Though Terry "Joe" Black spent more than two decades in the restaurant and food industries, for many years the notion of opening his own pizzeria remained a wistful one. Smitten with the restaurant business during his college years, he spent the first 15 years of his career working for national chains, then another 10 in food distribution. It wasn’t until Black met and befriended Nick Heddings, owner of Arizona Pizza Company in Tucson, that the gears were set in motion to allow Black to make the leap to ownership, spurred in part by Heddings's support and pizza recipe. Black and his wife, Mary, kept the concept simple: a limited menu centered around tasty, New York–style pizza. They resolved to be fanatical about their customers’ experience and to create a welcoming, neighborhood feel. To further that goal, Black and his family remain active with local schools and organizations to this day.
Their focus on quality and friendliness has paid off. Of Jimmy & Joe’s signature "Serious Slice," blogger Michele Laudig said—as part of the Phoenix New Times’ 100 Favorite Dishes series in 2010—"It's super thin and crisp on the bottom, with puffy, chewy edges." Each gigantic slice is cut from the 24-inch Big Jimmy, arrives on its own metal pan, and, like a celebrity’s engagement ring, is bigger than the average person's head. As testament to its food’s deliciousness, the restaurant has won multiple awards, including the Reader Pick for Best Pizzeria in the East Valley Tribune's 2011 Best of East Valley.
With its broad spectrum of Italian eats, NY 54 Pizza & Ristorante's menu "has everything you've been craving," according to Go Gilbert! magazine. The kitchen staff whips up fresh pizza dough and sauce each morning before baking crusts to a golden brown in a stone oven. The restaurant's crusade for freshness extends into wings that never see the inside of a walk-in freezer and breadcrumbs ground and seasoned in-house.
In keeping with NY 54's Big Apple theme, chefs import authentic treats from New York City, including knishes from Coney Island and crumb cake from a Brooklyn bakery. Inside the restaurant, a backdrop of exposed brick peeks from behind vintage framed photos of the Yankees and native New Yorker Robert De Niro.
Papa Murphy’s serves up a tasty menu of handmade "take ‘n’ bake" pizzas created using dough, cheeses, meats, and veggies that are freshly prepared every day. After customers choose their pie, Papa Murphy's personable pizza fashioners will build the pizza in-store and then package it for customers to bake at home in the oven, in a pottery kiln, or over a pile of burning cookbooks. Customers can select one of Papa Murphy's signature pizzas or customize their pie to a more specific taste, culling from the four sauces, three crusts, and more than 20 toppings available. Watch as Papa Murphy’s pizza professionals corral the ingredients of a signature pizza such as the Cowboy ($11.99 for the 16” family size), complete with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, and black olives, or request a Chicago-style stuffed pizza ($14.99 for the family size), packed with onions, mozzarella, four kinds of meat, and one of the most efficient public-transit systems in America. Thin-crust fans can opt for an Herb Chicken Mediterranean deLITE ($11.99 for a large), smothered with feta cheese, olive oil, and spinach, and veggievores can avail themselves of Papa Murphy’s gourmet vegetarian ($15.99 for the family size) option, which comes saturated with a creamy garlic sauce. Side your pizza with a chicken Caesar salad ($5.99), an order of cheesy bread ($3.99), or a two-liter soda ($2.09).
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.
Carmine’s Pizza honors the memory and recipes of Uncle Carmine, a good-natured pizza ingénue who hailed from Brooklyn. Today, Carmine’s nephew recounts his uncle’s passion for food, a dedication that remained until the night Carmine passed away while out making a delivery. On his way back from bringing his signature pizza and garlic knots to a customer stranded by the bad weather, Carmine's car was struck and he was killed. However his legacy lives on through his family and his namesake restaurant.
In the spirit of Uncle Carmine's time-honored pies, the chefs at Carmine's Pizzeria whip up the same hand-tossed pizza recipes as Carmine himself, layering golden crusts with bubbling mozzarella cheese and all manner of meat and veggie toppings. Amid the pizzeria’s exposed brick and red walls, tables hoist amply stuffed calzones, steaming subs filled with veal, italian sausage, and eggplant, and buttery garlic knots that double as Pavlovian conditioning tools for companions who can’t keep their elbows off the table.
Housemade dough flies through the air at Gilbert Pizza, as chefs hand-stretch crusts into thin or thick varieties. Bell peppers, artichoke hearts, pineapple, and nearly 20 more fixings can top build-your-own pies. Alternatively, nine types of specialty pizzas—such as a White Pizza topped with whole-milk ricotta—eliminate the burden of choice, like saying "eenie, meeny, miny, moe" to pick which child to love the best. Chefs also sate Italian cravings with bolognese pasta, veal parmigiana, and subs stuffed with sausage and peppers.