Rosati?s Pizza's history dates back to the early 1900s, when a recent Italian immigrant named Ferdinand Rosati moved from New York to Chicago with the dream of opening a restaurant. His first attempt was modest?with Ferdinand simultaneously fulfilling the duties of chef, server, dishwasher, and host?but quickly gained popularity for its crispy-thin-crust pizzas, originally served as complimentary appetizers. Encouraged by the public's response to the pies, Ferdinand and his son, Sam, decided to focus their efforts on opening a true pizzeria.
Today, at Rosati's Pizza locations across the country, plumes of heat swirl above piping-hot pies concocted from handmade sauce and dough. A smattering of toppings cling to five crust options?crispy thin, double dough, Chicago-style, pan, and superstuffed?as well as hide from their hungry predators inside hand-rolled calzones. Homemade lasagna and fettuccine alfredo battle for the top pasta spot, and fried chicken, baby back ribs, and fried-shrimp dinners work together to distract diners from hard-to-resist buffalo wings.
In the kitchens of Blueberry Hill's five suburban outposts, cooks forgo lazy morning lounging to pull together homey assortments of timeless brunch fare. Pancakes infused with fruit or sweets are made from scratch, much like hand-knitted socks or hand-painted report cards. French-toast slices get stuffed with apple and cream cheese, smothered in fruit, or rolled in Cap'n Crunch. Fresh meats and veggies take cover under eggs in savory skillets, and a selection of sandwiches quells cravings in handheld form.
A smattering of 20 sauces and seasonings dripping from hand-spun wings coats patrons' fingers as they cheer on their favorite professional sports teams broadcast on Buffalo Wild Wings' TVs. Eyes are torn between watching teams dribble a ball, shoot a puck, and land a grand jeté, and plates of plentiful wings, burgers, wraps, salads, and ribs. For more entertainment, trivia games exercise brains, and the Blazin' Challenge offers recognition for those brave enough to down a dozen wings slathered in the eatery's hottest sauce in six minutes.
Italio specializes in three authentic Italian dishes: the pasta bowl, salad bowl, and piadina?Italy's take on the wrap. However, each guest builds their own version of their chosen dish, so if you factor in the menu's wealth of add-ons, the possibilities skyrocket from three to almost limitless. In the open kitchen, the team crowns meals with the diner's choice of protein, from shrimp to balsamic-marinated sirloin steak slices. Guests then choose a sauce, nut-free pesto or dressing?options range from creamy Alfredo sauce to fresh basil pesto. Other toppings such as sauteed peppers and onions, arugula, and feta round out the hearty, authentic meals, available to eat in or take out.
Built on family recipes, Taj Mahal Restaurant features an array of North Indian specialties. Chefs start with a few basic spices, such as onions, garlic, and ginger, to create their aromatic sauces for dishes such as vegetable korma, chicken tikka masala, and saag gosht—cubes of lamb over a spicy spinach purée. Both lunch and dinner feature buffets lined with a spread of vegetarian and seafood entrees, rice biryanis, and tandoori specialties. Proving that one does not have to bite into something to find it delicious, the dessert menu features housemade mango ice cream, Indian-style rice pudding, and raw gossip.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.