Dotting the Texan landscape with pizzerias like so many pepperonis in a hopeful meat-lover's garden, Goomba's ‘za joints bake up New York–style pies with ingredients from Costanzo's Bakery and Sorrento cheese. Dough made daily from scratch lays the groundwork for such classic toppings as italian sausage, mushrooms, artichokes, sweet or hot peppers, and anchovies. Pasta specialties such as cheese manicotti and baked ziti swim—like an eccentric millionaire—in a house-made tomato sauce infused with fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and a selection of calzones, salads, hot subs lends rest to the pizza weary. Daily lunch specials quell midday tummy rumbles from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and most locations offer both dine-in and carry-out fare.
Papa Murphy’s serves up a tasty menu of handmade take ‘n’ bake pizzas using dough, cheese, meats, and veggies that are freshly prepared every day. After customers choose their pies, Papa Murphy's slice slingers build the pizza in-store and package it for customers to bake at home in the oven, in a pottery kiln, or over a pile of burning cookbooks. Customers can watch as Papa Murphy’s pie pros corral the ingredients of a signature pizza such as the Cowboy, complete with pepperoni, italian sausage, mushrooms, and black olives, or request the hawaiian, a traditional pizza crowned with Dole pineapple and canadian bacon. Deep-dish fans dive into the Chicago-style stuffed pizza packed with onions, mozzarella, four kinds of meat, and one of the most colorful public-transit systems in America, and salads and 2-liter soft drinks serve as the final pieces in an irregularly shaped pizza puzzle.
Although they both hail from the Mediterranean, pizza and falafel don't often appear on the same menu. Diners at Rome's Pizza, however, might be prompted to wonder why—it turns out it's quite possible for one kitchen to carry both dishes off nicely. In a 2004 review, the Current's Alejandro Pérez praised the pesto pizza's "light, crispy crust and full-bodied flavor" and the falafel sandwich's "hot, crisp patties."
This juxtaposition isn't the only surprise on the extensive menu. Sure, you can get red sauce and pepperoni atop your pie, but Rome's specializes in white pizzas slicked with olive oil, herbs, and smoked garlic. Strombolis and calzones fold in on themselves to make for a hearty meal or a high-powered alternative to a water balloon, and sandwiches and pasta display the same love of big portions and off-the-beaten-path ingredients. On the Mediterranean side of the menu, there are also staples such as dolmas, hummus, and gyros.
Amid GameTown Pizza's mélange of arcade consoles and analog challenges, chefs sculpt dough for New York–style pizzas and ensconce zesty ingredients within calzones and strombolis before baking them golden on sizzling pizza stones. The bustling game room challenges competitors to bouts of air hockey, basketball, and invigorating redemption games, whose ribbons of tickets garner well-earned trips to the prize counter. Party planners can host savory shindigs within the arcade's private party room, whose whimsical yellow walls display flat-screen TVs ideal for celebratory slideshows and virtual-reality birthday cakes alike.
In a small town outside of Naples, Italy, Nonna Lina lured passersby into her trattoria with the aroma of fresh tomato sauce and wood-oven-baked pizzas. Stateside, her sons uphold their mother’s culinary legacy, preparing her recipes from scratch with imported Italian ingredients. In addition to the authentic cuisine, the dining room itself hearkens back to an Italian eatery: guests order from chalkboard menus propped atop wooden barrels, and red-and-white-checkered tablecloths invite diners to play endless games of chess with condiments.