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.
At any given moment, there might be three kinds of bars operating inside Amalfi Oceanside. One produces signature cocktails ready to be sipped in view of the Narragansett beach. Another, which springs up on Sundays, allows visitors to concoct their preferred variants on a bloody mary to pair with their brunches. The third is a raw bar, where lobster tails sit alongside native littleneck clams and oysters that were farmed locally, rather than shipped via friendly pelican.
These seafood samples function as chilled appetizers for a host of oceanic entrees. Pasta options such as shrimp scampi and the seafood fra diavolo—mussels, clams, shrimp, lobster, and marinara sauce over linguine—complement plates of baked cod and pan-seared scallops. Lobster sliders and beer-battered-fish tacos also augment a list of burgers and sandwiches. Breaking from the maritime theme, rib-eye steaks and grilled specialty pizzas round out the menu in addition to slow-roasted cuts of prime rib, which are only available on Fridays—like a feeling of relief among America's work force.
Had you arrived at Mews Tavern in 1947, you would find fishermen swapping tall stories over pints. Things have changed since then: today, you'll find fishermen and everyone else swapping tall stories over pints. The general-purpose pub has 69 beers on tap, more than 200 varieties of single-malt scotches, and a menu of timeless American bar food.
Burgers comprise the heart of that menu, ranging from the Tangled Up in Blue burger topped with bleu cheese and bleu-cheese mayo to the salmon burger with ginger, green onions, and soy sauce. The tap selection complements these specialties with microbrews from Maryland, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, as well as bigger-name craft brews from the likes of Lagunitas, Breckenridge, and Dogfish.
They say that good things come to those who wait. But at Providence Coal Fired Pizza, you only have to wait four minutes for what are perhaps the most distinctive pizzas in the state. This is because of what's billed as Rhode Island's first and only coal-fired oven, which crisps and chars the pies' air-thin dough over anthracite coals that heat up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. There are nearly a dozen specialty pizzas to choose from, with unique toppings such as house-pulled pork and fresh clams shucked daily, though these aren't all that's prepared in the namesake oven. The baked goat-cheese appetizer is, too, as well as crispy wings seasoned with sea salt and rosemary that are said to taste just like roasted chicken.
The culinary construction crew at PD's Pizza builds a menu of 27 types of specialty pizzas from homemade dough, tangy sauce, and nearly 20 toppings. Taste buds revel in Greek-inspired pies, which range from an eggplant-and-meatball moussaka to a Mediterranean loaded with feta cheese, olives, and sautéed spinach. Flying saucers of ham and pineapple transport tongues to Hawaii, and the Pesto Inferno's spicy mix of jalapeños, banana peppers, and red-pepper flakes makes tongues hot enough to fry eggs. New York–style garlic knots twist garlic bread's flavor into a sailor-friendly shape, and house salads arrive to tables topped in five types of veggies and a choice of seven dressings, including blue cheese, light italian, and house-made honey mustard.
Christie Flanagan has been cooking for more than 20 years, and along the way has managed to conquer one of the country's favorite foods: the pizza. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and the owner of Napolitano's Brooklyn Pizza, she and her team build their New York- and Sicilian-style pies from housemade dough and pizza sauce every day. An array of slices is always available, while pizzas such as the barbecue chicken-topped Cyclone or the Luna Park "White" Pie with ricotta come as full pies. The team's calzones and stromboli capture those fresh pizza flavors in appetizing pockets and the Brooklyn deep-fried calzone adds to the long list of talents inherent in very hot oil.