At Uncle Vinny's NY Pizza, cooks decorate New York–style pizza crusts with nearly two dozen toppings that range from pepperoni and buffalo chicken to veggies such as broccoli and fresh tomatoes. But before layering on hearty ingredients, they can prep the crust with garlic and ricotta cheese or a drizzle of hot oil—a house signature. Alternatively, the toppings can join more classic marinara sauce or be tucked inside of a calzone or glove compartment before a road trip. After ordering pizza, hero sandwiches, or baked lasagna at the counter, guests can lounge at one of the tables dressed in a red-and-white checkered cloth or take their food to go.
Pasquale Giammarco moved to the United States when he was 9 years old, but his family made sure to teach him the merits of Italian-style pizza making. Giammarco learned by doing, working in his family’s pizzeria while he grew up, and when he became of age, he branched off to start his own establishment. He focused on making his dough fresh daily and creating his own sauce recipe and cheese blend. Though Marco’s Pizza has expanded from its flagship store to include more than 320 franchised locations, all of Giammarco’s standards remain in place.
Today, Marco’s Pizza has added to Giammarco’s original, pizza-centric menu. Now, diners also can opt for family-style meatball platters—served with CheezyBread that feeds up to four people—or steak-and-cheese subs. As for dessert, Marco’s has that covered, too: the cooks sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on fresh-baked dough, which customers can dip in vanilla frosting.
Since 1982, the pie architects at Simple Simon's Pizza have assembled casual Italian and American fare at 240 locations scattered across 10 states. Fresh veggies, quality meats, and blankets of cheese spread atop pizzas and fortify the golden-brown walls of Calizones. Breadsticks sheathed in even more cheese accessorize meals, and a smattering of mild-to-spicy wings helps to separate the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and the girls from the boys if they get too rowdy at coed canoe camp.
Among the oldest and longest-held single-family businesses in Kansas City, Pizza Shoppe began like many murder mysteries begin—during a dinner party on a dark and stormy night. Dick Ryan realized he was short on a key ingredient and decided to improvise, whipping up a pizza from what ingredients he had and baking it to a crispy crust. The first Pizza Shoppe pizza was born, with Dick's wife, Loreta, having the honor of the first bite. More than 45 years later, the pizzeria has expanded to 20 locations in four states, and its signature crispy crust has been topped by ever-bolder permutations of toppings. The Butcher Block emphasizes bacon and pork, while the BBQ Chicken accents its eponymous ingredients with pineapple, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese. Patrons can also paint their own dough-canvases with off-the-beaten-path ingredients that include corned beef, blue cheese crumbles, genoa salami, and dill pickles.