After spending years working for Dominos Pizza, Vince Schmuhl decided that he could do a better job of preparing and delivering quality pies to people's homes. He challenged the nationwide chain's dominance in the region by founding the first Blackjack Pizza on June 29, 1983.
Although delivering oven-fresh pies within 30 minutes was still a major goal for Schmuhl, he emphasized the importance of quality ingredients using sauce made from freshly packed tomatoes as well as hand-tossed dough that never sees the inside of a freezer or cryogenic chamber. This dedication to quality and speedy service allowed Blackjack Pizza to not only survive, but also thrive over the decades. The chain now includes more than 40 stores operating in four different states.
In addition to offering seven signature pies, Blackjack Pizza also allows customers to build their own order from crust to toppings. A choice of up to four savory, tangy, and piquant sauces form the base, topped with any of the 3 available cheeses, 7 meats, and 10 freshly diced vegetables. Regardless of the toppings, Blackjack Pizza respects the potential danger of food allergies by ensuring that none of its pies ever contain traces of MSG, peanuts, or peanut oil.
Rosati’s Pizza's history dates back to the early 1900s, when a recent Italian immigrant named Ferdinand Rosati moved from New York to Chicago with the dream of opening a restaurant. His first attempt was modest—with Ferdinand simultaneously fulfilling the duties of chef, server, dishwasher, and host—but quickly gained popularity for its crispy-thin-crust pizzas, originally served as complimentary appetizers. Encouraged by the public's response to the pies, Ferdinand and his son, Sam, decided to focus their efforts on opening a true pizzeria.
Today, at Rosati's Pizza locations across the country, plumes of heat swirl above piping-hot pies concocted from handmade sauce and dough. A smattering of toppings cling to five crust options—crispy thin, double dough, Chicago-style, pan, and superstuffed—as well as hide from their hungry predators inside hand-rolled calzones. Homemade lasagna and fettuccine alfredo battle for the top pasta spot, and fried chicken, baby back ribs, and fried-shrimp dinners work together to distract diners from hard-to-resist buffalo wings.
Before they founded Double D's Sourdough Pizza, before they were married, before they'd even met each other, Ted and Cyndi were destined to succeed in the cheese, sauce, and dough business. Cyndi kicked off her pizza career as a teenager, and Ted transitioned from a delivery driver to a champion pie-maker, placing in the top three regionally in the World's Fastest Pizza Maker competition 15 years straight. So when they met in 1993 (at a pizza place, obviously), they knew exactly what they had to do.
The fruit of that union is a truly unique pizza joint, starting with the perfectly leavened, tangy crust. But that's only the beginning. Specialty pies find magic in defying tradition, with offerings such as the WoWee Maui, made with coconut, pineapple, almonds, and Canadian bacon, and the Loaded Baked Potato, zipped up with creamy ranch sauce, cheddar cheese, green onions, and bacon. Even when diners design their own meal, they're in for something special?they have an astounding range of sauces to choose from, including a spicy chili and lime, a creamy alfredo, and a sweet barbecue sauce.
For the last 50 years, Bova?s Italian Restaurant has created Italian meals. Now operating in a newly renovated space, they make every dish, including giant calzones, from scratch. Pastas, pizzas, and sandwiches present savory options for disparate cravings. And for the family who can agree on only two things?pasta and curfew?the menu also includes family-style meals until closing time at 9 p.m. Tuesday?Thursday and 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
CiCi’s Pizza combines the variety of a family-friendly buffet with the thrill of bottomless pizza. Each pie is crafted with dough made from scratch daily and then slathered with homemade marinara and showered with toppings ranging from traditional pepperoni and Italian-style sausage to creative combinations including buffalo chicken and mac 'n' cheese, resulting in more than 28 signature pizzas. The buffet is stocked with a plethora of fresh pastas, such as cavatappi noodles with classic marinara or Alfredo sauce, as well as fully customizable signature salads. After they've feasted on savory options, diners can revisit the buffet for dessert including freshly baked brownies, slices of apple pizza, and cinnamon rolls drizzled with icing—or they can eat dessert first, thereby tearing an irreparable hole in the space-time continuum.
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.