With 45 locations, the aromas of hot soup and freshly baked bread greet customers across the nation as they approach Souper Salad's overflowing display of crisp salad greens and freshly prepared hot selections. Menus for the buffet change daily, but can include albóndigas soup, Tuna Skroodle pasta salad, A-MAIZE-ing cornbread, and other dishes. Dine-in guests are free to fill their bowls with their favorite soups and chilis, build their own salads from a plethora of crispy greens and tangy dressings, and see how much soft-serve ice cream they can pile atop a single cone. Patrons can also make a visit to the taco bar or flatbread pizza zone, and gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are available.
In 1969, Colonel Eure opened the first Mr. Gatti's Pizza in Austin. The small pizza shop—which received its moniker from his wife’s maiden name—focused on handcrafting pies using real cheese, yeast-risen dough, and a signature tangy sauce. Today, more than 40 years later, the Mr. Gatti’s Pizza has expanded into 140+ locations across 13 states. But despite the brand’s growth, its mission to make quality eats remains the same.
At one of Mr. Gatti’s appetizing outposts, patrons can build-their-own pie with fresh toppings, or select favorite pizzas such as the bacon double cheeseburger loaded with smoked provolone, beef, and bacon. Sides including four-cheese breadsticks and spicy chicken wings round out plates, and dessert pizzas topped with apples and streusel offer a sweet end to a savory meal. The restaurants also provide hot and cold buffet bars, allowing guests to sample every item on the menu without having to sneak into the kitchen.
At Piggie Pies Pizza & Pasta, the signature pig pen pizza makes for one tasty mess: Atop a crispy, New York-style crust, chefs scatter on pepperoni, hamburger, sausage, and Canadian bacon, then add to the heap with fresh veggies and optional jalapeños. Customers can also create their own pies with toppings such as goat cheese and artichoke hearts, or opt for pre-loaded gourmet versions covered in homemade Alfredo sauce. Not in a pizza mood? There’s no need to fear, as Piggie’s plates up 16 kinds of pastas—including cheese lasagna layered with three types of cheese and homemade marinara sauce.
The family behind Roma's Pizza & Italian Restaurant relies on their own stash of Italian recipes to prepare the eatery's classic Italian-American menu. Tortellini, spaghetti, and fettuccine noodles arrive at tables doused in alfredo and marinara sauces that the chefs make fresh each day. The crafty staff also makes their own pizza dough and adorns pies with toppings such as broccoli, hamburger, and jalapenos. A heated patio enables patrons to enjoy pizzas, pastas, and a glass of wine outdoors, regardless of the temperature. Inside, a late night menu and slate of activities transforms a corner of the eatery into a makeshift stage for karaoke sing-offs.
Like a surname, a collection of family recipes often gets passed from one generation to the next. That's certainly the case at Brother's Pizza, which not only has a familial reference in its name, but its chefs also rely on third-generation recipes to make their authentic Italian dishes. One main draw is the restaurant's New York-style pizza, famous for its thin crust and ability to hail any cab when flung at the windshield. In 2013, it was ranked #1 in a local pizza crawl. Brother's diners can fill up on many pizza combinations inspired by the Big Apple, or on more than 10 other gourmet pizzas. Pastas with chicken and seafood are also hits here, and a BYOB policy makes it easy to sip a favorite drink with dinner.
At Aboca's Italian Grill, the cuisine is as artfully prepared as the paintings on the wall and the flower arrangements on the tables. The cylindrical noodles of the baked penne come blanketed with a square of mozzarella cheese, while the pasta primavera bursts with morsels of color: forest green broccoli, bright yellow squash, and flame-red tomatoes. For drinks, the restaurant invites its patrons to bring their own wine, even offering to uncork bottles for a small fee so diners can leave their jackhammers at home.