Michael Scotto draws on his native Italian heritage and knowledge of traditional recipes at Jester’s Cafe’s, which serves classic Italian dishes crafted to pair with a deep, international-wine menu. Italian and Australian varietals of red and white complement high-grade poultry and filet mignon delivered fresh daily, creating worldly meals without the pulpy aftertaste left after chewing through a road atlas. The eatery fosters a cheerful ambiance with a wide array of specialty cocktails mixed with top-shelf vodkas, rum, and even champagne. Jester’s Cafe also provides a semisecluded back room for private parties as well as off-premises catering services for wedding parties and postdivorce luaus.
Everybody has a favorite style of pizza crust. Rather than take sides, the cooks at Family Nest Restaurant include several of the most popular, including Sicilian and thin crust. Atop gourmet pies they sprinkle ingredients such as buffalo chicken and baked ziti, one of Family Nest's many housemade Italian classics, which range from chicken florentine to veal marsala.
Besides Italian staples, the culinary team whips up pizzeria favorites such as eggplant parm subs, ham calzones with seven-cheese blends, and gourmet wraps. The Brando, for instance, combines pesto chicken, roasted red peppers, and mozzeralla cheese, the same foods Marlon Brando stuffed in his mouth to make that wheezy voice in The Godfather.
Fresh dough bubbles up around house-made mozzarella, sauces cooked daily, and recently reaped toppings at The Pizza Kitchen. The menu's savory starters parade bacon-wrapped scallops and potato skins cradling buffalo chicken and blue cheese, ideal for snacking on game day or luring a mascot out from under the bed. Stone-lined ovens, inspired by the co-owner's personal outdoor kitchen, exhale fiery currents across pizzas outfitted with meatballs, bacon, green peppers, mushrooms or a host of other toppings. Diners carry out dough disks and two liters of soda for at-home feasts or picnics uninterrupted by cutlery salesmen.
Amid an urban-bistro atmosphere, Bensi's thumb-worn recipe book conjures a diverse menu of savory Italian eats, from plated entrees to crispy pizzas baked with homemade dough. The house specialty chicken francese weds slender slices of chicken to robust artichoke hearts drizzled in lemony butter sauce ($10.95/lunch, $15.95/dinner). Classic pizzas ($5.95+) and newfangled white pizzas ($6.95+)—topped with olive oil, garlic, and basil instead of red sauce—satiate single- or double-stomached diners with a bevy of toppings such as portobello, ham, garlic, and broccoli (each topping $1/individual; $2/family size). Bensi also fills vacated belly hovels with sandwiches ($7.95+), entree-sized salads ($4.95+), and kid-friendly dishes ($5.95+). Like the final season of Billy Stares into the Void, no meal feels complete without a sweet finale, such as the raspberry-topped crème brûlée cheesecake ($5.95).
Behind stone countertops lit by orange pendant lights, staff members slice up thin-crust pizza, fill plates with pasta, and pile Angus beef burgers with toppings and condiments. Chefs slide over plates of Italian specialties such as veal parmigiana and penne alfredo as well as American-style fare such as wraps and chicken wings. Soft drinks from the soda fountain splash into ice-filled cups to accompany dinners, and the restaurant's BYOB policy encourages diners to bring in a bottle of their favorite libation, such as red wine or smoothies made from bottled ships, to accompany all-you-can eat pasta and signature angel pizza with fresh greens and bruschetta tomatoes. For offsite events, the catering menu offers trays of chicken parmigiana, baked ziti, and antipasto to fuel holiday parties and family gatherings.