Jazzeria Pizza & Pasta owner Matt Criscuolo Jr. has been hanging out at pizzerias since he was 6 years old. After emigrating from Italy, his father opened a pizzeria where the entire family worked, giving little Matt an up-close look at the business of turning his mom?s recipes into feasts fit for the old country. Inspired both by his family?s livelihood and his passion for jazz, Criscuolo began his own pizzeria, where he now puts his more than 30 years of pizza-slinging experience to work each day.
Inspired both by family recipes and lessons he learns on his yearly trips to Amalfi, Italy, Jazzeria Pizza & Pasta?s dishes derive their flavors from authentic Italian ingredients. Hand-tossed pizza dough transforms into pies including pesto pizza or the pescatore pizza topped with a trio of baby clams, roasted garlic, and bacon. Diners can enjoy dishes named after jazz greats?such as Lady Day?s Bolognese pasta?or grab a calzone to stuff in their pockets for later. In addition to housing tasty bites of the Mediterranean, Jazzeria locations live up to their name with live jazz performances three times a week.
Grilling within the walls of a historic firehouse, the culinary artists at Two Steps utilize an assorted palette of fresh ingredients to create an imaginative menu of American cuisine with colorful splashes of Southwestern, Caribbean, and Cajun influences. A pitcher of Coors Light ($12) quells the fires of the sweet and spicy Jamaican jerk chicken ($13.95) served with rice pilaf and fresh vegetables, while the grilled filet mignon ($18.95) provides elegance to an empty stomach like a Victorian armoire in a college dorm room. See the full menu online for more details and prices.
The Mad Hatter Restaurant and Tap Room piles plates with hat-themed burgers and ample entrees of bistro cuisine. The Stetson burger slathers onion rings and cheddar cheese with barbecue sauce ($8.95), whereas the Top Hat burger outfits its 6-ounce patty with layers of candied bacon, cheddar, and veggies ($8.95) before scooting up to a side of hand-cut fries. Guests can launch meals with a trebuchet in the parking lot or opt to order starters such as deep-fried cheese ravioli ($5.95). Bread and a small house salad herald the arrival of every entree, including the pan-seared market-fresh whitefish with mango salsa ($14.95) and the double-stuffed pork chops ($14.95), which stow a blend of bread crumbs, sausage, and herbs in their savory clasp.
RW's BBQ satiates seekers of sauce with a menu of hickory-smoked meats, homemade spice rubs, and four made-from-scratch barbecue gravies. Owner Ron Wishna pit roasts butts and briskets for more than 12 hours and chicken and ribs for more than four, producing proteins so tender they swan dive off the bone into a savory side of sauce.
BGR The Burger Joint?s burgers start with high-quality ingredients?most importantly, all-natural beef from grain-fed cattle, free to run in the fields and given zero hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. The prime beef is dry-aged, blended, and ground fresh to form patties that are grilled over an open flame, and then placed atop buttery, locally made brioche buns delivered fresh each day. The menu focuses on the Legendary Burger, which includes gourmet toppings such as avocado, applewood bacon, and grilled jalapenos. For nonbeef eaters, the menu's selection of burgers also includes turkey and veggie varieties, as well as The Greek, a seasoned lamb patty topped with tzatziki and feta. Burgers are also available in a lettuce wrap or on a salad in a healthy salad bowl.
Diners can request all of BGR The Burger Joint's freshly made fries?from thick-cut yukon gold potatoes to asparagus fries?be topped with parmesan, rosemary, roasted garlic, or a tiny tiara. The staff hand-spins shakes with Gifford's or Breyers ice cream to create extra-thick treats for finishing off meals, and some shops curate their own selection of bottled vintage sodas and offer beer and wine.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers' market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,150 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the pepperoni pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs, slicing it into bite-size nuggets, or using it to build historically accurate Austrian villages. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex?s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. They also reach out to the community through fundraising opportunities.