Little Azio's imbues its casual-dining menu with generous pasta portions and brick-oven pizza topped with made-from-scratch sauce. Crunchy salads kick-start each meal with romaine lettuce and caesar dressing or tomato, olives, cucumbers, and mozzarella on a bed of greens. Dough disks silently hover below noses, beaming up the savory aromas of the margherita pizza's roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, or the meat lover’s array of sausage, ham, pepperoni, meatballs, and Protein Lovers Anonymous membership cards. Pasta options include turkey ragu, made with turkey sausage and tomato sauce, or the wild-mushroom marsala, a fusion of marsala-wine sauce and cage-free mushrooms. Thick, malty glugs of domestic brews such as Sam Adams and Bud Light or savory sips of house wine bathe palates in between saucy bites.
For Alison, cooking up delicious, welcoming meals is second nature. In her 35 years in the restaurant business, she's gathered traditional and modern culinary influences into a menu of New Southern comfort cuisine that features good old-fashioned meatloaf and mashed potatoes, buttermilk fried chicken, liver and onions, and her popular crab cakes. There's an abundance of seafood dishes—Alison prepares fish tacos, cedar plank salmon, and lobster mac 'n' cheese, to name a few. She even offers a pecan-crusted fillet of North Georgia mountain trout, served with a creamy mango sauce. The restaurant's meatier offerings include beef fillets and oven roasted pork tenderloin with a peach bourbon chutney. Bourbon tastings at the full-service bar are popular among Alison’s Restaurant and Bourbon Bar's regulars. On warm days, she opens the fenced-in patio to let customers enjoy the sunshine.
Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Gianmarco began helping out at his family’s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Gianmarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three different types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon.
The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat’s kitchen operations, although these days he has considerably more help. Marco's Pizza has 350 locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh, never-frozen cheeses.