Situated inside Darien Ice Rink, Behind the Net Snack Bar refuels skaters and hockey players fresh off the ice. Warmth emanates from the pizza oven, bubbling the housemade crust on thin New Haven–style pizza and thawing out the digits of frozen goalies. Scenes of hockey victories and placid snowscapes dot the walls, hovering over morning diners hoisting breakfast sandwiches and lunchtime visitors enjoying grilled burgers and hot dogs. The snack bar looks directly out to the rink, allowing guests to view circling couples and check out players as they eat.
At Vino on the Brick Walk, sapphire walls cast a nautical vibe across booths and white-clothed tables. There, dishes of Italian, Mediterranean, and seafood specialties pair with drinks from an extensive wine list. The blue hues that surround meals inside also follow diners out onto an outdoor patio, splashing across umbrellas that unfurl to shade tables or conveniently fold down to become giant toothpicks. Brick groundwork also accompanies patio visits, as do plants and flowerpots that combine to create a leafy framework.:m]]
The Pasta & Pizza Factory's aged wood paneling, brick archways, and tinted lamps set the scene for a memorable dining experience. At each table, diners can summon servers for more food or keep them at bay to ensure their stomach has ample time to catch its breath. Pasta comes in a variety of shapes and styles, such as linguini with clam sauce (lunch $11.95, dinner $14.95); rigatoni with sausage, peppers, and peas in pink sauce ($9.95, $12.95); and tortilini de la nona, with chicken and artichoke hearts bathing in a cream sauce ($11.95, $14.95). Pizzas are decorated with traditional toppings, such as the meat lover's pizza covered in pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, and chicken (individual $9.95, medium $12.95, large $16.95), as well as unexpected combinations. The Parisian—baby shrimp, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes—and Portuguese pizza—onions, green peppers, ham, eggs (both $9.95, $12.95, $16.95)—take taste buds on a tour of Europe, and the Brooklyn Gourmet pizza—diced tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil ($8.50, $11.50, $14.50)—avoids subjecting taste buds to a battery of inoculations. Diners can also use their Groupon value towards all-you-can-eat pizza and pasta: lunch $30 value, dinner $40 value.
In 2001, the calzones, burgers, gyros, grinders, and cheesy pies that lived in the entrepreneurial dreams of then-college sophomore Mark Kalmanidis escaped and joined forces to create Crossroads Pizza. Inside the eatery, customers can send their tongue shopping for spaghetti and meatballs ($8.50) and their teeth can busily munch fried chicken served with french fries and cole slaw ($10.50). Or, choose to chew into one of the menu's more than 15 specialty pizzas—taste a small white pizza's doughy disc of ricotta, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and oregano ($9), visit a medium Hawaiian's ham-pineapple fusion ($12.99), or let a small vegetarian pizza refill your food pouch with an assortment of delicious nonmeats ($9.99).
Wide, high-arched windows usher sunlight into a dining room anchored by brick columns and a brick fireplace. Behind the dark wood bar, bottles and taps spill craft beers whose names bedeck a chalkboard menu. Under a constellation of speakers suspended from the ceiling, diners chow down on slices of gourmet pizza. John Dough's signature is the fresh clam pizza, a white pie decorated with littleneck clams that the chef shucks to order after fishing them from olive oil seas. Classic margherita, chicken pesto, and sausage and hot oil pizzas also sail out of the restaurant's oven, while custom pies show off a customer's choice of toppings.
Upon graduating from the New York French Culinary Institute, Chef Pasquale Pascarella continued his education under two of contemporary Italian cuisine's most famous chefs: Mario Batali and Scott Conant. He learned well—today, Chef Pascarella serves up his own take on Italian cuisine at Bar Sugo, a critically acclaimed eatery known for its cozy atmosphere and classic food.
For edible evidence of Pascarella's Italian mastery, look no further than his meatballs prepared six ways—some with duck and foie gras, others with beef, melted gouda, and red onion jam. But those who do look further will discover brick-oven pizzas topped with pulled pork and 12-year-old balsamic, as well as house-made pastas such as mint tagliatelle with lamb ragu. That same tasteful touch is extended to the beverage selection, which encompasses wine, Italian beers, and cocktails made with liquors aged and awarded their diplomas in a barrel. But no matter what guests select from the menu, Bar Sugo's laid-back decor—featuring brick walls, a red-and-white checkered floor, and a copper-topped bar—invites them to sit back and savor every bite.