As diners look on, the skilled sauce-slingers at Luigi's Pizzeria launch traditional, thin-crust Italian pizzas off of wooden paddles and into the fiery depths of a glistening metallic oven. Homemade marinara swirls around golden pies or slices, and the tomatoey elixir also sloshes around in jars that are available for customers to purchase or use to trap butterfly-shaped meatballs. Sidecars of marinara accompany calzone-style pizza rolls crafted from fresh dough and fillings, and forks twirl through pastas swathed in vegetarian sauce or meaty bolognese. Exposed bricks, black-and-white photographs, and colorful paintings enliven the dining room at Luigi's Pizzeria, and guests are welcome to retreat to the outdoor patio.
Natives of Palermo, Italy, brothers Vincenzo and Agostino Gabriele share twin passions for food and their Italian heritage. Both loves are combined under the same roof at Vincenzo's Italian Restaurant—by the owners' count, a winner of more than 20 separate culinary awards. Chef Agostino Gabriele began his culinary career at age 14 back in Palermo before moving on to kitchens in Milan, Dusseldorf, and St. Louis, commonly known as "The Dusseldorf of the Midwest." Gabriele's internationally honed cooking skills helped him become a James Beard–honored chef and win a DiRoNA award with his brother for Vincenzo's in 2007 and 2008.
Inside the kitchen, Chef Gabriele tops plates of al dente spaghetti with South African lobster tail and petite shrimp and roasts farm-raised chicken breast with asparagus tips, sun-dried tomatoes, and gorgonzola cheese. The eatery, which also offers an extensive wine list and soufflé desserts, has been visited by a number of celebs, including Muhammad Ali, Steven Spielberg, and Sylvester Stallone.
Cooks at Sicilian Pizza and Pasta hand-toss made-to-order New York–style pizzas with more than 25 toppings such as spinach, bacon, and sundried tomatoes. Using ingredients from local distributors, chefs slice and plate hearty baked ziti and lasagna for pairing with amply stuffed calzones and wings in barbecue, mild, and hot. Patrons can sup in the shade of an umbrella on the outdoor patio or indoors, where floor-to-ceiling front windows cast light on red and green walls, a flat-screen TV, and framed photographs whose strangely lifelike occupants sneak bites of garlic bread when diners aren’t looking.
Diners at The Marketplace Restaurant feast their eyes on stunning surroundings while feasting on southern-style cuisine with an Italian twist. High ceilings support chandeliers dangling above a modern dining room, outfitted with exposed air ducts, brushed steel wall sconces, and a grand piano. The stone triple fireplace draws as many gasps as the relaxing porch area filled with lush hanging plants and plush wicker seating. Hanging drapes throughout the restaurant tie together the red, gold, and black color scheme while giving diners places to take cover during premeal hide 'n' seek matches. The menu, created by executive chef Dallas McGarity, draws upon a love for southern cooking and fresh ingredients to create flavorful dishes.
The community-centered chefs at Papalinos hand-toss a menu of fresh, New York–style pizzas, crafted from house-made dough and locally sourced cheeses and veggies. Crown an expansive 18-inch pie with a decadent dusting of artisan toppings such as house-cured bacon and local mushrooms, or opt for classic NYC toppings, which include fresh-cut pineapple, house-made fennel-and-sage sausage, and crinkle-cut back issues of the New Yorker. Swirls of italian plum-tomato sauce and whole-milk mozzarella cheese smother each slice in rich and colorful flavors and spicy hints of oregano and basil, inviting diners to wash down each savory slice with bubbly sips of iced tea or fountain or bottled soda.