By the time he turned 17, Athanasios Chris Karamesines had already worked at several pizza places. He knew how they ran inside and out, which is why the young mogul opened his own pizzeria. More than 50 years later, his business has grown into a chain known for their fresh vegetables, all-milk cheese, and fresh, hand-tossed dough made in the Neapolitan style. Inside the Pizza Forum's wood or gas ovens, chefs bake signature pies topped with lightly sweet italian sauce and a combination of 23 different toppings including fresh mushrooms, roasted garlic, and meatballs. Garlic-butter breadsticks, calzones, pastas, and subs metaphorically round out the menu's literal corners.
The pie builders at Avilla Pizza and Subs construct fresh pizza dough and breadsticks on a daily basis. Specialty pizzas range from pies that cradles taco toppings or vegetables to pies that flaunt chicken, bacon, ranch, and complex understandings of Euclidean geometry. Eager eaters can take a delectable vacation to an oven-baked island with the hawaiian pizza, or invoke the aromas of an outdoor cookout with the barbecue chicken pizza. Blanketed in garlic butter and parmesan cheese, an octet of delicious, doughy breadsticks dives into a choice of cheese or pizza dipping sauces, and a 2-liter bottle of soda introduces palates to bubbles as flavorful as candy-coated bio-domes.
Founded in 1878 and operated by the Freeman family since 1948, the St. James Restaurant serves authentic German and American dishes in a historic building. Don your finest tweed suit and fake mustache and peruse the menu in the dignified ambience of the antique bar and dining room. The homemade chicken noodle or bean soup ($1.99 cup, $2.99 bowl) provides classic, satisfying options for diners who only take nourishment through a curly straw, and the hand-cut prime-rib options ($17.99 for 16 oz. King cut; $15.99 for 12 oz. Knights cut; and $13.99 for 8 oz. Queens cut). St. James also offers bona fide German dinners, including wiener schnitzel ($12.99), after 4 p.m.
Formerly known as Julie's Family Pizza, Magpie’s invokes four generations of family recipes to craft each of its savory spheres. Soak in the flavors from the ready-made, signature smoky barbecue-chicken pizza, featuring house-made barbecue sauce, chicken, onion, green pepper, and diced pineapple, or follow the spicy klaxon cry of the 5-alarm pizza, spangled with barbecue sauce, pepperoni, jalapeño, pepperocini, and crushed red peppers (9" for $13.28, 12" for $15.90, 17" for $21.60). Diners can careen dangerously roaring appetites into calmer digestive estuaries with a customized pizza outfitted in a variety of toppings, such as spinach, ham, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, anchovies, and chicken (9" for $7.20+, 12" for $9+, 17" for $13.75+). For an extra $4, the friendly staff can convert any pizza to Chicago–style, outfitting pies with a topping of extra crust, a layer of cheese, and a relaxed stance toward Prohibition. Magpie’s rounds out its fresh offerings with an array of crisp salads, tangy wings, meaty subs, and doughy breadsticks.
In 1952, Earl Myers and his son, Ed, built The Kitchen Table to create an eatery that combined hometown cooking with a friendly atmosphere. Now run by Rod Myers—Earl's grandson—and his wife, Mimi, the restaurant transports visitors back to the '50s with its original stools and countertop, which serves as a canvas for plates of classic diner fare and self-portraits painted in ketchup. Inside the kitchen, chefs simmer homemade soups, flip custom omelets, and transform ingredients into southern favorites such as country fried steak. They also serve smaller portions from a kids’ menu that, unlike the ability to see clowns, has no age limit.
Under the shadow of the Grabill water tower, Grabill Country Sales fills its shelves with a wide selection of groceries. Beside racks of spices and dry goods, flaky baked goods tempt sweet teeth with fresh apple and cherry pies or donuts made onsite. Their deli section is populated with turkey breast and sliced cheeses alongside carry-out side dishes, fish, ribs, and chicken cooked rotisserie-style so that it can be eaten from any angle.