HotBox Pizza’s cooks adorn three varieties of hand-tossed dough canvases with six savory sauces, cheeses, and 26 toppings to create a menu of dine-in, takeout, and delivery pies. The signature HotBox combines double spicy pepperoni and banana peppers, and Big Al’s Fredo fights off pernicious poultry cravings with a combination of chicken, roma tomatoes, fresh spinach, and banana peppers. Aspiring pizza architects can blueprint their own pies by laying down traditional, thin, or multigrain foundations and selecting from six varieties of sauce-carpeting. Doughy disks simmer with mozzarella, ricotta, Wisconsin cheddar, or fontina cheeses to hold down up to four toppings such as pepperoni and artichoke hearts. Circle-eaters can also save room in their knapsacks or hollow shoe-heels for fresh salad and bundles of breadsticks that come with nacho-cheese, pizza, ranch, or garlic sauce, and wash down stubborn bites with refreshing slurps of soda.
Every day, the chefs at Cool River Pizza whip up a fresh batch of dough and bake it into pizzas, with gluten-free options available, topped with Real California Cheese and house-made sauce infused with more than seven herbs and spices. Freshly sliced vegetables and gourmet meats also crown specialty pies such as the Cool Ranch chicken, which plays hooky behind the oven to show off its ranch sauce and garlic chicken. To wash down the pies, pasta dishes, and salads, bartenders pour pints and pitchers of brews such as Coors Light, Sam Adams, and Blue Moon as diners watch sports games on large-screen TVs, play Wii on a 100-in. TV screen, hang out on the open patio, or live out fantasies of ancient gladiators' quiet evenings at home with a collection of board games.
Boredom is a foreign concept at Stacked Pickle. From its lengthy and eclectic menu to the games broadcasted on 92-inch projectors, the dynamic eatery provides something for every taste. Diners can bite into one of nine half-pound burgers, wrap their hands around spicy-chicken tacos, or build a castle with their golden-fried fish and chips, all while admiring professional athletes run, jump, and score on one of many 50-inch plasma TVs. On some nights, live bands storm the eatery’s intimate stage, providing a soundtrack to bargoers as they take swigs from a bottle of Blue Moon or gracefully sip a glass of wine. In the warmer seasons, Stacked Pickle opens its doors to nature and encourages patrons to enjoy their meals and drinks on the spacious outdoor patio.
Vienna Frozen Custard has something of a magnetic quality. Out for a summer stroll, individuals often find that their feet have suddenly carried them directly to the ice-cream stand. Whether it’s the 20 different flavors that range from classics such as chocolate to unique treats such as pineapple choco chip, the tasty toppings that go on top, or a mysterious dessert-powered tractor beam that draws people in, Vienna Frozen Custard serves as a refuge during the summer heat. The stand also serves snacks that include nachos, pizza, and hot dogs.
Known for its selection of frozen yogurt treats, Yo Paradise also helps sate cool cravings by whipping up refreshing bubble teas and servings of coffee. The sleek yogurt emporium sports self-serve machines that dispense 16 flavors of frozen yogurt and words of worldly advice for weary customers in need of cooldowns. Peanut-butter, georgia-peach, and vanilla-bean-latte varieties ooze into cups before they're slathered in fresh fruits, candy, and nuts from the toppings bar.
Since human mouth sizes are as diverse as human nationalities, El Bodegon caters to food-holes large and small with a rich menu of small-plate tapas and large-plate feasts. Provoke your bullish appetite by waving a starting round of bite-sized, veggie-friendly Spanish potato omelet slices ($2.50 each); rice-filled blood sausages served on rustic bread ($2.50 per slice); and petite servings of seafood paella with rice, shrimp, mussels, scallops, baby octopus, and saffron calamari ($2.95 per small plate) in front of it. Once you've packed the tabletop with a few empty plates, fill up the remaining space with robust entrees like a dozen steamed mussels in vinaigrette ($9.95), Venezuelan King's Arepas packed with shredded beef and avocado ($5.45), and rustic bocatas (Spanish for "sandwich" and German for "the vague suspicion that your roommate is mooching your shampoo") with Manchego cheese on crusty bread infused with tomatoes and olive oil ($4.95). To keep it properly Spanish without resorting to castanets or artificially heating up the blood with microwaves, pair your repast with some South American wine or homemade Sangria El Bodegon ($5 per glass, $18 pitcher).