In the mines of northeastern Pennsylvania, workers heave loads of clean-burning anthracite coal and ship them to businesses such as Coal Fire, where chefs scoop the same coal into their 900-degree ovens to bake pizzas and wings. Before baking the pies, the chefs hand-toss the aged dough, then cover it with one of three original sauces and thick, house-made mozzarella cheese, as well as only the freshest produce and toppings such as sun-dried tomatoes and pepperoni. Salads, pastas, and sandwiches feature homemade dressings and sauces. Outside the kitchen, servers slide across the polished floorboards, delivering platters of steaming pizzas and frosty drinks from the full bar.
At Mistero Bar and Italian Grille, it's easy to express yourself through pizza. The restaurant's make-your-own pies come with a choice of more than 10 toppings, from fresh mozzarella and tomato to pineapple and crispy bacon. When the chefs aren't baking custom pizzas in their brick oven or having recurring dreams about mozzarella, they're crafting other Italian delicacies: plates of penne tossed with crispy diced eggplant and goat cheese, for instance, or a seafood risotto studded with shrimp and crab.
American Flatbread makes its game-changing flatbread foundation using organic flour, which is topped with a fresh, locally grown assortment of veggies, meats, and cheeses. Each one is generally big enough for two moderate eaters or one hungry hippo. The tasty flatbread pizzas are born and blazed inside a primitive, wood-fired oven, giving them a delicious crunch and primal taste signature.
Though its name highlights one type of pasta, Scotto's Rigatoni Grill gives diners a veritable library of them. Spaghetti, penne, fettuccine, gnocchi, and housemade meat lasagna emerge steaming from the kitchen, which peeks into the dining room from an open window that provides a view of the chefs at work. Rigatoni specials still have a place on the menu, though: there's rigatoni with chicken and garlic, rigatoni with marinara and mushrooms, and the Rigatoni Carciofo—a medley of chicken, artichoke, capers, and wine in a lemon-butter sauce.
Diners can also peruse a list of veal and chicken entrees, such as the breaded pollo parmigiana, or select one of 15 gourmet pizzas. The Quattro Stagioni, for example, arrives dressed in olives, prosciutto, and basil, whereas a seafood pie boasts shrimp, clams, mussels, and mozzarella cheese painstakingly milked from tiny seahorses. For offsite dining, catering trays can satiate dozens of mouths with helpings of bruschetta and baked ziti.
Since the first iteration of Jerry's Subs & Pizza opened in 1954, the staff has overstuffed its submarine sandwiches to ensure customers leave sated. In their specialty sandwiches, traditional or honey-wheat rolls are lined with crispy chicken tenders or crabmeat babycakes, and cheesesteaks get a flavor boost from ingredients such as spicy buffalo sauce, crisp, fried jalapeños, and bacon. Diners can also break bread with a New York–style pizza topped with crabmeat, grilled chicken, or jalapeños. Inside, the restaurant's interior sports stainless steel and neon lights, bringing the classic eatery into the 21st century without strapping it to a DeLorean.
Each hand-tossed mound of house-made dough travels one of two paths at Sal's NY Pizza. Either it's packed into a square-shaped Sicilian pan or fastidiously kneaded into a Neapolitan-style thin crust. The latter can measure up to 18 inches, which cooks top with nearly 30 ingredients, including marinated artichoke hearts and Philly-style steak. Pies aren't the only customizable item at Sal's—the culinary team also whips up personalized pastas with fixings such linguini, sausage, and carbonara sauce. Sal's pizzas and pastas stem from generations-old recipes, though cooks also craft more contemporary dishes, including orders of up to 50 buffalo wings doused in hot sauce.