Jazzeria 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?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.
Head chef Paul Desiano remembers Sundays spent in his grandmother's kitchen as a child, helping her to prepare pasta dinners by picking vegetables from the garden and rolling meatballs by hand. Although he went on to study at The Art Institute of New York City and work in New York restaurants, he never forgot the childhood dinners that first kindled his passion for cooking. Now joined in the kitchen by his wife, Ai, Paul oversees Cello's menu, which adds modern, international influences to classic Italian dishes.
Paul and his chefs utilize freshly rolled pastas, savory meatballs, and prosciutto to evoke the flavors of seasonal Italian cuisine, but they also incorporate chorizo, torched red-snapper sashimi, and other ingredients that stray from Mediterranean traditions. In addition to its house-made limoncello, the restaurant also features crisp white wines and robust reds from vineyards on both sides of the equator and at every layer of the Earth's crust. Though the list includes wines from around the world, it emphasizes Italian varietals in particular.
In 1983 Nord Brue and Mike Dressell decided that it didn't matter how far Burlington, Vermont was from New York City; no distance was too great to limit their access to New York-style bagels. So they spent 2.5 years apprenticing with a professional bagel baker from the city until they mastered the technique. Once they were comfortable with their skills and had accepted that it doesn't actually hurt the bagel to bite it, they opened their first Bruegger's Bagel, a casual bakery and caf?. Today, they have more than 300 eateries across the United States and Canada, each hawking freshly baked bagels, cream cheeses, sandwiches, coffee, and desserts.
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.