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.
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.
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.
For more than 50 years, Atlantic Pizza’s chefs have painted pastas and pie crusts red with rich marinara and meat sauce. Pizzas can be made atop classic or whole-wheat dough and then further customized with selections from more than 30 toppings. Nineteen specialty pies relieve tough decision making, combining ingredients such as baby clams, garlic, bacon, and peppers (the Clams Casino). The chefs also put special spins on more than 50 sandwiches. They prepare paninis for the grill by layering on grilled chicken, baby spinach, tomato, and feta—a combo that represents the eatery’s Greek ties—and they ready cheeseburgers for encounters with white carpeting by ladling on chili.
Chef Pasquale Pascarella constructs each gourmet pie on Pizza Rosso’s menu from fresh ingredients using traditional culinary blueprints. The homemade red sauce cooks for five hours and spends another hour putting on its make-up before it is ready to grace the olive-oiled pizza dough with its presence. The margherita wears fresh buffalo mozzarella and a blanket of homemade sauce to keep its thin, crispy crust warm pizza ($11 for a 12”, $13 for a 16”); the hogan pizza balances prosciutto, figs, arugula, and ricotta into an edible flavor aria ($14 for a 12”, $18 for a 16”). The lasagna layers pasta crafted in-house with sauce, meats, and cheeses to create a delicious model of the earth’s core ($10). The grilled vegetable and pesto panini ($7) presses its ingredients together for an easily handheld meal during lunchtime fencing duels, and the smooth, creamy gelato ($5) chases the last cheesy slice with a rousingly sweet finale.
Letizia's Pizza collects a multifaceted menu of traditional Italian dishes using family recipes perfected by three generations of pizzaioli polishing. Demanding diners customize their thin-crust pies ($7+) with traditional and unique toppings such as spinach, pepperoni, and clams arranged to resemble Leonardo da Vinci's secret back tattoo ($1.25–$2.75 each). Aloof eaters enjoy pre-topped specialty pies such as the 10-inch Garbage pizza, a savory circle littered with meatballs, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and anchovies ($13), while gobbling gamblers place bets on the 12-inch Casino pizza, clams, garlic, onions, peppers, and bacon blanketed with red or white sauce ($16.50). Pizzas with a gluten-free crust are available by request for diners on a break from grains after catching wheat making out with their cousin (12", $14.75). Patrons in the mood for other Italian classics shift their sights towards Letizia's pasta and sandwich options, which include eggplant parmesan grinders ($7), baked ziti ($9.25), and other comforting fare.