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.
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.
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).
Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Gianmarco began helping out at his family’s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Gianmarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three different types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon.
The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat’s kitchen operations, although these days he has considerably more help. Marco's Pizza has 350 locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh, never-frozen cheeses.
Colonel Eure opened his first pizza restaurant in 1964 and when time came to open another franchise five years later, he named it Gatti's Pizza in honor of his wife's maiden name. The Gatti's Pizza empire steadily expanded over the next four decades, thanks in part to a commitment to high-quality ingredients such as real cheese, yeast-risen dough made fresh daily, and a 16-ingredient secret sauce protected by Swiss bankers. Today, chefs prepare specialty pies such as the barbecue chicken and bacon double cheeseburger pizza and bake custom creations from a choice of 17 toppings and three crust options. Many Gatti's locations boast a dining room complete with a big-screen TV, and some include a Veggie Tales room, a sports room, and a game room.