Papa John's has carefully curated a menu stocked with robust topping options to adorn blank pizza canvases. Unify bubbly discs under a blanketing of freshly cut roma tomatoes, or spice up bites with jalepeño peppers. The pizzeria imports its black olives from Spain's Herrara grove, where they peak in plumpness and accomplish astounding feats of international diplomacy before populating Papa John's pizzas. Meaty options such as grilled all-white-meat chicken, filler-free spicy italian sausage, and hickory-smoked bacon add layers of heartiness to slices, and reinforcing mozzarella with parmesan, romano, or a blend of asiago, provolone, and fontina improves the genetic robustness of cheese.
Flickering candles and a grand chandelier fill Sam's Ristorante's high-ceilinged dining room with a romantic glow. Graceful arches and painted landscapes foster a classic ambiance that carries through to the menu of traditional Italian cuisine. The kitchen crafts its own marinara sauce in house to add rich flavor to orders of veal parmigiana. Pasta varieties, including angel hair, ravioli, and fettuccine, tangle with morsels of seafood, veggies, and housemade italian sausage in specialty dishes. Sauces made with marsala wine and portobello mushrooms coat chicken breasts and center-cut fillets with more flavor than a spice-rubbed quilt.
Taylor Street Pizza dishes out succulent Italian-American fare in a family-friendly sports-bar atmosphere. Gather friends to watch a football game or an emotional rerun of the Airwolf finale while noshing on a bouquet of crusty breadsticks or a platter of spicy or barbecue chicken wings. A large handmade pizza arrives doused in Taylor Street's signature tomato sauce and festooned with two toppings, including options such as canadian bacon, anchovies, eggplant, and giardiniera. Sips of fizzy, refreshing soda clear palates and extinguish spicy mouth fires. Diners can indulge in their delicious bounty in a Taylor Street Pizza dining room, carry their meals home, or request for it to be delivered to the inflatable ballpit of their choosing.
The Exclusive Company—a Wisconsin-bred music-and-movie retailer—has given the gift of song since 1956, earning a Best of Milwaukee award from Shepherd Express readers in 2011. Passionate staffers guide visitors toward sprawling collections of rock and jazz and bins brimming with DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and loose 8mm slides from Kenny G's summer vacation. In addition to peddling new vinyl releases such as El Camino by the Black Keys and Revolver by T-Pain, the shop functions as a trading post, helping to find loving homes for preowned films and music. All used discs are carefully buffed into shape before meeting their new owners, and each comes backed by a money-back guarantee, which promises store credit if a preowned item exhibits biting tendencies. Most used CDs, DVDs, and vinyl cost less than $20.
Stewart Pizzeria's crafty chefs hand-toss their homemade pizza dough to create flat landing pads for fresh sauce, mounds of cheese, and myriad toppings. Each of their menu's personal pies ($5+), like a studio apartment, offers the freedom to arrange toppings however you'd like within 8 inches of personal space. Diners can conceal their pizza's bareness with a blanket of meats comprised of pepperoni and sausage ($1 each), or honor vegetarian vows with fresh produce including spinach, mushrooms, and jalapenos ($.50 each). Those who would rather leave pizza creation to the professionals can match their appetites against one of Stewart’s specialty pizzas, such as the recently featured hawaiian with home-style ranch sauce, ham, and pineapple ($7). Wash down the gooey goodness with a medium soda ($1.75) or splashes from your neighbor's sprinkler, and add chips or a cookie for a combo meal ($.50 with purchase of a drink).
For more than 25 years, the Salamone family has been feeding Rockford families from a menu of Italian cuisine made from Old-World recipes, including baked lasagna and bone-in filet mignon. Diners enjoy their meals in one of a series of connected dining rooms, which give the restaurant the feel of an inviting Old-World home. To complement the classic menu, Ricky, the in-house sommelier, uses his extensive knowledge of the restaurant's varietals to help guests pick the perfect pairing from a selection of chiantis, brunellos, merlots, and bordeaux. Guests can imbibe their spirits in the wine room or lounge.
Franchesco's also houses several private dining rooms, a banquet area, and a patio. Each area fills with laughter and bonding during special events including comedy shows, dueling pianos, and themed parties.