Papa Murphy's Take 'n' Bake Pizza was born out of the owner's frustration with bad pizza from chains, which often tasted as if every ingredient was canned or frozen. Deciding to change the industry, Papa Murphy's tosses every ingredient, all of which are never frozen, onto the crust in front of the customer's eyes and sends them home to bake in a home oven. This dedication to fresh flavor earned Papa Murphy's the top spot on Zagat's National Chain survey.
Visitors can create their own take on the pizza pie or chomp into one of their signature pizzas, which range from meat-filled stuffed crust to calorie-conscious lite varieties covered in vegetables. Their appetizers and desserts follow the same pattern. Customers order raw cookie dough or cheesy bread ripe for the baking, resulting in every course being fresh from the oven.
Inside Original Napoli Italian Restaurant by Papa Zack's bustling kitchen, a team of talented chefs craft house-made pasta before dousing noodles in meat, marinara, alfredo, and clam sauces. This kitchen architects the eatery's "what," but the staff's "how" involves constant, family-friendly friendliness. The culinary experts give chicken the royal treatment, dressing it up in a variety of dishes, including marsala, piccata, parmigiana, and rollatini. Sandwiches and pizza in two crusts round out the Italian-centric menu. The catering leg of the business feeds multicourse meals for at least 10 people or 5 people saving half their meal for their fallout shelter.
Owner Peter Giovanniello crafts his secret sauce with tomatoes culled from the same grower used by his Naples-born father, who perfected the recipe more than forty years ago. A variety of New York–style pies populate the menu, including the all-meat pizza ($12 for a medium), which serves as an arena upon which pepperoni, sausage, ham, beef, and bacon battle for flavor supremacy. Fix a modest hankering by selecting pizza by the slice ($1.85 for cheese, $2.08 for pepperoni) or a small 9-inch cheese pizza ($5; $0.50 for extra toppings), which can also double as an edible frisbee. For eats of the non-pie variety, customers can plunge their fangs into the restaurant's selection of calzones ($5+), strombolis ($5+), and wings ($6–$7).
To reach their table at Spaghetti Warehouse, guests commonly have to step through two doors: the front door of the restaurant and the door of the antique trolley parked inside. Since its inception in 1972, the Italian eatery has merged the functions of kitchen and museum. Artifacts such as grandfather clocks, factory flywheels, and circus billboards surround diners as they delve into signature plates of 15-Layer Lasagna or hand-rolled meatballs. Apart from the items they've amassed, each of the buildings also has a particular history, from the one-time ice-manufacturing plant in Columbus to Memphis's Civil War munitions depot. Given their storied pasts, it's no surprise that several of these venues house their own ghosts—at Houston's warehouse, for example, elevator lights have been known to flicker, objects are mysteriously found in new locations, and a lady in a white gown is said to roam the restaurant.
Yet the main attraction of the place is the delicious food. Like any great Italian meal, made-from-scratch dishes are created from family recipes passed down for generations via email. Guests devour the perfectly al dente pasta, crispy calamari, bottomless soups, and 12-layer chocolate cakes while dining with family and friends. It’s that feeling of togetherness that people love about Spaghetti Warehouse, a feeling that is only enhanced when the drinks start flowing and the air is punctuated by the sounds of laughter as kids play retro games, such as The Claw prize-grabbing machine.
Since its inception in 1974, Birraporetti's has melded Italian cooking with a traditional Irish-pub atmosphere, serving hand-tossed pizzas baked in their stone oven alongside robust Irish coffee and spirits. CBS Houston highlighted its oven-fired pizzas as some of the best in the city, specifically lauding the house bianco pizza for eschewing traditional ingredients such as tomato sauce and shredded copies of the Mona Lisa. The kitchen remains open until midnight to accommodate late-night cravings, yet the chefs still rise in time to serve Sunday jazz brunches replete with made-to-order waffles, omelets, and desserts served amid live jazz performances.
Russo’s staff cooks authentic, fresh Italian fare and specialty New York–style pizzas in its family-friendly environs. A wide-ranging menu catalogs starters such as the pomodoro, flatbread bruschetta with basil and roma tomatoes ($7.95), and an array of pizzas. The margherita ($15.95 for a small; $19.95 for a large) piles fresh, unmeaty ingredients atop an edible bread discus, and the buffalo-chicken pie ($16.95 for a small; $21.95 for a large) dresses the crust in a suit made from hot sauce, ranch dressing, and mozzarella, much like the suit the president traditionally wears to White House barbecues. Neapolitan pizzas, such as the pepperoni- and sausage-dotted paisano ($13.95), come with an extrathin crust. Aspiring culinary artists can follow Picasso and Warhol’s example by creating their own masterpiece from an ingredient palette that includes feta cheese, spinach, and canadian bacon, and then eating it before the public ever sees it. Russo’s warm, welcoming interior with exposed brick and wood accents makes it an ideal spot for feasting families or groups of friends.
You think you know what to expect with an Italian restaurant (lots of dishes ending with the suffix –ini, marinara sauce, waiters) but today’s Groupon will pleasantly surprise you. With this deal, $15 gets you $30 worth of food and drink at La Strada, an innovative restaurant with a buzzed-about weekend brunch menu.