Like its name, Wagon Wheel Restaurant’s menu and interior pay homage to simpler times. Tiffany-style stained-glass lamps cast a golden glow over hearty cuts of filet mignon, stuffed chicken breasts, baby back ribs, and the other unimpeachably traditional American eats that fill out the comforting, honest menu. As they dine, guests can relax, allowing their eyes to wander over the deep oxblood walls hung here and there with photographs and paintings of pure natural landscapes, wagering with their tablemates whether the images are real places or pictures fished out of Bob Ross’s dream catcher. Across from the dining area, distressed wooden posts and dangling metal steins highlight the spacious, u-shaped bar. Occasionally, Wagon Wheel plays host to local bands that perform classic rock or the kind of simple folk tunes that require at least one band member to bang a washboard against a drum.
Pizzas at Big E's Pizza & Wings come in one size: a hefty 18 inches. Cooks pile each slice with medleys of vegetables and sausage, or inventive ingredients such as baked ziti and eggplant parmesan. They prepare the All American Pie by topping it with bacon, french fries, chopped hamburger, American cheese, and onion rings, as well as by keeping one hand over their hearts and a single tear in their eyes. They also whip up non-pizza-related items, including eggplant parmesan, italian subs, cheeseburgers, and wings drenched in one of six sauces.
They maintain a BYOB policy, allowing patrons to pair the drinks of their choices with their meals, and kitchen staffers keep their ovens burning until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday night.
For more than 40 years, the LaMorte family has regaled diners with mouthwatering Italian meals that spotlight richly sauced pastas, juicy steaks, and ocean-fresh seafood. The fully handicap-accessible space charms visitors with its art-peppered walls, coral accents, and varnished wood. The sun-drenched patio showcases a dark wood bar and a wood-fired brick pizza oven. The restaurant's catering services banquets of up to 500 guests or two narwhals with family-style Italian fare and hot or cold buffets.
The seasoned chefs at Dinallo’s Restaurant craft authentic, classic Italian dishes from fresh ingredients. Gastronomical expeditions can begin with a pit stop at the full bar before sampling the spiedini alla romana, a cheesy bread served with butter and anchovy sauce ($9). The menu runs the gamut from traditional, hearty eats, such as the scaloppine di vitello al marsala ($24), to lighter fare, such as the insalata di rucola, with Gaeta olives, goat cheese, and roasted peppers ($9). The linguine con salsiccie gives guests the chance to enjoy a satisfying serpentine mix of Italian sausage and tomato sauce while pilfering bites from fellow diners' plates with a noodle lasso ($16). Classic white tablecloths, polished wood paneling, and wood floors set the scene for pescatorialists to appreciate their salmone alla griglia ($21).
Inside the Garden State Plaza mall lies a gateway to the past, where flickering flames illuminate the charred interior of an oak-burning pizza oven, and the aroma of bubbling sauce made with freshly crushed tomatoes mixes with wisps of Frank Sinatra's silky voice. The charm that surrounds the rituals of Italian cooking drifts into Papa Razzi's dining room from an open-air kitchen, where cooks bustle around steaming pots of pasta. The culinarians use only fresh and imported ingredients when cooking, just as Old-World chefs did before they took jobs fixing the cleaver-wielding robots that would replace them.
Behind a wood-accented, 15-foot bar, mixologists sling a list of libations that includes mimosas, sangria, and wines selected to complement meals. In the dining room, fresh flowers sit atop white tablecloths, and celebrity photographs line the walls, reminding guests of treasured nuggets of pop culture.
At Biagio’s Ristorante, chef Jimmy Perides bakes individual pans of housemade lasagna and tosses imported and gluten-free pastas that earned the restaurant its Zagat rating. He puts his own mark on the menu with the steak ala chef, a new york sirloin steak crowned with cherry peppers, roasted garlic, and shitake mushrooms. Servers deliver wines from a selection of 50 handpicked bottles, which are often uncorked at seasonal tastings or splashed around at annual “wine fights.” The restaurant’s robust wine collection won it a 2010 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. A gurgling rock fountain stands at the entrance of the restaurant, welcoming patrons into the main dining area and adjacent wine room, and a flickering fireplace casts a warm glow over terracotta walls.