The Rocco boys' love for pizza started in the Bronx, where they worked at their father’s pizzerias from a young age. Now, brothers Joe, Mike, and Frank are continuing their family's tradition at 10 locations of their own invention—all flaunting the Planet Pizza name tag.
A man can't build such a pizza universe without some serious pies. But inspiration isn't a problem for the Planet Pizza culinary team, who've molded more than 30 toppings into about 25 specialty circles, all available on gluten-free and whole-wheat crusts. In addition to specialty pizzas, the cooks concoct other menu choices such the compo salad with baby field greens, grape tomatoes, candied walnuts, gorgonzola, and dried cranberries or the buffalo chicken wrap loaded with strips of crispy chicken, lettuce, tomato, spicy wing sauce, and chunky blue cheese dressing are more convincing than Pluto as a mature planet.
Being a native of Italy, chef Enzo Roppo knows his way around the key ingredients that earned his country’s cuisine its international renown. At Bella Nonna Restaurant and Pizzeria, Roppo puts this knowledge to work, creating a wide range of traditional dishes and homemade desserts. After a successful 15-year stint at its first location, the restaurant now welcomes hungry crowds at its new digs on Railroad Ave. There, co-owners Tony Crudele and Joe Sandolo have re-created the warm, welcoming vibe of a family dining room, complete with regulars gathering over bowls of steaming pasta, crisp pizzas, and glasses of wine.
A practicing psychic for more than 20 years, Janet Lee uses her spiritual attunement as a tool for guiding clients. Through tarot-card and psychic readings, Janet peeks through time to mine out answers to personal problems and correct paths. Through the meditative power of past-life regressions, she seeks out unresolved issues that can cause present turmoil, such as when your Egyptian ancestor got stood up for pyramid prom.
Ferraro’s multifaceted menu meanders from classic pizza offerings to traditional pasta dishes and ends face down in a fully loaded line-up of italian heroes. Gnocchi bolognese ($9.50 small, $12.50 large) tempts diners with handmade memory foam pillows of potato pasta, while the chicken scarpara showcases a saucy soirée of chicken, sausage, and hot cherry peppers ($14.50). A side of pasta, a small salad, and a stern home economics teacher chaperone each entree. Lunchers can commandeer pizza by the slice ($2.35–$3.25), such at the Grandma Pizza, a thin and crispy Sicilian-style square crust loaded with plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and a sprinkling of garlic ($3.25 per slice or $16.99 for a pie). Chivalrously delicious heroes include the Ferraro Special, a vodka-sauce-drizzled, golden-haloed chicken cutlet bedecked in melted mozzarella and prosciutto ($8.99).
The big draw at JT Straw’s Bar & Grill is the wood-fired brick oven, which crisps the edges of pizzas day and night. Housemade meatballs, smoked mozzarella, and sliced rib eye steak all sink into sauce before pies emerge from the oven ready to be gobbled down or used as a bargaining tool in divorce court. Aside from the pizza, JT Straw's also doles out draft brews, burgers, salads, and wings doused in more than 60 sauces, including spicy mexican, mango chipotle barbecue, and garlic sesame.
Stocked with Italian cuisine since 1960, John the Baker's menu harbors multiple generations of original recipes. Atop doughy platforms crafted with no preservatives, pizza toppings clash to compose delectable moshes such as the Florentine ($14.95 for a medium), which fuses spinach with ricotta cheese and fresh tomatoes. Turkey and cranberry wraps ($7.95) envelop offbeat ingredients, and maritime munchies melt like water thanks to the freshly simmered shrimp and light linguini or rice in the shrimp scampi ($16.95). Other refined flavors include classics such as the New York strip steak ($21.95) and the charcoal broiled hamburger ($8.95).