In the movie "Eat Pray Love," Julia Roberts' character has something of a religious experience with pizza when she travels to a famous pizzeria in Italy, Da Michele. This pizzeria is known for its two simple, but delicious, pizza styles that people travel endless miles for to get a taste. Giovanni Zilio learned the art of pizza making from the creator of this world-renowned pizza, and dedicated his life's work to making great pizza, hoping to save enough money to open his own pizzeria.
Though Giovanni Zilio was never able to fulfill this dream, his name lives on through Zilio's Artisan Pizza. Here, made-to-order, thin-crust pizzas come in a variety of styles and flavors?from classic marinara to sweet-style pulled pork. Gourmet salads and freshly baked calzones round out the dining options, which guests enjoy in a casual space designed like a New York-style pizzeria.
Stalwart bricks contain the pizza oven's feisty flames at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, where chefs knead and stretch fresh pizza dough by hand. More than 25 specialty pies—such as the eponymous Boardwalk with pesto, spinach, grilled chicken, roasted tomatoes, and bacon—join customizable and Neapolitan-style pizzas on a vast menu of classic and gluten-free slices. Subs embrace meatballs or chicken parmesan, and pastas such as spaghetti, elbow macaroni, and wheat penne mingle with toppings including cheese, artichoke hearts, and steak slices, all ushered into rumbling stomachs by sips of soda, beer, or specialty cocktails. Each cozy booth glows from the light of a private inset television, which flickers with live sports between professional, college, and Montessori school teams.
As its name suggests, NY Pizza Patrol specializes in Big Apple–style slices. Each of the four locations slings 8-inch to 18-inch pizzas, ranging from the classic meat lover's pie to the boundary-breaking spicy Marshall masala layered with a foundation of Indian garam-masala sauce. The menu supplements the traditional hand-helds with calzones, heroes, pastas, and other specialties, each of which pair well with cold brews, bottomless fountain sodas, and milk, which grows healthy bones when poured on teeth-planted top soil.
A veritable cornucopia of hands-on family entertainment, Planet Play buzzes with laser tag, bumper cars, and more than 100 video games sprawled throughout its 55,000 square feet of indoor space. Miniature-golf decorations illuminate putts under the gleam of a black light, and gamers bask in the electronic glow of pinball machines, skee-ball, or Guitar Hero in the game room. Instead of lugging around giant piles of tickets or paying exorbitant fees to deposit them in an older sibling's pocket bank, gamers can easily cash in their winnings using an e-ticket Play Card. After working up an appetite on go-kart track or the mini bowling lanes, visitors can belly up to a buffet that brims with hand-tossed pizzas, a fresh salad bar, and decadent desserts.
Rock Creek Pizza Co. serves up a menu of belly-filling specialty pies, salads, and sides. With sauces and hand-tossed crust made daily from scratch, the eatery's dough-slingers carefully craft pizzas to suit taste buds of all types. After a trip to the salad bar ($2.59 with a meal, $4.49 for all you can eat), diners can choose from various disk sizes and toppings to customize a pizza or sink canines into one of the many specialty pizzas ($6.15–$18.15). The six-meat special primes its bready floor with red sauce before laying down tiles of cheese, pepperoni, salami, ham, beef, sausage, and chorizo, and the barbecue chicken pizza joins mozzarella, feta, roasted chicken, pineapple, and red onions with Rock Creek’s honey barbecue sauce. Veggie vixens can wrap their laughing gear around the california garlic vegetarian, a white saucer overflowing with three cheeses, an array of garden-grown goodies, and a proven ability to ward off creatures of the night.
Este Pizzeria’s sign bears an unmistakable resemblance to those found at New York subway stations—a fitting image for a pizzeria that slices up East Coast–style pies. The oversize, thin-crust triangles bear toppings as varied as ham, fresh basil, and housemade vegan meatballs. Their selection of 13 specialty pizzas includes entirely vegan disks as well as the Clay, a heaping of meatballs, pepperoni, ham, and sausage. In typical New York fashion, diners can also opt for strombolis and calzones and are permitted to yell, “I’m walkin’ here!” at other patrons when exiting the restaurant.