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.
A kaleidoscopic range of colorful packages dots the shelves at A Gluten Free Frenzy, bearing labels from more than 300 brands including Udi’s, Pacific Natural Foods, and The Cravings Place. The knowledgeable staff helps visitors navigate an array of products, including nonperishables and frozen foods, all designed to add variety to shoppers' gluten-free meals. The expanding selection includes innovative wheat replacements such as rice, tapioca, potato, quinoa, teff, and sorghum. Alongside beers, varied frozen breads, granolas, and baking mixes beg to be included in meals. A Gluten Free Frenzy's café fills with chatter fueled by muffins, cupcakes, sandwiches, and pizzas, which can be crafted without the traditional layer of dairy products and pictures from the chef’s vacation.
Lauded in a review by the Journal-Sentinel, Vino Cappuccino invites guests to leisurely nosh on piping-hot pizzas, crispy flatbreads, fresh salads, and sip from the well-appointed menu of more than 100 wines. The California-, South American-, and Italian-heavy wine list lovingly embraces a few Wisconsin varietals, including the cheese-complementing Wollersheim white riesling ($7). Stomachs will persistently petition for the zucchini frites, long cuts of breaded zucchini served with marinara and garlic aioli ($5.99). Lunchtime loungers can snack on the roasted-beet salad, which mixes spring greens with goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and white-wine vinaigrette ($12.99). Satiate cravings for mushrooms with the portobello sandwich, a ciabatta roll bloated with grilled portobello, provolone cheese, spinach, onions, tomato, and garlic aioli ($7.99). End your edible expedition with the decadent crème brûlée ($4.99) or a cheese plate served with crusty crostini ($8.99). Vino Cappuccino’s casual atmosphere makes it the ideal setting for a romantic dinner for two or for sipping an espresso and reading a book without interruption from chainsaw-wielding librarians.
Portabella Bakery & Cafe's red-brick oven dispenses flame-kissed pizzas while chefs stack meats on sandwiches and wrap sugary dough around traditional Italian pastries. With more than a decade of experience in the Italian restaurant business, the Matera family prances down the kitchen’s aisles, piling gourmet toppings such as feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts onto personal pizzas and focaccia paninis.
Sourdough bowls brim with an ever-shifting selection of house-made soups, and the bakery’s glass displays showcase muffins, cannolis, and bagels affectionately modeled after Italian moped wheels. Cups of Seattle's Best Coffee, bottles of domestic and imported beers, and glasses of white and red wines rest on wooden tabletops, and waiters reenact the burning of Rome by pausing to play the fiddle beside a roaring fireplace.
Bluemound Gardens’ kitchen staff whips up a diverse array of offerings including homemade soups and pastries, and puts its twist on American classics such as ribs, burgers, and baked and broiled seafood. The eatery prides itself on a casual family dining atmosphere with a focus on customer service. Flat-panel big-screen televisions in the bar area showcase football games on Sundays, and the staff hosts a Mexican-themed night on Wednesdays. The Wauwatosa icon is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Aside from being a premier venue for watching sports, Saloon on Calhoun is a bacon utopia with a daily all-you-can-eat bacon happy hour, bacon-infused vodka, and a menu of bacon-accented pub classics. Widescreen TVs speckle the wooden walls throughout, allowing patrons to catch game replays and Martha Stewart knitting segments from the bar, pool tables, or Internet jukebox. As darts bust cork, thin-crust pizzas present guests with slatherings of homemade sauces and bacon burgers, wraps, and beer-battered fish emit puffs of steam in solidarity with the ears of infuriated cartoon characters. In addition to weekly trivia, karaoke, and live blues events, a fully stocked bar with 15 craft beers tests the limits of patrons' tolerance for fun.