Gino's East's still stands at its original spot on Michigan and Superior but has also stretched to 10 other city and suburban locations. Whether dining downtown or in St. Charles, customers find Alice Mae’s signature crust piled with mounds of cheese, sauce made from vine-ripened tomatoes, and plenty of fresh toppings—from sausage and pepperoni to jalapeños and canadian bacon. Hot from the oven, pizzas arrive at tables snuggled inside seasoned deep-dish pans, ready to welcome a fork and knife. Thin-crust varieties are also available for those who don’t know how to work silverware, as is a bounty of sandwiches.
The iconic comic-strip character and namesake of Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes peeps out from the first “o” in the deli’s logo, embracing not his wife, Blondie, but the signature Dagwood sandwich. With its four meats and pair of cheeses, the delicious (if slightly intimidating) sandwich represents the more than 20 signature subs and clubs that grace Dagwood’s menu. Meats ranging from premium roast beef to tender pork loin share slices of bread with cheeses, crisp pickles, and all the condiments one might expect of an old-fashioned deli. Those too young to appreciate the shop’s Sunday-paper references will at least enjoy kids’ meals such as the classic grilled-cheese sandwich. Aside from their in-store selections, the deli caters events with colorful trays of meats and sack lunches served by a curiously cartoonish wait staff.
After owning the Granger Tap and Grill for nearly 30 years, the culinary-minded Reynolds family opened Jimmy's Pizza and Ribs to indulge their appetites for pies baked with homemade sauces and freshly cut ingredients, in addition to their already established barbecue ribs. The pizza menu lures diners with the Supreme, a pie as classic as Shakespeare’s award-winning lemon chiffon, which comes festooned with sausage, mushroom, pepperoni, and green peppers. A large meat lovers pizza transports hearty bitefuls of sausage, ham, pepperoni, and bacon atop Jimmy's original pizza sauce, and a hawaiian pizza whisks taste buds to tropical climes with a mélange of ham and bacon sweetened with pineapple. Large pizzas measure a whopping 18-inches across and can feed hungry families or dieting narwhals when supplemented with a savory side of breadsticks or cheesy garlic bread.
Samuel Mancino's Italianate empire extends throughout the Midwest, with each outpost flaunting a full menu of fresh-baked grinders and pizzas loaded with hearty ingredients. A trifecta of ham, hard salami, and spicy sausage powers the signature italian grinder ($6.49 for an 8"), spurred on to its task of filling bellies by green pepper, onion, and melted mozzarella. Samuel Mancino's chefs toss dough by hand to give it a fluffy texture before it meets its fate as a foundation for pizzas laden with fresh, gourmet topping combinations such as chicken and garlic or ham, bacon, and pineapple ($15.99+). Piping-hot breadsticks return in sugary eveningwear as sweet Cinna-Stix ($5.99), perfect for dessert or as lick-and-stick nest-building materials. Prices may vary by location, though the owner, who recently took over the Erskine Plaza location, is absolutely identical.
Arturo Di Rosa's experience spans both sides of the Atlantic, as well as on the waters in between. After spending a decade working hospitality aboard a cruise ship, he came to America and entered the restaurant business.
At Capri Italian Restaurant, Arturo has assembled a menu of housemade pastas, traditional meats, and seafood dishes. Chefs prepare housemade pappardelle cooked in red wine and topped with sausage and tomato sauce, and saute jumbo shrimp in white wine flavored with lemon juice and garlic. Outdoors, a patio runs the length of the building, big enough to host a large party or an impromptu soccer game.
The Pitt Stop, home to a family dining room, bar, and electronic entertainment center with arcade and flat-screen TVs, dishes out a delicious menu of pub fare alongside frosty brews. Chicken wings flutter in 13 different succulent sauces, ranging from mild honey barbecue to five-alarm "hot mama" sauce distilled from the essence of fire ($6.99 for 10). Black Angus beef burgers such as the hefty bacon cheddar burger ($6.50) fill hands and tone biceps with their savory weight, and irish beef stew saturates bread bowls with rich gravy, potatoes, carrots, and onions ($6.95). Patrons can sip from a bottle of Budweiser ($2.75) or a sparkling cup of Grey Goose vodka and tonic ($7), while children can trigger bleeps and bloops in the on-site arcade. The Pitt Stop also organizes weekly events, such as racecar screenings on Sundays and family trivia night on Mondays.