Lamppost Pizza understands its target audience. The pizzeria’s tagline, "for those with a taste for great pizza and sports,” beckons to an easy-going crowd, and then the chefs follow through by serving up creative pies with toppings such as jalapeño, pepperoni, avocado, and fresh garlic as diners watch the game. Specialty pizzas include the four-meat, four-veggie The Whole Nine Yards, as well as the artichoke-spangled Pesto Supreme. Sandwiches are served hot or cold, and the appetizer menu includes more wings than the vision board of a penguin.
Numero Uno's menu stomps out stomach-dwelling grumbles with a mélange of pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Specialty pizzas such as the Slaughterhouse 5, packed with mozzarella, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers ($5.95–$16.95), showcase enough sliceable sustenance to feed a group of friends or one knowledge-starved librarian. Patrons can customize their own pies ($4.25+) by loading a Chicago-style pan crust or New York-style thin crust with a choice of more than 20 toppings including fresh basil, roasted red peppers, and Canadian-style bacon. Numero Uno also shakes palates from their stupor with classic Italian fare such as a lasagna made using a recipe from 1973 ($9.95) and a house-made meatball sub ($6.95) made by cooks that have met 38-year-olds.
At first glance, South Coast Pizza Parlors might look like an ordinary family pizza joint. The requisite video and redemption games chirp and ring near the entrance. Six big-screen televisions flicker with sporting events. But the difference is in the pizza--the kitchen crew crafts dough and sauce fresh every single day, drizzling pies with classic toppings such as green peppers and pepperoni, as well as more non-traditional options including vegan cheese and soy chorizo.
Proprietor and chef David Myers has never been a man to cut corners in the kitchen. He honed his attention to detail while working for Chicago's legendary Charlie Trotter and French gourmand Daniel Boulud, and then went on to earn praise of his own, including a Michelin star for his Sona Restaurant in West Hollywood.
At Chef Myers' Italian-spun invention, Pizzeria Ortica, patrons can peer at the open kitchen and watch as his team carefully assembles locally sourced and artisanal ingredients such as crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, cured pork cheek, and fennel pollen. An 800-degree wood-burning oven adds crispy finishing touches to Neapolitan-style pizzas built atop handmade dough, served alongside traditional antipastos and steaming portions of pasta.
A rustically modern interior of exposed white brick and large, glowing overhead lights offers a perfect complement to the restaurant's simple yet gourmet cuisine, as does a selection of Prohibition-era-inspired cocktails. Behind the bar, mixologists muddle fruit and herbs culled fresh from the farmers' market, and then mix them with gins, scotches, and whiskeys.
An open-flame hearth is at the heart of Cosi's kitchen space, giving sandwiches and pizzas their toasty crunch. But there's a lot more to the menu than what happens under the flame. The T.B.M. sandwich piles tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella inside warm flatbread and the tandoori chicken sandwich brightens up grilled chicken breast with red peppers. Even the salads make for hearty lunches; the cobb mixes greens with grilled chicken breast, bacon, and gorgonzola in a sherry-shallot vinaigrette. The crown of any meal here is undoubtedly the s'mores, which you get to roast over a tabletop fire pit before dragging your sleeping bag into the kitchen for a night's rest.
At Georgio's Pizza & Subs, the Meat Lovers pizza has to contend with the Athena: a pesto-covered disk decked in roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, eggplant, feta cheese, and pine nuts. The Athena is just one of four vegetarian combinations that share menu space with 10 other specialty pies, such as the barbecue chicken and the classic margherita. Though their topping options span a wide spectrum, all of them lie atop hand-spun, housemade dough.
The word housemade permeates much of the Italian menu, preceding several of its pasta sauces, the meatballs in its submarine sandwiches, and the breadsticks in its appetizer section. Salads, calzones, and calamari constitute savory side plates, and slices of original New York–style cheesecake conclude meals with the rich decadence of some French palace.