Since 1981, the ovens of Michaelangelo's Pizza have produced piping-hot pizzas piled with a variety of toppings. Sausage, pepperoni, olives, and pineapple arrive on delectable thin crusts. Meanwhile, pasta sauces coat lasagna, spaghetti, and ravioli. Steak sandwiches, hamburgers, and meatball sandwiches pair well with beers such as Peroni, Heineken, and Miller.
From humble beginnings as a busboy at the age of 15, the eponymous owner of Pizzeria Scotty has spent nearly 20 years sharing his signature takes on pizza, pasta, and sandwiches from an outpost on Oklahoma Avenue. Scotty designed his restaurant to specialize in carryout and delivery services, streamlining the kitchen to efficiently turn out specialty pies on freshly made dough and Wisconsin cheese grated straight from the state's constitution. Although Pizzeria Scotty is under new management as of July 1st, the new owner, Travis Puschnig, vowed to keep everything the same. Guests can fill out their orders with a wide range of crowd-pleasing sides, including the popular deep-fried garlic bread sticks, savory wands of dough basted with garlic butter and dusted with romano cheese.
Portabella Bakery & Cafe's red-brick oven dispenses flame-kissed pizzas while chefs stack meats on sandwiches and wrap sugary dough around traditional Italian pastries. With more than a decade of experience in the Italian restaurant business, the Matera family prances down the kitchen’s aisles, piling gourmet toppings such as feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts onto personal pizzas and focaccia paninis.
Sourdough bowls brim with an ever-shifting selection of house-made soups, and the bakery’s glass displays showcase muffins, cannolis, and bagels affectionately modeled after Italian moped wheels. Cups of Seattle's Best Coffee, bottles of domestic and imported beers, and glasses of white and red wines rest on wooden tabletops, and waiters reenact the burning of Rome by pausing to play the fiddle beside a roaring fireplace.
Hard as it is to hold off on the pizzas at Tarantino, it might be worth it if it means a chance to try the appetizers. Diners can begin by splitting orders of mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings, or eggplant strips. Then it's time to dig into one of the specialty pies, such as the Mexican pizza: mozzarella and cheddar cheese topped with ground beef, black olives, and onion. Pastas include lasagna, mostaccioli, and ravioli, the latter of which comes stuffed with meat, spinach, or cheese, and never a note that says, "IOU one ravioli stuffing."
Within the cream-colored brick exterior of a century-old city building, Papa Luigi’s II marries an Italian restaurant with a bowling alley. Amid the wood paneling, wine-red carpet, and chandeliers of the dining room, taste buds can warm up with the house’s favorite appetizer—sicilian eggplant lathered in Papa’s special marinara sauce. Thin-n-crispy pizzas, which Papa Luigi’s II has been perfecting for 23 years, come loaded with canadian bacon or shrimp.
After meals, guests can adjourn to the newly remodeled, smoke-free bowling alley. Here, shining orbs hurtle down 10 lanes whose automatic bumpers forgive shaky aim, and an automatic scoring system lets bowlers tuck their personal mathematicians back into the trunks of their cars. Between rounds, players can refuel at a pub-style bar by tipping back chilled mugs brimming with imported tap beers and gazing at a trio of plasma televisions. Those seeking a new arena for competition can drop by the game room or rent the upstairs gym for shooting hoops.
The oven at Alphonso's the Original ejects pies of freshly kneaded dough slathered in scratch-made sauce and gooey Wisconsin cheese. Owners Tim and Corey inherited their century-old recipe as well as a treasure map to a chest of golden pepperoni passed down from the restaurant's namesake, Alphonso. Pies bear loads of juicy Chicago sausages alongside a medley of veggies, sandwiches hug hand-pressed italian sausage, and salads shimmy under a hail of homemade croutons.