Starting out at one spot in 1979, the Pizza factory has since expanded to five states, baking up their reputable pies in more than 110 locations. In the kitchen at each restaurant, cooks roll out their own pizza dough from scratch daily, topping it with 100% mozzarella cheese, premium meats, and fresh local vegetables. In addition to customizable pies, they build eight gourmet pizzas, such as the spinach and garlic, and the greek, which sports green bell peppers, red onions, black olives, and crumbled feta cheese. They also prepare calzones, pastas, and seven “awesome” sub sandwiches with oven-roasted rolls, slices of provolone cheese, and tiny periscopes.
Although everyone knows that pizza fresh from a restaurant's kitchen is far superior to its grocery-store cousins, sometimes families don't have time to eat out. That's why Marina's Take 'N' Bake Pizza offers its pies not only to go, but uncooked, so they can be baked and eaten whenever a meal is needed. Staff members quickly assemble pizzas from the customizable menu, layering crusts with either red, herb, or creamy garlic sauce topped with a choice of ingredients, such as pineapple, jalapeños, bacon, and salami. The menu also includes a few fan favorites, such as the meat-stuffed pizza and the creamy garlic and bacon. Marina's doesn't stop at providing pizza, though. It also serves up salads and cookie dough to make an entire meal, ready after only a few minutes in the oven.
Though Straw Hat's menu is predominantly circular cuisine, diners can stave off the pizzapocalypse with a curtain-raiser of a dozen Mojave hot wings ($7.99) and equally savory views of 12 all-you-can-watch plasma TVs. Next, flip a dollar bill to decide whether to have Straw Hat's original California crust or a thicker, pan-ier DaPan pizza foundation and then build your own piescraper from the medium 12-inch ground up with any of 24 toppings and four sauces (one-topping or cheese, $12.99; each additional topping, $1.25). Experimental eaters can create a heretofore unheard of combo such as a barbecue bacon and pineapple pizza. For more ready-made and time-tested flavors, grab one of Straw Hat’s specialty Master Pizzas, such as the king-size 18-inch favorite, The Works (salami, ham, sausage, pepperoni, linguica, ground beef, mushrooms, olives, and bell peppers, $26.99).
Santa Cruz Pizza Company's devoted discus artistes rise each morning to stir their secret-recipe sauce, craft their made-from-scratch dough, and then unite them to build an assorted menu of sumptuous pies. Regale ravenous tongue buds with the salami, pepperoni, sausage, and canadian bacon symphony that tops the meat combo pizza ($17.97 for an 11" pie), or aim lower on the food chain with the mushroom, artichoke, pesto sauce, and garlic ensemble that headlines the Garden Pesto Delight ($14.75 for an 11” pie). All large pies can be ordered in take-and-bake form ($3 off the menu price), granting oven enthusiasts and those plagued by spontaneous cheese cravings a greater amount of pizza autonomy. Chicago deep-dish and gluten-free options sate cravings for alternative crusts, and items such as the philly cheesesteak ($7.50) and the tuna sandwich ($6.50) raise the oft-overlooked banner for noncircular comestibles.
Redwood Pizzeria bakes up a savory menu of circle-centric eats, all crafted with organic pizza toppings, sauce, and dough. Edible architects can draft their own slices with a wealth of formidable pizza materials, including meaty toppings and locally sourced produce, and those drawing an artistic blank can opt for Redwood's savory specialty pies, such as the Greek, which dons a delectable dusting of feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts ($11.99/small). For less Euclidean cravings, Redwood boasts an eclectic assortment of hot baked dishes, including nachos ($7+), calzones ($9+), and organic vegetarian lasagna, which lets tired tongues make tasty base camp on layers of noodles, spinach, red onions, and zucchini before their ascent to its cheesy summit ($12). A selection of beers and local wines is also on hand to equip throats for lengthy conversations on the philosophical conundrums of beet canning.
As a child living at the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Ralph DiTullio spent his Sunday afternoons brewing hearty sauces side by side with his grandfather in preparation for the family dinner. As the smell of tomatoes filled the kitchen, his mother and grandmother cut and boiled fresh pastas. On other occasions, he found himself in the cool darkness of the garage, where his grandfather smashed and fermented his own grapes to make wine. Today, nearly all the recipes at Nonno's Italian Cafe build on the hearty Italian dishes Ralph’s mother and grandmother used to make. In the small mountaintop cafe, Ralph cultivates this same sense of familial bonding with new patrons and usual crowds alike, proffering updates on current weather and traffic to callers from the valley below.
While Ralph begins each day crafting potato-filled breakfast burritos and freshly baked turnovers, his lunch and dinner menus transition into traditional Italian fare, such as pastas stuffed with cheese or topped with artichokes and meatballs. He and his culinary crew fire pizzas outside in a wood oven, stacking each with Mediterranean vegetables and barbecued meats with greater care than an artist painting a still-life jenga tower. Every Friday and Saturday, the staff fires up the barbecue for sizzling steaks and sausages. To complement both hearty and light fare, the culinary crew keeps a cellar of nearly 2,000 wine labels and up to 70 beers, replenishing their stock with selections from mostly small international vintners and brewers. They present a changing roster of these wines at weekly tastings to suit different themes and keep the wines from becoming codependent with the house crystal. While all sampling services are kept at small sizes indoors, they can spill outside to bocce-ball courts with courtside seating for up to 150.
Dishes Bistro & Grill showcases a Mediterranean-inspired menu. Sushi-grade cuts of fresh wild Pacific swordfish simmer in a sauce made from wine, fresh made sun-dried tomato, artichoke hearts, and capers while local caught Monterey Bay King Salmon and cuts of grass-fed filet mignon can be prepared au poivre or wrapped in a blanket of Italian prosciutto. Tender medallions of pan-seared or oven-roast pork tenderloin gently bathe in caramelized apple-onion sherry and pair with potato-fennel au gratin and caramelized carrots. The Angus Ribeye Steak is offered au poivre and is accompanied with freshly made homemade sauces. Individual-sized European-style gourmet pizzas such as chicken rosemary and hawaiian, are available as well as freshly-made salads and a variety of pastas.
Desserts range from housemade crème brûlée to tiramisu to many more. The full bar with local and international wines and beers round out each meal, which is served in an intimate bistro. Gluten-free and vegetarian dishes available.