Question Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar chefs on how their pizzas acquire a rich, smoky flavor, and they'll point you toward the wood-fired oven that burns brightly near the restaurant's main entrance. Inside its superheated walls, pans of crusty crostini, lasagna, and thin-crust pizzas bake at high temperatures that seal in juices and bring out flavor. After checking on pizzas, chefs return to the kitchen, where they fold fresh herbs, premium meats, and fresh seafood into the pastas and regional Italian classics lauded by reporters from Ethos magazine.
Diners at Ambrosia await their meals amid the high ceilings, exposed-brick walls, and rustic accents of a multilevel dining room. Behind an antique wood bar, servers blend specialty cocktails and uncork bottles from the restaurant?s extensive Italian wine list, which was honored with a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. On the first Wednesday of the month, staffers host a wine event in their private tasting room, where guests intent on honing their wine skills can learn about different varietals or practice juggling water balloons filled with fine champagne.
Pizza Pipeline's menu overflows with original specialty pizzas, which include the meat-strewn Taste of Sicily and the savory Pesto Roasted Garlic Supreme. Diners can chew through traditional or gluten-free crusts and eat pies decked out with premium sauces such as Cajun Fire or Tomato Garlic. Alternatively, guests can bite into hefty subs or sides of chicken bites.
At Cozmic, the culinary team kneads organic flour made from local Willamette Valley wheat into crusts that are brushed with buttery extra-virgin olive oil. Then, they pile on toppings and set the pies to bake on 700-degree stones. The list of toppings?many of which are also organic, such as the apples?breaks traditional pizza boundaries by including unique options such as kale, and vegetarian meats, which offer an alternative to the eatery?s local sausage, smoked pork, and pepperoni.
These Jersey-Eugene-style fusion pies are the brainchild of Kirk Giudici, also the founder of Rising Moon Organics. When Kirk decided to embark on a second organic foods endeavor by opening a pizzeria, he found himself drawn to a vintage 1945 building that was an Edsel car dealership back when man didn?t travel only by hovercraft. While renovating the 4,000-square-foot auto display room, the same environmental principles that led Kirk to organics undergirded his decorating approach of using only recycled and repurposed materials. As a result, diners sip their homemade fountain sodas and Oregonian microbrews while perched at a bar made from a shuffleboard and lit with dryer-drum light fixtures from Kirk?s Laundromat.
The restaurant space, massive enough to have once housed a fleet of automobiles, enabled Kirk to create a stage dubbed The Edsel, which has attracted national acts such as Michelle Shocked, The Be Good Tanyas, and eight-time Grammy Award winner Marcia Ball. In addition to musical acts, the pizzeria?s calendar is full of events such as Science Pub, when tipplers learn about topics such as why it?s impossible to teleport your clothes along with your body.
Named for the famed expedition that trekked across the continent in search of the country's tastiest arugula, Lewis & Clark Catering celebrates the culinary landscape of the Pacific Northwest with locally sourced feasts of succulent seafood, sustainable meats, and fresh veggies, each created in-house by gourmet-minded chefs. The company's ample banquet space provisions patrons with seating for over 200 guests, with a full service bar, dance floor, patio, two separate dining areas, and picturesque views overlooking the Willamette River. On Fridays, the caterers open their doors to individual diners for a seasonal four-course meal, bolstered by live music and wine pairings chosen for their complementary bouquets and the past entrée experience listed on their resumes.
Though images of collegiate and Olympic athletes adorn Track Town Pizza, the 100-seat pizzeria's true stars are back in the kitchen. There, the staff has crafted pies the same way since 1977, topping from-scratch dough with housemade sauce, fresh produce, and more than 20 topping combos.
Many of Track Town's specialties pay homage to the eatery's track-and-field theme, including the Pole Vault, whose vegetarian-friendly medley includes cooked tomatoes and roasted-red-pepper pesto. Others just celebrate rich flavor, such as the Beef Taco, a Mexican-inspired mix featuring refried beans, seasoned beef, chips, and enchilada sauce.
Specialties aside, Track Town's culinary team gives diners a chance to create their own recipe from nearly 30 toppings, including smoked oysters and banana wax peppers. Breadsticks, wings, and customizable salads round out the pizzeria's menu, whose edibles can be complemented with a quintet of wines, 11 draft beers, or a carafe of marinara sauce.
No man is an island, but Mazzi's proves that an island can be a man's muse. Since 1970, founder Frank Ernandes has looked to his father's former home?Favignana, an island off of western Sicily?for culinary inspiration. His menu prioritizes authenticity in both flavor and preparation, relying on locally sourced ingredients and homestyle cooking methods to give entrees their rustic edge. Before being crushed into the house pesto sauce or edible confetti, basil leaves arrive from the restaurant's own farm. Tomatoes and vegetables reach the kitchen from other nearby harvests. And the bread, fettuccine, and sausage are all housemade.
Mazzi's design also recalls its pastoral island roots. Around a villa-like exterior, blossoms cascade from hanging flowerpots and water burbles down the stone steps of a fountain. Stained-glass depictions of vines and grapes spiral on the windows, looking in on the dining room and its two fireplaces?glowing fixtures that helped Mazzi's earn a spot on Yahoo! Voices' list of Eugene's most romantic restaurants. The venue is no stranger to awards for its food, either. In 2011, it won second place in the Register-Guard's Italian category and took the same spot in Eugene Weekly's The Best of Eugene 2012?2013.