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.
Tellico Grill specializes in comforting homestyle dishes such as tender pot roast and chicken pot pie. But it's not only the sumptuous flavors of these entrees that diners find comforting: it's also the quality of the ingredients they contain. The restaurant's chefs slice and dice organic vegetables, grill fresh fish, and roast grass-fed, hormone-free meats that are humanely raised by local farmers. In addition to sumptuous dinner entrees, they prepare breakfast and lunch specialties on weekends.
In the kitchen at Amigo Mexican Restaurant, it all goes back to the tortilla. After wrapping itself tightly around marinated and sautéed beef, chicken, or shrimp, the humble breadstuff reconfigures itself into myriad dishes from a menu of both traditional and inventive Mexican cuisine. Large tortillas bursting with beans and veggies welcome dollops of sour cream and cheese, whereas their smaller counterparts submerge themselves in enchilada sauce or embrace the buddy system as part of more than 30 combo platters. House specialties do occasionally veer away from the famous flatbread; the Guakimaki burger combines Angus steak with a healthy spoonful of the kitchen’s signature made-from-scratch guacamole. That same guac also enhances the flavor of traditional platters of golden chimichangas and flame-kissed fajitas. In addition to listing out prospective feasts, the menu also denotes low-carb options, which helps diners keep track of their nutritional intake while still eating like royalty.
Mark’s Downtown Diner's staff slings a menu of American-bred plates in a classic diner environment, replete with caricature-lined walls and a green-and-white checkered motif. Grab a seat at the counter or sidle into a booth before engaging hunger in swordplay with an order of mozzarella sticks ($5.79). Golden-fried jumbo shrimp ($11.09) further dining expeditions by leaping happily along palates, and forks effortlessly harpoon a 12-ounce Black Angus rib-eye steak. Diners seeking greener repast can graze on a house salad ($3.29), three-veggie plate ($4.89), or their dining companion's lime-green tie. The diner also features daily specials, such as Tuesday's homemade meaty lasagna ($7.99), and sweets such as fresh-baked cobbler pies ($2.29/slice) cap off dinners or power dessert-fueled jetpacks for hovers home.
The Heartland Grill’s deft chefs nimbly assemble leaning towers of protein out of half-pound Choice-beef patties, fluffy buns, and a mélange of savory toppings. The All American burger ($5.95) arrives tableside to peals of patriotic fanfare, marching with cheddar cheese and traditional toppings next to a french-fry diorama of Washington crossing the Delaware. The mushroom-swiss burger’s ($6.95) savory sauté conjures memories of autumnal mushroom hunts, and the barbecue-bacon burger ($6.95) doubles up on the meaty munchables beneath a healthy slather of toothsome sauce. Mix and match a pair of burgers with a dining companion, or practice for upcoming taste-tester auditions with blindfolded bites of two personal sandwiches.