Inspired by the artists living around him in Laguna Beach, Sid Fanarof sought to do something creative in the kitchen. The result was zpizza, which now has locations across the globe, each filled with bustling chefs experimenting with ingredients traditionally associated with Indian, Californian, and Mexican cuisine. Pizzas use organic vegetables and skim-milk mozzarella, and their organic wheat flour bakes over an open flame to a crisp finish. “If you don’t hear the crunch, it’s not a zpizza,” Fanarof says of the crusts on his website. Chefs first slather the crusts with sweet basil pesto, roasted-garlic sauce, or organic tomato sauce. Their hands flutter across, sprinkling on fistfuls of toppings such as MSG-free pepperoni, additive-free sausage, three types of mushrooms, roasted eggplant, and pine nuts. Vegan cheese and gluten-free crusts allow everyone to enjoy the pizzas except for those trying to hide the fact that they superglued their mouths closed.
Mangia's clever chefs cook up a panoply of American and Italian delights, including the signature Chicago–style deep-dish pizza replete with towering, buttery crust and heaps of cheese and tomato sauce. Build your own circular masterpiece by slathering toppings such as chicken, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, and more onto signature stuffed ($5.10/6", $19.25/14") or traditional thin-crust ($4.35/6", $13.65/14") pies, flat enough to slide into mouths or under doors. East Coast eaters can enjoy the grilled rib eye or grilled-chicken philly cheesesteak, served on a 7-inch roll with white american cheese ($7.29), and those craving south-of-the-border sustenance can warm insides with a bowl of tortilla soup ($4.75). A selection of soft drinks ($2.15) and desserts, including Mangia's Ooey Gooey brownie ($3.95, $5.45 with ice cream), round out the meals.
Papa G’s menu of pizza and Italian fare packs more hearty goodness onto each page than Abe Lincoln had money packed into his top hat. Preheat your mouth oven with mozzarella sticks ($3.99 for a half order) before letting it decoct the Big Papa pizza, which is stacked with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, ripe olives, onions, and green peppers ($19.99 for a large). For those who would rather choose their own pie toppers, Papa G’s has a list of more than 10 options, which includes zucchini, spinach, anchovies, and Canadian bacon—the bacon that only grows above the border. Classic Italian delights include lasagna ($10.49), eggplant parmesan ($8.99), and fettuccini alfredo ($9.99 with breaded chicken).
At Garlic Breath Pizza Company, chefs roll crust by hand from dough risen and kneaded from scratch each morning. Each pizza dons inventive toppings, evoking the flavors of tacos and chili dogs. Some pies pair tater tots with onions, or celebrate vegetables in the case of the Tree Hugger pie with tomatoes, mushrooms, and peppers. Pastas, such as chicken fettuccine alfredo, salads, and hot, hearty sandwiches help round out the menu, which Garlic Breath delivers throughout Round Rock free of charge.
The brother-sister team behind Rudino's Pizza and Grinders opened the eatery's first location in 1995 in Cary, North Carolina. They wanted to create a restaurant that incorporated an onsite bakery into its design, keeping the kitchen full of fresh, housemade dough for pizzas and sandwiches. It was a concept that proved successful, and now Rudino's has locations all across the country.
In these kitchens, cooks coat crusts with a sauce based on the duo's family recipe, and then layer on any number of ingredients—including fresh basil, jalapeños, and bacon. They also slide open-faced grinders into ovens after loading them with such sandwich fixings as italian sausage, salami, and fresh vegetables, which are never frozen, canned, or taken from a neighbor's crisper.
A Texas institution for more than a quarter-century, DoubleDave's Pizzaworks dishes up a mouthwatering menu of freshly made pies and handcrafted pizzeria favorites. DoubleDave's expert tossers hand-hurl fresh dough twice daily before crafting cheese ($7.99+/medium) and specialty pizzas ($12.49+/medium) topped with scratch-made sauce and freshly-cut veggies. Quell the rumbling tummies of 12 friends or three linebackers with a dozen signature pepperoni rolls ($15/dozen), or dive face-first into a savory array of DoubleDave's other homemade favorites that include philly cheesesteak, garlic spinach, and classic veggie strombolis ($6.29+/medium). Garden-noshing gastronomes can spear forks into an endless bounty of all-you-can-eat salad ($3.99+), and owners of apple-cheeked sweet teeth frown upon rebellious orders of spellcheck-snubbing Cinnamonstyxz ($3.99+). Pricing varies by location.