Though they're both made from scratch daily, the two house sauces at Notini's are quite different. One is a plain tomato sauce, rich and ready for pouring over meatballs and Italian sausage. The other is a white alfredo sauce, meant to be mixed with fettuccine and meats such as chicken and shrimp. These family recipes define many of the dishes on the menu—a compilation of classic Italian foods that was created as an homage to the original Notini, Antonio.
Originally from Barga, Italy, Antonio Notini worked in the restaurant industry from the time he immigrated in 1909 until his retirement in 1960. Today, his son and grandsons manage Notini's with a deference to family tradition. They prepare po' boy sandwiches, pastas, and specialty pizzas to go with their signature sauces, and they serve up mint-spiced tea both by the glass and the take-home gallon. Weekly specials reward returning visitors with deals such as all-you-can-eat spaghetti on Wednesdays, which is otherwise only available if you hide out in their kitchen until after closing time.
Pietro’s has baked hand-tossed New York–style pizza, calzones, and hot sandwiches in a stone gas oven for more than 30 years, each hand-crafted from secret Sicilian family recipes. Oven-baked steak and cheese sandwiches taunt tasteless rulers with 12 inches of deliciousness ($7.99), and three-cheese spinach calzones turn and fold the doughtables on regular pizzas ($6.49). The eatery employs 100 percent whole milk mozzarella in the construction of each specialty pie, such as the Hawaiian luau pizza, a festive mouth mingler with juicy pineapple and baked ham in a bubbling blanket of mozzarella cheese ($15.99 for a 14”; $19.99 for an 18”). Patrons are also free to itemize pizza by the slice, minimizing leftovers and risk of marinara audits.
The Cotton Boll Grill, a Shreveport tradition since the 1930s, offers an eclectic menu of down-home breakfast and lunch favorites. Begin your day with a hearty vegetable omelette ($5.70), three pieces of homemade french toast ($4), or a full stack of hot cakes ($5). Classic lunch munchies include burgers ($3.70–$5.75), deli sandwiches ($3.50–$5.00), Southern-style chicken livers and onions ($7.35), and chicken fried steak ($7.95). The Cotton Boll Grill also offers daily lunch specials. The Bossier City location is open seven days a week, while the Shreveport location is open weekdays only.
Which Wich offers a hands-on ordering approach that allows sandwich savants to tailor more than 50 sandwich combinations ($5.10 for 7" sandwich, $7.10 for 10.5" sandwich). The brown paper bags are both ordering form and sandwich cozy, and can serve as a doodling canvas to proudly display on the community wall, sealing the paper-bag circle of life. Diners can choose sandwiches such as the turkey pastrami, beef cheesesteak, shrimp po' boy, black-bean patty, spam, or the Elvis Wich, which crowns sandwich bread with kingly portions of peanut butter, honey, and banana. Noshers on the run can opt for a box-lunch sandwich, which arrives with an entourage of Which Wich's signature potato chips and freshly baked cookies ($7.50).
The popular sandwich franchise offers an expansive selection of speedy snacks, including soups and salads. For a trimmer take, try a Torpedo or Bullet ($3-$4), where longer, leaner baguettes get packed with yummy stuffings, such as mozzarella, turkey, and basil pesto in the Pesto Turkey or heaping stacks of meat (ham, salami, capicola, pepperoni) in the Italian. Other sliced bread standouts include sammies (flat bread), signature subs, and classic subs. View a complete menu here.
Celebrating its seventh anniversary in August, El Mariachi’s family of epicureans crafts authentic Mexican meals with fresh ingredients and traditional recipes. Tables can devour complimentary bowls of chips and hot sauce while ordering meaty plates of carne asada ($12.95) or beef chimichangas ($9.25) to fuel a night of gossiping about the sun behind its back. Enchilada-bound shrimp don tortilla bathing suits before diving into pools of homemade chili sauce ($8.95), and pairs of hungry diners can fill the fajitas for two with a simple choice of chicken or beef ($19.95), reaching a détente as their stomach growls subside. Lunchtime visitors can dress a tamale and a taco ($5.75 for both) in one of seven sauces, including cheesy queso, chocolatey mole, or spicy ranchero. With a casual atmosphere and a kids’ menu of tacos and burgers, El Mariachi makes an ideal pit stop for families and salsa-fueled racecars.