The chefs at La Bottega Mangia Bene toss dough high into the air, letting it billow softly as it falls back into their hands. They slather on marinara sauce and top the pies with homemade and imported ingredients such as fresh mozzarella, meatballs, and pepperoni. Their unbridled enthusiasm for authentic Italian cuisine is also apparent in pasta entrees that recall the Roman Colosseum’s penne-shaped columns or the stuffed ravioli that paves the streets of Florence. A rustic dining room houses groups for private parties, and the restaurant even allows kid chefs to commandeer its kitchens during make-your-own-pizza birthday parties. Hip shakers light up the dance floor to the sounds of live-music events and a cracking fireplace, and the romantic interior surrounds diners with floral arrangements, sandy hues, and polished-wood fixtures. The restaurant also boasts free parking at the back of the building.
Wings Plus offers an extensive menu of rib-sticking fare for lunch and dinner daily, featuring grilled meats, barbecued treats, and healthy eats. Its wings, slathered in any of the 18 savory, sweet, and spicy sauces like flaming honey barbecue or garlic parmesan, come in traditional or deboned varieties with your choice of dipping sauce. Start with an order of the fried ravioli for an Italian-inspired appetizer ($6.99), or claw your way into Maryland-style crab cakes for a fresh sea-treat ($9.99). Sandwiches ($5.99) and 12" pizzas ($7.99+) are served alongside healthy options like roasted chicken and salads. Add an order of redskin potato salad ($2.49+) or sweet potato fries ($3.99) to a customized cup ($4.99+) or 40-strong bucket of wings ($31.99). All of Wings Plus's fare is prepared fresh on site and whipped up fast to order for dine-in or carryout, making it a great option for harried families too busy to cook or all cooked-out after hosting dinner for grandma's rugby team.
The sauce-slingers at Joanne’s Gourmet Pizza craft a menu of doughed delights and appetizing entrees made with fresh, homegrown ingredients. Start with an appetizer of sautéed mushrooms ($6.95) before hanging a fang on one of the many gourmet pies, such as the margarita pizza ($8 for a 9”), the lasagna pizza ($8 for a 9”), or the bacon cheeseburger pizza ($9 for a 9”). The baked clam pie quells seafood cravings ($10 for a 9"), and the pineapple-and-ham speckled Hawaiian pizza ($9 for a 9”) treats tongues to a taste of Island fare without having to lick a VHS copy of Cast Away. Alternatives to crusted concoctions include pasta noodles, which can flaunt a number of sauces ranging from garlic and oil ($7.95) to bolognese ($10.95) and a selection of hearty entrees that include chicken marsala ($13.95) and meatball parmigiana ($15.95). Or exercise mastication muscles gnawing on a savory sandwich, such as the chicken bruschetta hero ($7.95) or sharpen incisors on a Greek salad (8.95).
You know you're on to something when your community votes to put you at the top. In Mineola Patch's 2012 Reader's Choice contest, fans selected Carlino's Restaurant as the best place to get Italian food in the area. As if that wasn't enough of an honor, the restaurant also won for Best Pizza. Hailing from a small town outside of Naples, Italy, the owner transported his native country's hospitality and love of food to New York City. Diners are treated like family as they indulge in authentic southern-Italian meals such as the spaghetti puttanesca with sautéed plum tomatoes, gaeta olives, garlic, anchovies, and capers, or the Sicilian Special pizza with sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and pepperoni.
The menu at Frankie & Fanucci's Wood Oven Pizzeria is dominated by the offerings from the authentic 800-degree wood-burning oven, which chars the tasty toppings melting against thin crust dough and crispy panini rolls. The simple margherita pizza consists of fresh mozzarella from Brooklyn, imported italian plum tomatoes, and fresh basil (16", $16.95). Personal pizzas measuring 10 inches entice eaters with a smaller-sized saucer, a whole-wheat crust option, and more table room to build napkin skyscrapers reinforced with forks ($9.95-$12.95). The wood oven also blisters hot-pressed chicken provolone panini and its mix of provolone cheese, tomatoes, caramelized onions, and sweet roasted-garlic dressing ($8.95). Opposing cool textures of the pear and gorgonzola salad allot a small forest of mixed greens topped with roasted walnuts and pear dressing to prepizza palettes ($8.50). Pasta, available at the Mamaroneck location, teams with the scratch-made Grandma's Sunday Sauce to create flavor-saturated entrees such as cheese ravioli ($13.95). The Hartsdale Village location, mentioned in a New York Times article, imparts passionate discussions of sweets through the nutella pizzetta, where the delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread smoothes over pizza crust before being struck with a vanilla ice-cream meteor ($7.50).
More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.