Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco began helping out at his family?s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Giammarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon.
The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat?s kitchen operations?although, these days he has considerably more help. Marco's Pizza has 425 locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh, never-frozen cheeses.
First, chefs spread sour cream over the crust. They top that with sliced potatoes, green onions, bacon, and cheddar cheese; then, it’s ready for the oven. The potato pizza at Partners II Pizza combines two classic comfort foods: baked spuds and Italian pies. Despite the popularity of the potato pie, this restaurant is no one-trick pony. The menu sprawls with more specialty pizza options—It's Greek to Me, barbecue chicken, the Texas Pete–infused Blue Buffalo—as well as classic pies, calzones, and sandwiches. They even layer cheese and meat sauce to make lasagna and hold empty pasta shells to their ears to hear the sounds of Trevi Fountain for inspiration.
Even among Lexington's other historic buildings, Bellini's Italianette-style architecture stands out; perhaps because the building has been a city fixture for close to 150 years. This was a large draw for long-time friends Giancarlo Marletta and Nader Iweimrin when they started the restaurant some 10 years ago. But Bellini's has been a shared success. Chef Craig Devilliers deftly helms the kitchen and insures quality with a strict sustainability pledge: organic and locally sourced seasonal ingredients whenever possible. The result is a dynamic menu pairing rack of lamb and diver scallops with modern accents of basil relish, blackberry compote, and sweet candied fennel.
Casanova's downfall deftly doles out upscale women's clothing brands and elegant accessories with a customer-focused staff of fashion experts. Overflowing racks hold wardrobe staples, from party-ready dresses to comfortable and casual blouses, by designers such as Joseph Ribkoff ($150–$250), with custom orders available for out-of-stock sizes and archaic Betamax cassette belts. LipSense lipstick ($18) shades puckerers with party pink, cranberry, and other vivid hues blessed with the kiss-ready staying power of a thousand Marilyn Monroes.
Sutton's, located in Lexington, Kentucky, is known as the Italian restaurant with an American pub. The restaurant was started by the Mastarone family, who moved from Italy to Kentucky and continued their passion for great food. Today, the restaurant is family owned and operated and specializes in fresh produce delivered by local farmers. Many of the menu items are freshly made, including the sausage, which is freshly ground. Bread is baked fresh daily. The lunch menu starts at $7 and includes delicious dishes like the eggplant parmesan with garlic bread. Diners will have a hard time choosing from the extensive dinner menu, which includes all the favorite pastas such as linguini, penne, and spaghetti. Gnocchi is also available and pairs well with any dish. Desserts include their signature bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce. Sutton’s has an extensive wine list, and also serves cocktails and beer. Their special banquet room is available for private parties but call ahead for reservations. The Pub at Sutton’s has drink specials and happy hours daily.
Roosters is both a popular stop for Kentucky sports fans and its players—it’s not unusual to spy one of the university’s basketball players perched at a table, wiping his hands after downing a large basket of wings. It's these wings, fried in soy oil with no trans fat and doused with 1 of 11 sauces, that command the most attention on a menu full of hand-breaded chicken fingers, thick burgers, and oven-baked subs. Their sauces run the gamut of heat, from mild teriyaki to medium-hot sweet thai chili to the Super Killer, the sauce that delivers more kick than a Rockette on a caffeine buzz.
Walls paneled in blond wood to match the tables and floors recall a modern-day Old West saloon, with a stone fireplace standing tall at one wall. After seeing a big win on one of the flat-screen televisions lining the walls, diners can take advantage of the lofted ceilings to create a victory pyramid.