The Keramidis family simmers freshly-cut basil in marinara sauce, filling George's Pizza & Gyros with the aromas of herbs. Eight other sauces dapple thin or deep-dish crusts, which they top with more than 30 toppings, from asiago cheese to hot cappicola. Greek influences shine through in five varieties of gyros stuffed into pita breads like poems from love-struck bakers. The Keramidis family supports community fundraising, and says they have donated more than 400 pizzas to various worthy causes.
Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco 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 cheeses.
Clad in all black, one of the behind-the-scenes staff stretches and tosses a ball of The Garlic Knot's fresh pizza dough. Once slathered in sauce, cheese, and any number of toppings, it slides into the stone-deck oven, alongside the eatery's eponymous garlic knots. New York–style pizzas fill out the menu, with specialty pies named after Big Apple landmarks, such as the Carnegie—a white pizza with chicken, broccoli and garlic—and the Stock Exchange with sausage, green pepper, and red onion. Diners can also choose from pasta dishes and made-to-order subs, and kids satisfy voracious appetites and learn to speak conversational Italian with the help of the children’s menu.
A decades-old recipe, dating back to the early days of Justin's Pizza, gets a hearty workout every day—each batch of dough and every ladle-full of sauce is made from a recipe that first sprung to life in the ‘70s. Fresh, flavorful toppings enhance the classic, time-tested pizzas, with traditional offerings standing alongside more unusual entries, such as sauerkraut and double-crust. As guests chow down on the savory pies, bottled and draft beers stand ready to quench thirst, ranging from Fat Tire and Corona to the Dollar Beer, which costs $1.
After spending years working for Dominos Pizza, Vince Schmuhl decided that he could do a better job of preparing and delivering quality pies to people's homes. He challenged the nationwide chain's dominance in the region by founding the first Blackjack Pizza on June 29, 1983.
Although delivering oven-fresh pies within 30 minutes was still a major goal for Schmuhl, he emphasized the importance of quality ingredients using sauce made from freshly packed tomatoes as well as hand-tossed dough that never sees the inside of a freezer or cryogenic chamber. This dedication to quality and speedy service allowed Blackjack Pizza to not only survive, but also thrive over the decades. The chain now includes more than 40 stores operating in four different states.
In addition to offering seven signature pies, Blackjack Pizza also allows customers to build their own order from crust to toppings. A choice of up to four savory, tangy, and piquant sauces form the base, topped with any of the 3 available cheeses, 7 meats, and 10 freshly diced vegetables. Regardless of the toppings, Blackjack Pizza respects the potential danger of food allergies by ensuring that none of its pies ever contain traces of MSG, peanuts, or peanut oil.
While the heart of Johnny Carino's menu is rooted in genuine Italian traditions, forward-thinking creativity has birthed what they like to call their signature dishes. Led by executive chef Chris Peitersen, the seasoned kitchen staff blends fresh ingredients along with extra time to create high-quality preparations. Diners will find entrees such as 16-layer lasagna with made-from-scratch sauce, and pizzas made with home-baked crust. Other signature choices include the all-natural beef tuscan ribeye, baked stuffed mushrooms topped with house lemon basil cream sauce, and tiramisu made from the ground up. Entrees can be paired any selection from Carino's extensive wine list and drink menu.