Garnering the Best Dinner for Sweethearts honor in the Amarillo Globe-News, Macaroni Joe’s recreates the culinary distinction and intimate ambience of a Tuscan villa while opening palates to steak and seafood plates with flavors from around the globe. Summon dinner starters such as a platter of shrimp crostini ($11), followed by lasagna enfolding a love letter of pepperoni, beef, italian sausage, and stamped with three kinds of cheese to forlorn stomachs ($13). Steaks can be outfitted with hearty condiments such as portobello and roasted pepper ragout or gorgonzola-lime-infused butter ($18+). The lunch staff pride themselves on making it look like they aren't telekinetically levitating artfully-arrayed plates such as the fresno chicken grilled with green chili pesto and mozzarella ($9). Palates feeling neglected since second breakfast receive prompt validation in the form of hearty salads with toppings such as grilled salmon with pumpkin seeds and citrus vinaigrette ($10).
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.
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).
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 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.