Owner Dominic Barraco has been flipping pies and crafting Italian cuisine alongside his family for more than 30 years. Today he relies on culinary traditions passed down by his grandparents as well as modern techniques to populate a carry-out and delivery menu with thin-crust, deep-dish, Sicilian-style, and stuffed pizzas as well as more than 15 sandwiches, such as the fillet of fish. His pasta dishes include classics such as lasagna and gnocchi, and ribs, wings, and roasted chicken round out the hearty edibles.
As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments.
In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.
Hollywood Palms Theater, modeled after Hollywood Boulevard and the legendary Chinese Theater, engages moviegoers with its opulent design, a restaurant and bar, and seat-by-seat service. Winning praise from myriad press outlets, the movie house boasts nine distinctive auditoriums, each dressed to a cinematic theme, including Coconut Grove and The Rainbow Room. Within the confines of each theater, rows of high-backed leather chairs comfortably cradle bodies, while the latest Dolby surround sound swathes ears in the tummy rumbles of on-screen actors. An attentive wait staff takes orders throughout films from an extensive menu that includes burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, beer, wine, and cocktails.
Since its first pizza went into the oven in 1961, Palermo's has been crafting Italian favorites from scratch with recipes passed down through the generations. The restaurant's pizza makers blanket pies in the classic flavors of homemade italian sausage and pepperoni, or glean inspiration from other dishes in Chicago-style beef or barbecue-chicken pizzas. Meanwhile, other Italian staples—all of which are also available for takeout and catering—fill out the menu with such classics as chicken parmesan and penne primavera.
Roundhead's Pizza Pub keeps head holes stuffed with an assortment of menu items as patrons affix their sight-spheres on one of the sports bar's more than 28 TVs. Roundhead's special pizza, packed with sausage, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms (12", $16.25+), silences the grumbling bellies of Blackhawks and Bulls supporters as they argue about whether hockey players or basketball players make more capable museum docents. Kick off a Thursday night trivia session in Lombard with a generous portion of meat-filled homemade lasagna ($11.59) or an order of ultimate nachos, an assortment of cheese, chili, sour cream, and jalapeños perched atop a tortilla chip-mountain like a gooey, amorphous Sherpa ($9.49). Roundhead's also offers a formidable lunch buffet ($7.99), served weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., which turns growling midday munchies into whimpering afternoon siestas.
Handmade pizza dough and family-forged recipes suffused with fragrant spices and homemade ingredients await eager Italian appetites at Al's Pizzeria. An opening order of stuffed mushrooms buttresses its borders with a hearty meat and seafood mixture to increase its chances at vegetable strongman competitions ($5.50). Dough developed from scratch cradles a bubbly bed of Wisconsin mozzarella and a selection from more than 20 toppings in thin-crust, pan, and stuffed pizzas, such as the taco pizza with lettuce, tomato, and olives atop sizzling ground beef and american cheese ($15–$21.50). Customers arm themselves with forks and mental fortitude to take on helpings of homemade lasagna ($9.95) or chicken vesuvio, a boneless chicken breast, potato wedges, and green peas sautéed in a white wine and garlic sauce ($11.95–$13.95), recalling ancient Vesuvius erupting garlic-scented magma from within the earth's chardonnay interior so long ago.