The of Taste of Italy's legacy began 25 years ago, when proprietor Giancarlo "JC" Schiano Di Cola began to study the culinary traditions of his family in his native Napoli. At age 13, he moved stateside, where he learned under the watchful eye of his father, Giovanni, who once worked in the kitchens of the Brooklyn restaurant circuit, including his own restaurant. After proving his skill through 20 years of cooking experience and successfully untying a Gordian knot of spaghetti noodles, JC opened the first Taste of Italy Pizza location in August 2004, with a second location in Canton coming seven years late.
With the use of his father's classic New York recipes, the Canton location blossomed into a bastion of old world culinary tradition. He now feeds the hungry masses at both locations with mouth-watering New York– and Sicilian-style pizzas, as well as traditional Italian pasta dishes. Plates of homemade lasagna, hearty gnocchi bolognese, and creamy tortellini alla panna share table space with fresh caprese and antipasto. In the kitchen, vats of from-scratch marinara sauce simmer on the burners while the dining room hums with a jovial buzz of casual dining. In addition to treating visitors to meals of authentic Italian and familiar American cuisine, Taste of Italy provisions banquets and celebrations with bountiful catered trays of salad and pasta as well as special meals for any occasion.
Grand Slam Pizza's resident dough designers crown pies with 17 assorted toppings before baking them into bubbling, cheesy teething toys. Diners can thumb through the menu to test it for potential scratch-and-sniff capabilities and to select one of many specialty pizzas, such as the bacon cheeseburger, a delectable combination of crumbled hamburger, bacon, and mozzarella cheese (16", $14.99). Diners can also craft their own pies (16", $9.99) by mixing toppings ($1.25 each) as diverse as ham, black or green olives, sausage, and mushrooms. An order of 10 hot wings ($5.99) offers warmth to tongues cold from cleaning the freezer, and cinnamon stix with icing ($3.99) ensure that meals end as sweetly as a collision with an ice-cream truck.
Zucca was founded by a trio of forlorn New York natives who longed for a taste of a thin, crispy-crusted, Staten Island–style pie. The results are presented on a menu dense with Italian delights. Starters such as crispy fried risotto and mozzarella balls ($7) and fresh bruschetta ($6.25) make satisfying meal bases for the award-winning pizzas. Pies are offered in two sizes—personal portions ($8+) or 18" discs ($13+)—and come customizable with more than 25 toppings, including bacon ($2), eggplant ($2), and roasted red peppers ($3). Specialty pies such as the expo-winning victory pie ($19 for 18" pie), a Margherita pizza with parsley sausage, mushrooms, and shaved parmesan, will tame topping negotiations, while hand-held calzones ($7–$9) and the extensive selection of popular pasta dishes ($10–$15) and entrees ($13–$21) are sure to delight.
Though they emerge from the oven smothered with attractive toppings ranging from banana peppers to feta cheese, the tastes of Pizza Capri's pies always emerge from their foundations of housemade dough and housemade marinara sauce. Between slices or bites from meatball subs doused in the same marinara sauce, diners sip domestic and imported beers or soft drinks such as iced tea brewed daily.
Around the eatery, sports flicker across flat-screen TVs and guests compete in weekly games of bar bingo, team trivia, and texas hold'em. An amusement area includes pinball, Silver Strike Bowling, and Golden Tee machines for diners who aren't skilled enough to manually play golf inside the restaurant.
At Buckhead Pizza Co.'s two locations kitchens bustle as chefs simmer house-made sauce and bake Atlanta-style thin-crust pizzas to a golden brown in 500-degree ovens. They toss fresh regular, whole-wheat, and gluten-free dough and make each pie to order before covering it in signature toppings such as Atlanta steak with caramelized onions and blue cheese. The charming pizzeria also fills cherry-wood tables with crispy flatbreads, calzones, and bubbling pans of lasagna. Diners take a break from the sun and his unreasonable demands for pizza sacrifices under the outdoor patio's awning, enjoying breezy sunset dinners or cocktail hours filled with frosty brews and red and white wines from the full bar.
Dave Pazienza first donned a toque in the kitchen of his father's restaurant where he learned family recipes from his fellow Italian chefs. He emerged from that experience eager to share those culinary traditions with as many people as possible, which he does from behind the counter at Artuzzi's Italian Kitchen. Tables gaze directly into the open kitchen, allowing guests to watch as cooks reduce steaming pots of wine, cream, and spices or whittle each individual strand of pasta. Extra-virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, and eight signature sauces invigorate the platefuls of freshly cut linguini or imported, whole-wheat penne.
From the pizza oven, scents hint at more than 20 toppings including granny smith apples, gorgonzola cheese, capers, and herb-roasted chicken. The dining room's pastel yellow and orange walls mirror the warmth of the oven beneath vintage-inspired paintings of pasta and wicker-wrapped chianti bottles.