Capers, cilantro pesto, barbecue chicken: these ingredients, along with more than 30 others, can top pizzas at Villaggio Pizzeria. Dough handlers craft build-your-own pies as well as California-style ones, which come crowned with West Coast–inspired toppings such as chipotle pesto and olive tapenade. The pies share a menu with other classic pizzeria treats, including buffalo wings, jumbo cheese ravioli, and oven-baked subs with housemade meatballs.
Chalkboard Pizza & Subs doesn't rely on the internet for reviews of its food. The first thing anyone sees as they walk into the storefront pizzeria are chalkboard walls filled with drawings, daily specials, and customer comments about the food. Serving both specialty and build-your-own pizzas, Chalkboard boasts a selection of 30 toppings to create unique pies served whole or by the slice. In addition to the pizza, the staff makes sub sandwiches and wraps, and they toss seven different salads with fresh veggies and meats.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed. 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.
Featuring New York–style interpretations of regional Italian cuisine, Spaghetti Eddie’s menu embraces homestyle cooking from each side of the Atlantic. These iconic comfort foods incorporate locally sourced ingredients, imported goods, and Italian bread baked fresh daily, creating the hearty portions that prompted Inland Living magazine to write, “it’s easy to see why Spaghetti Eddie’s . . . is so popular.”
Although the name Spaghetti Eddie’s implies a limited selection of pasta dishes, the extensive menu fills its pages with everything from classic bruschetta to braised-beef short ribs. The pizzas begin as blank disks of freshly kneaded dough, which the chefs adorn with any of the 39 available toppings, including premium ingredients such as cappicola, goat cheese, and clams. Pastas do appear prominently, though, tempting diners with platefuls of rigatoni in a hearty beef bolognese sauce or fettuccine with buttery alfredo.
The main dining room embraces the restaurant’s Mediterranean roots. Faux windowsills and murals of Italian city streets line the walls, and strings of red, white, and green lights traverse the ceiling. Red awnings hang over a few of the room’s booths, sheltering the seats from the rays of imported Tuscan sunshine.
Founded in 1983 as a delivery-focused business, Pinocchio's Pizza began crafting New York–style pizzas in its current high-ceilinged home three years ago. As topping-strewn pies and house-made pastas travel from the kitchen into the wood-paneled dining room, guests monitor nearby flat-screen TVs tuned to football and professional staring leagues and sip wine and beer in a semi-enclosed arched bar area. As the notes of live jazz float over tables on Saturday nights, private shindigs take place in a nearby banquet room, where chandeliers look down benevolently at special events.
How many awards can a pizza win? Apparently all of them, if it was crafted at Avanti Cafe. Since it first started spinning dough in 1987, the restaurant's gourmet wood-fired pizzas have earned accolades from outlets including Pasadena Magazine and a thumbs-up from famed food critic Elmer Dills. The secret to each slice's success lies in how the pies are made—gently crisped in an imported Italian wood-burning oven that imparts a smoky flavor to the crust. California-centric toppings, such as glazed apples, tiger shrimp, duck sausage, and shiitake mushrooms, provide the finishing touch.
Avanti's tasteful touch extends to other Italian staples as well. Chefs toss chicken and seasonal vegetables into pastas that, like the pizzas, can be made gluten-free upon request; they also fold up savory calzones. The warming cuisine is complemented by a selection of international wines and beers, as well as espresso drinks to fuel second or third helpings.