Colonel Eure opened his first pizza restaurant in 1964 and when time came to open another franchise five years later, he named it Gatti's Pizza in honor of his wife's maiden name. The Gatti's Pizza empire steadily expanded over the next four decades, thanks in part to a commitment to high-quality ingredients such as real cheese, yeast-risen dough made fresh daily, and a 16-ingredient secret sauce protected by Swiss bankers. Today, chefs prepare specialty pies such as the barbecue chicken and bacon double cheeseburger pizza and bake custom creations from a choice of 17 toppings and three crust options. Along with many other Gatti's locations, the Frankfort locale houses a big-screen TV, a game room, a moose calling room, and a full bumper-car track.
At Extreme Pizza, chefs take fresh ingredients and crusts baked in house, and turn them into never-before-seen pizza creations crowned with toppings such as mandarin oranges, black beans, and spicy tandoori sauce. Guests sink their teeth into regular, wheat, or gluten-free pies, and can eat at the restaurant or order their pies to go, and bake them at home. Toasty calzones, subs piled high with fillings, and sweet slices of cheesecake complete the menu.
The most difficult decision to be made at Giovannis Pizza is where to begin the meal. The buffet table includes not only pizza and pasta, but also a baked-potato bar, garlic bread, and a 30-item salad bar with housemade ranch and blue- cheese dressings. At any point in the meal, sweet cravings can find satisfaction in bowls of ice cream or squares of brownies. Diners who like to taunt hungry birds can take their plates to tables outside.
Even among Lexington's other historic buildings, Bellini's Italianette-style architecture stands out; perhaps because the building has been a city fixture for close to 150 years. This was a large draw for long-time friends Giancarlo Marletta and Nader Iweimrin when they started the restaurant some 10 years ago. But Bellini's has been a shared success. Chef Craig Devilliers deftly helms the kitchen and insures quality with a strict sustainability pledge: organic and locally sourced seasonal ingredients whenever possible. The result is a dynamic menu pairing rack of lamb and diver scallops with modern accents of basil relish, blackberry compote, and sweet candied fennel.
Roosters is both a popular stop for Kentucky sports fans and its players—it’s not unusual to spy one of the university’s basketball players perched at a table, wiping his hands after downing a large basket of wings. It's these wings, fried in soy oil with no trans fat and doused with 1 of 11 sauces, that command the most attention on a menu full of hand-breaded chicken fingers, thick burgers, and oven-baked subs. Their sauces run the gamut of heat, from mild teriyaki to medium-hot sweet thai chili to the Super Killer, the sauce that delivers more kick than a Rockette on a caffeine buzz.
Walls paneled in blond wood to match the tables and floors recall a modern-day Old West saloon, with a stone fireplace standing tall at one wall. After seeing a big win on one of the flat-screen televisions lining the walls, diners can take advantage of the lofted ceilings to create a victory pyramid.
Bolstered by a consistent stream of media praise, including a spotlight in the Daily Bruin in 2011, Extreme Pizza's thrill-seeking founders channel their penchant for outdoor adventure into a menu of healthy, creative pizzas. Their chefs slice veggies and twirl dough each day before molding pizzas such as the Paia Pie, a smorgasbord of hawaiian pineapple, canadian bacon, and mandarin oranges atop a bed of mozzarella and cheddar. The website conveniently displays approximate calorie counts to accommodate diets and phobias of eating foods containing prime numbers.
Patrons can carryout take and bake pizzas, or kids can blow through excess energy in the game area while adults scrutinize incoming broadcasts on TVs in the dining room.