It is not just the pastas, sandwiches, and pizzas that keep guests coming back to Pete's Restaurant and Brewhouse and Original Pete's—the handcrafted beers also play a major role, quenching thirsts with flavors ranging from the Uptown blonde’s light layers of honey to the highly hoppy profile of the Skinner’s Horse IPA. Pete’s team keeps meals in balance by offering food-and-beer-pairing suggestions, assuring diners that the Midtown ale harmonizes with fish tacos and that the Old Town red—a malty, medium-bodied amber ale—improves coordination for slam-dunking meatballs.
Matt Williams grew up in Loomis, just as the four previous generations of his family did. Following familial suit, he decided to stay in the area as an adult, but not before traveling to Italy to train in the culinary arts and acquire a taste for fine wines. After returning to his life-long home, he turned this passion for food and drink into a career, opening Café Zoro.
Matt and his kitchen team, led by Chef Scott Burns, embrace local, farm-fresh ingredients whenever possible, preparing seasonal fish, meat, pasta, and dessert dishes by hand. Though he takes pride in all of the specialties on the rotating menu, he is especially proud of his hand-made pizzas, which combine thin Italian-style crusts with homemade sauces and off-the-stem ingredients such as bell peppers, onions, and kalamata olives.
Of course, Matt’s passion for flavor doesn’t end with food. He and his staff also serve a remarkable selection of locally-crafted beverages. In addition to offering tasting flights from local wineries, they pour a lineup of craft beers, some of which hail from the nearby Loomis Basin Brewing Company.
Cooks at Pizza Factory have been stacking their house-made dough with homemade sauce, pure mozzarella cheese, and fresh toppings since 1978. In addition to assembling customized pizzas that can hoist more than 30 toppings, they bake up specialty pies, including the beef- and salsa-topped Fiesta and the Canadian bacon-packed Greasy Spoon, which, like its namesake, only sticks to noses for half of a second. They round out their menu of Italian staples with pastas such as spaghetti alfredo, calzones, subs, and an all-you-can-eat salad bar.
Since 2003, Keith Nash, owner of The Pizza Place, and his wife Shab have operated their family-owned restaurant designed for pizza aficionados. Opening The Pizza Place location in Rocklin in 2007, The Nash's oversee cooks who craft fresh pizza dough daily, homemade pasta sauces, and hulking meatball sandwiches. In the oven, the fresh dough rises and crisps beneath fistfuls of artichoke hearts, salami, linguiça, anchovies, basil, and garlic. A full Italian menu includes traditional stunners, such as from-scratch lasagna, bubbly warm tomato sauces, and stacked Philly cheese steaks. An accompanying dessert menu features fluffy tiramisu to decadent chocolate mousse cake. In the dining room, calzones spill steam that rises up towards framed jerseys, signed photos of athletes, and 5 flat screen TVs. An ample salad bar offers tasty greens for patrons in search of lighter bites. Outside the eatery, patrons lounge on a terrace, sipping on wine or one of the 10 beers on tap while enjoying the breeze. The Pizza Place's traditional culinary treasures earned them the title of "Best Pizza Place 2009" in The Placer Herald.
Co-owners Christopher J. Rubino and Henry Carrillo Jr.—the original owners of Roseville's Bella Italia Bistro and Wine Bar—now train their eyes on Rocklin. Local publications and TV news programs have heaped multiple awards upon the eatery, which is designed to evoke the feel and taste of New York's Italian restaurants of the 40s and 50s.
Executive Chef Jesus Mendoza's plates present classic Italian dishes, such as spaghetti and meatballs, veal piccata, and chicken parmesan, and he pairs them with a wine list that spotlights California libations. Curtains and leather booths come together as an inviting dining room where guests savor their Continental lunches, Sunday brunches, and dinners. A banquet room accommodates larger groups, such as birthday parties and revolutionary movements. Mendoza and his team also cater.
Rubino's is guided not only by an old-fashioned sense of service and cuisine, but by a commitment to its community. In addition to belonging to the Rocklin and Roseville Chambers of Commerce, the establishment donates to local organizations, hosts benefits, and sponsors the Rocklin High School football team, whose cheerleaders wave pom-poms made of donated linguine.
Vaiano Trattoria's husband-and-wife owners, Nathan Hickok and Patrizia Russo-Hickok, must have felt proud when the Granite Bay View called their food "authentic, fresh, and real." Patrizia hails from Vaiano, Italy, and runs this eatery with her restaurant-veteran husband as a way to recapture the food crafted by her mother and grandmother. On a menu that's rustic and flavorful—like a chocolate-covered log cabin—the chefs top pappardelle with braised wild boar and mostaccioli with mushrooms and pancetta. The interior complements the food, with mottled walls in a golden yellow and iron wall sconces mirroring that of an Old World trattoria. The staff also enjoys updating the wine list with new finds from Italy and pairing them with house specials.