Leonardo Toia “desperately discouraged” his kids from going into the family business, but their passion won him over, and now they help run numerous locations of the family-friendly neighborhood pizzeria. While adults peruse a menu of American and Italian favorites, such as half-pound burgers or housemade pastas smothered in tomato sauce or cheese and bacon, children 8 and younger pick anything from a free menu. Clients who wish to dine inside the comfort of their own home or submarine can have Leona’s food delivered within 60 minutes of ordering.
For more than 40 years, the dough disciples at Reggio’s Pizza have crafted homemade butter-crust bases strewn with a multitude of fresh toppings. A duo of Chicago-style rounds can be layered with sausage, covered in veggies, or disguised as an inconspicuous pile of pepperoni according to the eater’s topping desires. Ten saucy buffalo wings parade single-file into mouths while four sodas cool esophagi flustered by the advances of piping-hot pizzas. Reggio’s famous frozen pies dazzle mouths in more than 20 states, but only in Chicagoland can diners carry out the fresh restaurant-made pizzas that have made freezers obsolete.
With a patio overlooking the water, Papi Chulo's Bar & Grill feels more like the beach than the city. Between burgers and beers, guests can challenge each other to a beanbag and volleyball tournament or surrender to a squad of flat-screen TVs broadcasting football and basketball.
Calabria Imports' expert chefs have been filling stomachs with classic deli fare for more than 35 years, dishing out Italian and American sandwiches, homemade soups, and hearty dinner entrees. Mute the croak of a rumbling belly with the hunger-busting Freddy sandwich, a mountainous creation that stacks a homemade Italian-sausage patty with sweet peppers, melted mozzarella cheese, and red sauce ($5.79), or seek gravy-soaked solace in a hot, homemade Italian-beef sandwich ($5.49). Calabria Imports touts an ever-changing selection of fresh homemade soups to prevent deli déjà-vu, as well as hearty dinner delicacies, such as the baked eggplant parmesan ($6.99).
Doreen's Pizza adorns handmade pies with a cornucopia of fresh ingredients before serving them hot or freezing and foisting them into the hands of hungry consumers to cook at home. The kitchen staff slings circular comestibles in super thin, thin, double crust, and stuffed varieties, each one blanketed with a half-pound of mozzarella to add flavor and insulate peppers unaccustomed to cool climates. Frozen pizzas are never precooked, ensuring fresh flavors when cooked in home ovens or above papier-mâché volcanoes. Along with their inventive array of pizzas, Doreen's dine-in locations sate cravings with an expansive menu of gyros, hot dogs, burgers, golden-fried shrimp, and other eclectic eats.
The chefs in Iris Simms’ kitchen satisfy the hungry throngs with family recipes. This includes a chicken salad sandwich flecked with raisins and nuts, as well as a turkey cristo sandwich that is battered and deep fried before plated alongside sweet raspberry preserves. They also whip up breakfasts and early-ish dinners, as well as desserts pulled from the retinal scan-protected secret family cookbook.