The cooks at Lanesplitter bake up a menu of New York–style pizzas and pocket-like calzones, and bartenders at the three pub locations pour a large selection of microbrews. An army of nearly 30 meaty, veggie, and vegan toppings stands ready to occupy thin neapolitan or thick sicilian crusts in combinations such as the herbivore's spinach, mushrooms, onions, and olives ($23.50 for a 19-inch) or the garbage pie's heaping mélange of spiced meats and crisper-drawer items ($27.50 for a 19-inch). The bar's taps have recently flowed with Racer 5 by Bear Republic, E.J. Phair's doppelbock, and hand-pumped Bombay by Boat IPA from Moonlight Brewing Company. Some locations host art openings, where diners and drinkers may admire photography, paintings, or mosaics made entirely of anchovies.
Rotten City gives a green-thumbed go-ahead to chow down on any of its organically infused creations. Tip your cap to the funghi pie with roasted cremini mushrooms tossed about toasted garlic chips under a blanketing trio of mozzarella, provolone, and parmigiano cheeses ($23 per pie, $3.50 per slice), or fall mouth first into a marinara pie featuring garden-rich basil, fresh thyme, and toasted garlic splashed with extra-virgin olive oil and salted by the sea ($19 per pie, $3 per slice). The bianco verde is a fan favorite, with its potent combination of fresh mozzarella, ricotta, parmigiano, arugula pesto, chili flakes, and olive oil. Carnivores can hang a fang on hand-crafted salami, crater-laden sausage, and salt-cured anchovies for an extra $3 per ingredient.
For a taste of Africa in North Oakland, try MLK Café. Offering fine Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine as well as American favorites such as pizza, sandwiches, and chicken wings, MLK Café serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Friday nights are jazz nights at MLK Café, so you can come down and enjoy a musical act with your meal to get your weekend in gear. It's easy to get to, as well, located just a block away from the MacArthur BART station. When the music isn't playing, the TV is going—so come by and watch a game when you're in the neighborhood. MLK Café will be there to welcome you with open arms.
White Christmas lights and a chandelier cast warm glows on the hardwood floors and white-linen cloths in Viva Vocé Café’s small dining room. Behind this elegant scene, chefs in the kitchen craft a lineup of traditional Italian dishes using simple, seasonal ingredients, including locally grown produce and quality olive oils. Chefs whip up caprese salads, margherita pizzas, pastas, and seafood entrees, which adults can pair with wine while their kids enjoy a beverage such as fruit juice, milk, or sippy cups of espresso.
Cybelle’s Pizza has dampened hunger pangs with a menu of gooey New York–style pizza, calzones, and Italian pasta favorites for more than three decades. Staff invite diners to pick up or receive deliveries of pies devised from a selection of four sauces, five types of cheese, and 35 toppings—with such mainstays as pepperoni and meatballs, and unique offerings that include corn and a medley of clam and garlic—or opt for 1 of the restaurant’s 20 preconceived specialty pizzas to avoid labor disputes with overworked brain cells. The restaurant's calzones envelop sauce along with two types of cheese and chosen toppings, and pasta dishes and appetizers, such as oven-baked hot buffalo wings, round out meals.
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.