It all started in Davis, more than three decades ago. Steve Wilkinson opened a single pizzeria that became the model for multiple locations and eventually an entire franchise. To this day, he still runs that original Steve's Pizza, serving up the piping-hot pies that earned him his success. The menus include more than 30 toppings that can be mixed and matched on traditional or gluten-free crusts, as well as Italian pastas, hot sandwiches, and flightless hot wings.
The chefs inside Godfather’s Pizza’s kitchen crown original, thin, and gluten-free crusts with fistfuls of more than 15 meat and veggie toppings. Predesigned pies simulate the flavors of other foods in configurations such as the bacon-cheeseburger pizza with beef, bacon, cheddar, pickles, and onions. Sandwiches and hot wings round out feasts. In the dining room at some locations, ice clatters cheerily from Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, which dispense more than 100 flavors of soda as well as resumé advice for robot bartenders. Delivery drivers bustle past, filling orders or toting catered fare, and Godfather’s Pizza brims with happy chatter during field trips that introduce students to the pizza-creation process.
In 1968, a decade after moving from Carlantino, Italy, to the United States, the Guerrera family opened its first restaurant. Today, all three Roma's Pizza and Pasta locations boast family members behind the counter and Old-World recipes on the menu. Tony Guerrera can still be found in the kitchen tossing the dough used to build Roma's specialty pizzas, which range in intensity from the elegant Bianca made with oil, garlic, and cheese up to the mega meat-combo pie piled with seven types of meat. A slate of hearty pastas hewn from similarly traditional ingredients gives diners an opportunity to show off the retractable forks scientists implanted in their hands.
Though Serritella's Italian Restaurant has tripled in size since opening in 1965, its chefs are still serving many of the same original dinner recipes—including veal and chicken marsalas and cheese-laden parmigianas. Tomato-red walls preview baked lasagna and marinara-ladled pizzas strewn with inventive topping options such as clams, artichoke hearts, and fresh anchovies. A wine menu at the polished wooden bar quenches thirst, and vintage framed artwork can be searched for the artist's secretly imbedded ATM pin.
Hot and cold meats pile onto thick hoagie rolls at Tony Baloney’s Submarine Shops, where the flagship submarine sandwiches form an Italian-American trifecta with cheesy pizzas and spaghetti dishes. Throughout its 50-year history, the deli’s secret to success has remained unchanged: keep it simple. Traditional Italian cold cuts, ham and cheese, pastrami, and pepper-steak stand out among a familiar list of sandwich options, and spaghetti and meatballs continues to anchor the dinner menu. Glasses of wine wash down dinner entrees, and pitchers of beer give subs the chance to test their depth limits during lunchtime dives.
It is not just the pastas, sandwiches, and pizzas that keep guests coming back to Pete's Restaurant and Brewhouse and Original Pete's—the handcrafted beers also play a major role, quenching thirsts with flavors ranging from the Uptown blonde’s light layers of honey to the highly hoppy profile of the Skinner’s Horse IPA. Pete’s team keeps meals in balance by offering food-and-beer-pairing suggestions, assuring diners that the Midtown ale harmonizes with fish tacos and that the Old Town red—a malty, medium-bodied amber ale—improves coordination for slam-dunking meatballs.