Bonafede-family matriarch Anita started JoJo's Pizza Kitchen more than four decades ago, and her discerning taste for ingredients is still identifiable in the menu. Though her son Joe, who napped on flour sacks in the back of the restaurant as a child, now runs the eatery, fresh basil and plum tomatoes grown in Stanislaus County still release aromas that hint at sun-soaked furrows. Through a dining room window, guests catch glimpses of chefs tossing freshly risen dough for pizzas or smaller chefs for their adorable giggles. They grate fresh parmesan cheese as wine cooks slowly down with mushrooms on the stovetop and chicken marinates in lemon and garlic. Servers bustle past, filling glasses with house wines or draft beers.
John's Incredible Pizza Co. graces guests with acres of incandescent entertainment options and a fully stocked buffet ($9.49 value, $1.50 value for drinks). In addition to a slew of soups, salads, pasta, desserts, and traditional pizza choices, the buffet brandishes a bouquet of specialty pizza creations, including spicy peanut-butter, barbecue chicken ranch, and alfredo pizza.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed. In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.
Exhilarating music pulses amid the remains of a downed cargo airliner, its wreckage scattered across 4,000 square feet of fog-filled tropical beach. Two teams navigate through these surroundings—dodging strewn pieces of cargo, abandoned huts, and a miniature volcano. Black lights cause Laser Island's neon hues to burst to life. The red-orange glow of the volcano's lava, the vibrant green of the painted palm fronds, and the cerulean blue of the walls' ocean horizon all shine alongside the green flashes of streaking lasers. After roughly 20 minutes, the guests emerge and discover which team scored the most points.
Beyond laser tag, the family-friendly entertainment center features a number of activities for virtually all ages. A nine-hole tiki-themed miniature-golf course challenges hand-eye coordination, and the CoCo Climb station allows adventurers to scale a 20-foot coconut tree while safely supported by a weight-bearing harness and an invisible force field. The arcade section tempts passersby to spend a few tokens on games such as Ms. Pac-Man or Time Crisis 3, and certain games reward players with tickets that they can redeem for prizes at the Ticket Hut. In between games or laser-tag matches, Laser Island refuels visitors with a snack-bar menu that includes everything from pizzas and toasted sandwiches to salads and buffalo wings.
Wake snoozing taste buds with a hearty starter such as mozzarella suprema breadsticks adorned with natural cheese and herbs ($3.95 side; $5.95 large) before moving onto a signature fire-roasted pie. An authentic terra-cotta oven blasts RedBrick's prided circles with more than 1,000 degrees of heat, alchemically transforming their base dough into crispy gold in less than three minutes. Enjoy stationary drive-in dining with a bacon-cheeseburger pizza topped with ground beef and three kinds of cheese ($17.95 for a 14"), or graze on the veggie gourmet works, which comes loaded with a Peter Piper's worth of fresh vegetables including bell peppers, artichokes, and mushrooms, swaddled in your choice of a vegetarian red or white sauce ($17.95 for a 14"). Create-your-own pies are also available, providing palate-pleasing fill-in-the-blanks for the munching mad-libbest. Yowling sweet teeth can be silenced with a dessert of gourmet gelato or a surprise dinner visit from the dentist's wife, the librarian.