With a signature pizza size called the Monster, you’d expect Pudge Brothers Pizza to be more focused on quantity than quality. But in fact, the chefs create their signature varieties of hand-tossed pies by blending together the flavors of three sauces, a range of meats, and fresh veggies. From within sizzling ovens, chefs pull out creations such as the Jersey Girl—a pizza featuring italian sausage and green peppers—or the White Delight—a ham, chicken, and garlic-sauce combination. Pies range in size from 10 inches to 18 inches, with a range of garlic bread, wings, and cinnamon bread to fill in a meal. The shop also offers delivery service, ensuring clients can have a hot, hearty meal when time is short or when the paparazzi won’t leave their front yard.
The staff at StevO's Pizza and Ribs doesn't waste time with maitre d's, valet parking, or by throwing away perfectly good clocks. They don't spurn these luxuries out of a lack of care for their customers, however; they feel time is better spent hand-tossing fresh pizza dough, feeding it into old-style deck ovens, and smoking fall-off-the-bone ribs and brisket over heaping piles of black walnut and oak. By putting their energy and resourcefulness into preparations and an emphasis on quality ingredients, chefs ensure each pie arrives fresh and bearing deliciously diverse toppings. They slather the pizzas with enhancements that range from traditional—bacon, broccoli, jalapeños—to exotic—mandarin oranges, mac 'n' cheese, peanut butter and jelly. Additionally, the pizza artists nail freshness by never weighing down pies with preservatives or artificial flavors.
Nonna's Chicago Bistro, named Best Italian in 2011 on Denver's 7 A-List, lures hungry passersby with a menu of Windy City–style Italian fare, more than 20 wines by the glass, and complimentary ciabatta bread with saucy marinara. The owners, a family of Chicago natives, dedicated Nonna's to their grandmother, whose passion for hearty, homestyle fare inspired their chefs to perfect such classics as chicken parmigiana, lasagna, and slow-cooked, Chicago-style ribs. Dinners pair with a glass of Italian Da Vinci chianti or a Californian 181 merlot, or assorted well drinks and domestic brews from the exposed-brick bar.
Nonna's Chicago Bistro's dining room provides guests with an elegant eating coliseum, boasting walls painted with grapevine designs and windows that welcome a breathtaking view of the Leaning Tower of Willis. The quaint eatery also fills ear canals with live music performed by jazz trios, classical guitarists, and country crooners on weekend evenings.
Starting at 5 p.m. each day, members of the Gilhooly family begin twirling doughy disks high in the air. These stewards of Oblio's Pizzeria then flick their creations into the oven and watch as the almost-tangible heat forms a 3-D platter complete with cheese, tomato sauce, and a bounty of toppings. Customizable pizzas come with one of three types of sauce—tomato, seasoned olive oil, or barbecue—and any of 23 available toppings, including canadian bacon, banana peppers, and salami. Specialty pies combine these treats into themed meals; the Giovanni features five meats, the Berkeley Blues has bountiful veggies, and the Santa Cruizin’ boasts Cali-inspired artichoke hearts and minced garlic. Patrons can watch all the action unfold, ogling their pies, lasagna, or meatball sandwiches as they take shape within the open kitchen. Those content with a little surprise can leave the cooking to the Gilhoolys and decamp to the sunny patio or sip luscious nectars from the vino bar as they wait.
It might be obvious, but basil is a signature ingredient at Basil Doc’s Pizzeria. The restaurant’s staff members use the green leaf for just about everything, whether its blended into their sauce, scattered atop their pies, and thrown at weddings if they run out of rice. Basil Doc makes their pizzas, calzones, and panino the same as they have since 1996, when the original location opened in the Washington Park neighborhood. The operation has expanded to include three additional spots, all of which exemplify Basil Doc’s philosophy of serving the freshest ingredients and minimizing their environmental impact. At each location, vegetables are sliced fresh daily, and sauces and dough get crafted from scratch to create specialty pies ranging from the Florentine, a combination of eggplant and spinach, to the Fargo, a white pie topped with grilled chicken, pine nuts, and green chiles.
To see all of the patrons at Watering Bowl, you can't just look around the bar. You also have to peek under the tables, where dogs of all sizes hang out next to their owners. But Watering Bowl isn't just a dog-friendly bar. It's also a dog playground, with a full fenced in, 7,000-square-foot dog park attached to the building. Of course, the bar has amenities for its human guests as well. They can sit at the bar and socialize over one of 12 available craft beers or grab a table inside to eat pulled pork sandwiches and artisan pizzas. The bar also hosts many events, whether supporting local dog rescues or celebrating milestones in a dog's life, such as his birthday or the day he finally rescues the treat from that kong.