of fried green tomatoes partnered with a savory side of stone-ground cheese grits and country gravy ($6.99), or lay a delectable claim on Italian mainstays such as lasagna ($11.99) or artichoke- and caper-flecked chicken piccata, which gets its beauty sleep atop a bed of linguini draped in lemon wine sauce ($14.99).
Some of the tasty pizzas, calzones, and strombolis at Roman’s Pizza share a surprising secret: they’re free of gluten. A separate gluten-free menu sets even sensitive tummies to rumbling for pizza, pasta, and calzones made from the chef's special gluten-free dough, which is tastier than traditional dough whose gluten has been dipped in invisible ink. The standard menu spotlights a range of authentic Italian fare, including Sicilian-style pizzas and hearty lasagna.
Although the menu features perennial Italian favorites, the homestyle touches are what earned Savelli's Italian Restaurant recognition on Metro Pulse's Best of Knoxville list in 2011. In addition to creating their signature marinara sauce from scratch, chefs also prepare their own garlic bread and hand-bread each order of chicken parmesan. Before baking their pizzas, they load them with toppings from a list of more than 25 possibilities, which include caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and italian sausage. Though Savelli’s pours up frosty beers, they encourage guests to bring a favorite bottle of wine or decanter full of grapes from home.
After exiting the kitchen, orders make their way to a vibrant dining room, where cinched red curtains flank the windows, and tables perch on red linoleum flooring. Framed paintings adorn the neutral-tone walls, including one track-lit picture of an Italian village.
Fox's Pizza Den doles out piping-hot pizzas, specialty subs, and more, all made with fresh ingredients. The menu boasts an array of dough disks rolled out in a variety of. A simple 14-inch veggie pizza, topped with green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and black olives keeps it light ($15.99), and the 16-inch meat supreme ups the protein ante ($17.99). DIY enthusiasts can craft their own masterpieces with more than 28 different meat, cheese, and veggie toppings. Stromboli versions of every Fox’s pizza style take all the toppings, cheese, and sauce, and tuck it inside the crust, like a pizza turnover ($6.99–$12.99, plus $1 for additional toppings). Wedgies, available in a range of varieties, from steak to veggie to BLT, swap traditional sandwich bread for pizza crust, letting diners ponder the merits of triangular food fabrication ($6.99).