Fazoli's expeditious culinary team assembles gondolas of oven-baked pastas and sandwiches for a palatable odyssey through comestible canals. Chicken submarinos ferry onions, peppers, provolone, and roasted red pepper toward mouths in bread battleships ($5.99), and the chicken piccata builds a noodle nest for grilled chicken with linguini in creamy marinara sauce, capers, and broccoli ($5.79). Diners can nosh on traditional Italian flavors with a plate of spaghetti in meat sauce or fettuccine alfredo ($5.99). Fazoli's bountiful menu also bursts at the seams with pizzas, fresh salads, and a supply of breadsticks that's as bottomless as a trapdoor in the Oval Office.
Since its founding in 1967, Village Inn Pizza Parlor has changed quite a bit. Today, the servers dress in trendy black slacks instead of old-fashioned skirts, aprons, or the barrels made fashionable by the Depression. The honky-tonk piano players have been replaced with top DJs and live rock bands. Massive flat-screen televisions beam down on the newly renovated dining room, broadcasting games in HD clarity. Even the beer selection has been expanded to include a sweeping array of craft drafts from brewers such as Founders and Bell's.
But there are a few things that have remained the same over the years—friends still gather over pints of frosty draft beers to watch the game, and chefs still whip up crispy thin-crust pizzas topped with pure mozzarella cheese, housemade sauce, and fresh ingredients. They’ve added a variety of new items to the menu as well, including specialty pizzas with gluten-free crusts, grilled chicken paninis on artisan ciabatta bread, and Mexican-inspired specialties such as tender steak fajitas and cheesy enchiladas.
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 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.
In 1963, Ferdinando Pizzo brought his favorite recipes from Sicily to his new home, Fred’s Pizza. His son Sam operates the eatery today, having literally grown up there since he began washing dishes in the kitchen as a child. Sam oversees the kitchen crew as they craft a menu of old-country-inspired dishes, including pizza and pasta doused in sauce that's made in house. For cavatappi asiago, the cooks sauté grape tomatoes with spinach and fresh garlic, then bake the whole thing with a layer of asiago cheese. They stir pots of cream sauce, chop basil for pesto, and slice pizza to make them easy to eat and give third-grade math classes something to talk about.
Though many Michiganders risk their lives by swimming across the lake for a slice of Chicago-style pizza, Chicago 7 Pizzeria brings the Windy City's beloved deep dish closer to home. After making dough and sauce from scratch, cooks bake each 2-inch-thick pizza for up to 45 minutes—an authentic process that lets layers of crust and cheese cook over the bed of toppings hidden underneath. The pizzeria also specializes in hand-tossed pizzas topped with everything from barbecue chicken to artichoke hearts. Slices of the deep-dish and hand-tossed pies can be gobbled up at lunchtime, as can their burgers, subs, and hot dogs that, in another homage to the city across the lake, can also be served Chicago-style.
Joe Lombardo founded Joe's Pizza King almost 40 years ago, when he began feeding his family-recipe pizza to friends, neighbors, and local families. Today, Joe's son Jim keeps the heirloom recipes and family traditions alive, whipping up hearty subs and baked pastas, as well as tasty pizzas available in sizes up to 2 feet in diameter.