Led by their mom, Cassandra, brothers Mergim, Burim, Durim, and Agim turned a cache of generations-old family recipes into 4 Brothers Pizza & Mediterranean Restaurant. With these unique culinary formulas, the tight-knit clan infuses classic Mediterranean and Peloponnesian flavors into their sprawling lineup of Italian and Greek dishes, which includes flaky spanakopita, linguine with clam sauce, and creamy penne with chicken and broccoli. Each of the brothers also boasts a favorite pizza that bears their name, agreeing that whoever’s pie is the most popular gets to claim the remote control forever times infinity.
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.
A man can't build such a pizza universe without some serious pies. But inspiration isn't a problem for Mike and his chefs, who've designed about 25 specialty circles with selections from more than 30 toppings, all available on gluten-free and whole-wheat crusts. In addition to specialty pizzas, the cooks concoct other Italian-American fare such as shrimp parmigiana and mini pizza rolls that are more convincing than Pluto is as a standalone planet.
Stocked with Italian cuisine since 1960, John the Baker's menu harbors multiple generations of original recipes. Atop doughy platforms crafted with no preservatives, pizza toppings clash to compose delectable moshes such as the Florentine ($14.95 for a medium), which fuses spinach with ricotta cheese and fresh tomatoes. Turkey and cranberry wraps ($7.95) envelop offbeat ingredients, and maritime munchies melt like water thanks to the freshly simmered shrimp and light linguini or rice in the shrimp scampi ($16.95). Other refined flavors include classics such as the New York strip steak ($21.95) and the charcoal broiled hamburger ($8.95).
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.
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.