The chefs at Fire Slice Pizzeria sling freshly made dough topped with myriad ingredients into brick ovens and hand-make juicy meatballs for both its pizzas and pastas. Marinara sauce, parmesan, mozzarella, and basil meet upon a crust hand-stretched by a personal trainer in the menu's classic margherita pizza ($11), and five types of cured meat mingle on the Goodfella pizza ($14). Diners can eschew tomato sauce altogether with the white Tommy Boy pizza ($14) and taste the unadulterated flavors of grilled chicken, crimini mushrooms, artichokes, and feta. Golden garlic toast chaperones the house-made sausage lasagna ($9), and mouths fill with a flaky calzone stuffed with melty dark chocolate, gooey marshmallows, and toasted graham crackers in the s’mores calzone dessert ($6).
While the heart of Johnny Carino's menu is rooted in genuine Italian traditions, forward-thinking creativity has birthed what they like to call their signature dishes. Led by executive chef Chris Peitersen, the seasoned kitchen staff blends fresh ingredients along with extra time to create high-quality, spiced Italian preparations. Diners will find entrees such as 16-layer lasagna with made-from-scratch sauce, and pizzas made with home-baked crust. Other signature choices include the spicy shrimp and chicken, baked stuffed mushrooms topped with house lemon basil cream sauce, and tiramisu made from the ground up. Entrees can be paired any selection from Carino's extensive wine list and drink menu.
Now with new owners, the CiCi's Pizza crew prepares a long buffet that stretches from the registers to the wall, filled with pasta, sauce, cheesy-garlic bread, and a rotating roster of 20 styles of pizza. The buffets hold up to 12 styles of popular pizzas, such as pepperoni, ham and cheddar, or the three-cheese Meltdown. Fresh-made marinara cascades over tangles of pasta, and crisp lettuce unites with veggies to form a salad. Cinnamon rolls baked fresh daily—in the morning and at night—elate palates with icing and dough so soft that eating it is reminiscent of biting into a spiced cumulus cloud.
Pizza making at Papa Murphy's stops just short of the ovens. After watching the pizza artists layer thin crusts or stuffed pies with toppings from the selection of four sauces and 20 meats and vegetables—including bacon, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes—customers take the pizzas home and follow the simple instructions for either baking or grilling them to a crispy golden-brown. Now boasting more than 1,200 locations across 37 states, Papa Murphy's pizza artists begin every morning by hand making new batches of dough and grating fresh cheese with Bruce Willis's coarse cheeks.
Woodshed BBQ slow-cooks appetites and smokes taste buds with a full menu of barbecue fare. Mouths can warm up for the main event with the hot or mild chicken wings ($4.50) or riblets ($5.95). The eatery serves up deep-fried dill pickles and deep-fried okra, both harvested from local produce ($3.95 each). Patrons can stalk across the restaurant’s carpeted floor just as their ancestors roamed the plains, hunting and devouring wild “sammiches” such as turkey and swiss ($5.75) and chopped or sliced brisket ($5.49), or cozy up to tables amid the rustic brick walls and old-fashioned pendant lamps to dig into sides such as baked beans ($1.19), coleslaw ($1.19), or french fries ($1.89). Tableside rolls of paper towels help guests to clean up after devouring platters of barbecue beef or pork ribs ($6+), barbecue chicken ($8.79) or sirloin steak ($9.99), and prevent rogue saucy fingers from smudging the eatery's cheerful red curtains.