Tossing pizzas and slinging Italian fare in Evergreen Park since 1980, the Barraco family has since extended its cheese-drenched reach across south and west Chicagoland with the help of a winsome menu. Deep-dish pizza ($12.30–$18.55) floods a dough basin with Olympic size pools of cheese and other mix-'em-ins. Diners embark on transatlantic journeys with each bite of the Around the World pizza ($10.95–$22.30), with a gustatory Baedeker of sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers. Because it takes 25–30 minutes for pizzas to bake and compose adequate love sonnets to ovens, parties can quell impatient bellies with a roster of appetizers, such as fried and stuffed artichoke hearts ($8) or breaded mushrooms ($7.25). Alternatively, diners can dip into noncylindrical fare, such as the chicken linguine pesto ($18.50) on the pasta menu, the grilled tilapia dinner ($16.75) on the specialties menu, or a savory selection of rhombuses on the complimentary geometry tests.
Cavatappi’s chow connoisseurs transplant Italy’s savory culinary traditions onto an extensive menu of pastas, pizzas, and more. Kick off taste-bud treks with the antipasto italiano, featuring a smorgasbord of cold cuts and cheeses coupled with giardinera and mixed olives ($11), and then flavor-surf the waves of brasato al barolo con polenta—rump roast marinated for three days in barolo wine ($15)—or gnocchi alla bava, homemade potato dumplings in fontina-cheese fondue ($11).
Family owned for over 35 years! The tradition began when Angelo opened the doors in 1976, his sons Larry & Peter took over a few years later. From there they have expanded to 9 family owned locations and 9 franchises. All of the franchise owners continue the tradition of family owned and operated restaurants.
Choice-meat maestros at both Stefanelli's new location in Lockport and longstanding shop in Blue Island stock shelves with italian sausages, imported wines and cheeses, and fresh carry-out-menu items and catering platters. The breaded eggplant sandwich ($4.99) slumbers under a blanket of red sauce and cheese, and the muffolatto sandwich ($6.99) dresses to the nines in a three-piece suit of hot capicola, ham, and mortadella, garnished with a corsage of genoa salami. Cap off meals with a traditional cannoli ($1.49) picked fresh from an Italian cannoli tree. Alternatively, the catering menu ratchets up proportions with platters of pasta, chicken entrees, and sandwiches such as the torta round sub ($29.99), sized to feed 10 people or an entire convention of toddlers. The full pan of baked mostaccioli ($39.99) arrives topped with cheese and a desire to feed at least 20 people, and the half-pan of chicken or sausage vesuvio ($29.99) feeds 10–15 people and comes sidekicked with italian potatoes and mushrooms drizzled in a white-wine sauce.
The Original Papa Joe’s Italian Restaurant’s menu advertises a bevy of fresh pastas and classic Italian entrees featuring marsala and lemon butter sauces, zesty marinara, tenderly cooked chicken, beef medallions, and milk-fed Provimi veal. Thin- and deep-crust pizzas can be decorated with a combination of a dozen fresh toppings, and savory meatball sandwiches vie with house-made lasagna for the chance to kiss taste buds. A roster of 20 wines and a dozen different beers helps patrons wash down generous forkfuls of chicken parmigiana, manicotti, and calamari.
The rules to Nonna’s Challenge are deceptively simple: eat two slices in half an hour. Every last bit of pizza must be finished, and you can only get up from the table to refill your drink. So what’s the catch? Well, for starters, the slices are gargantuan––each constitutes a quarter of a pie and measures nearly an inch thick. None of this could dissuade pizza aficionado Tim Brown, who polished off two slices in less than four minutes. Thankfully, not all meals at Nonna’s Pizza have to be so intense. Though the pizzeria has been serving up enormous slices for more than four decades, its menu has a lot more to offer. Hearty pastas, 8-inch Italian sandwiches, and sauce-slathered wings are just some of the dishes that fill tables beside the dining room’s large picture windows. Nonna’s even brews a special house cola, which gets its distinctive spice from being fired in the same oven as the pizzas.