After enjoying a pint of craft beer at Hopjacks Filling Station, there’s a good chance you’ll find a cold one in their refrigerator, ready to be taken home. This hybrid retail store, beer garden, and café has 33 handpicked taps and hundreds of specialty beers and wines from around the world. Servers fill glasses and growlers with favorites from Pensacola Bay Brewery and limited seasonal and obscure beers alongside plates of casually upscale pub fare. Seated at tall chairs, patrons enjoy bites of charcuterie plates and toasty sandwiches, from genoa salami to roasted duck, at long, glossy tables in the center of the room. Diners can also wander outside to eat, drink, and set off post-meal bottle rockets on the patio.
Drawing upon decades of experience, the chefs at Guglielmo's Italian Grill & Pizza blend fresh ingredients into daily-made pasta, dough and sauce to craft a menu of authentic Italian cuisine. Bruschetta alla toscana antipasto beckons dinner parties to share bites and play games of Jenga with tuscan bread brushed in olive oil and topped with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. Bolognese sauce drizzles over pasta shells stuffed with ricotta cheese, while veal marsala tells taste buds the story of sautéed mushrooms, wine sauce, and walking 5 miles to school through 3 feet of parade confetti. For piccante gourmet pizza, culinary artisans slather 12-inch dough tapestries with tomato sauce, and then sprinkle on cheese, mushrooms, italian sausage, and pepperoni. Green vines cut across the casual dining room's archways, where patrons sip house wine in comfy booths or highlight the pages of their mouth's instruction manual at tables painted in the glow of wall sconces.
The chefs at Bella Luna Pizzeria like to get creative in the kitchen, dreaming up unusual names for their pies—such as Mona Lisa and The Vatican—and tossing their thin New York–style crusts with unique toppings such as barbecue pork and andouille sausage. They even extend their culinary expertise toward vegan pizzas, topping them with dairy-free cheese and fresh vegetables. When they’re not perfecting their pies, the chefs keep busy slicing up meats for crunchy hero sandwiches and whipping up meatballs for spaghetti dinners. As the chefs bustle around the kitchen, customers await their meals in the bright dining room over pitchers of draft beers and bottles of sparkling champagne.
The balcony at Helen Back Again affords views of bustling Palafox Place below. As guests sun and people-watch, bartenders keep busy doling out ice-cold beers. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, fresh ingredients are tossed onto award-winning pizzas with a butter garlic crust lauded by writers from Esquire. Helen Back Again caters to bar and restaurant employees, and they have a deep and abiding appreciation for the military. Open 7 days a week, they host live entertainment as well as Military Night, Guys Night, Ladies Night, Bike Night, and Sin Night, in addition to broadcasting all sports games on a collection of HD televisions.
At Papa's Pizza, a family of pie-tossing perfectionists shares its legacy with a menu of classic Sicilian recipes and New York–style pizzas. Dough artists immortalize notable descendants of shoe-shaped landmasses, adorning the Sophia Loren pie with spinach, onions, green peppers, black olives, and mushrooms ($18.99 for 14”). The Frank Sinatra croons with its quartet of savory meats ($18.99 for 14”), challenging chompers who enjoy the lighter crunch of a thin-crust cheese pizza ($13.99 for 14”, $15.99 for 18”). Other hot, made-to-order edibles include strombolis ($6.50), which marry ground beef and mozzarella in a ceremony more appetizing than a wedding held inside of a gingerbread church.
The friendly pie purveyors at Vitolli's hand-toss New York–style pizzas in front of yearning customers who peer into the open kitchen. Customize a 14-inch or 18-inch pizza with your choice of more than 20 toppings ($10.99–$17.99), from regular toppings such as Canadian bacon and banana peppers to specialty selections ($1 extra per topping) such as artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. A 16-inch whole stuffed “really stuffed” pizza ($27) can be filled with five or more of your favorite pizza supplements, making it an ideal way to smuggle toppings past pepperoni-sniffing dogs. The pizzeria's large menu also offers a variety of unpizzas, with the abundant array of Italian favorites including a meatball sandwich topped with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella ($5.95) and lemon-and-garlic-shrimp pasta in a crispy bacon alfredo sauce ($11.75). Supplement the feasting by flooding your gullet with a domestic bottle of brew ($2.75) or a soft drink ($1.75) that won’t challenge you to a fight for calling it “soft.”