At Peppino's Pizzeria’s four locations, crafty chefs toss, embellish, and accessorize a menu's worth of pizza pies to quash appetites. Diners can pop sodas or quaff brews as large chicken caesar salads sate taste buds or a quartet of antipasto ham, capicola, mortadella, and salami serenades old-world yens. Svelte neapolitan rounds and biana disks pit handmade tomato sauce against a tripled strata of ricotta, parmigiana, and mozzarella, each armed with 18 inches of meatballs, fresh garlic, green olives, or 1 of 13 other toppings (add additional toppings for $1.95 each). Alternatively, homebound bon vivants can transport two extra-large slabs off the premises for private pie-chart comparisons. Peppino’s Pizzeria fires up its fragrant ovens seven days a week; hours vary by location.
The culinary captain at Milano’s grew up in a kitchen filled with the saucy aromas of traditional Italian fare prepared by his mother and the seasoned zest of Greek dishes grilled up by his father. With that history ensconced, he continued the tradition by marrying both cuisines in a restaurant sporting a hearty menu, casual Mediterranean ambiance, and a justice of the peace certified in marrying cuisines. Offering the best of both worlds, the chef plates everything from grilled rib eye steaks and salmon to Italian casserole, pizza, Greek salads, and oven-baked subs.
Domino's recently reformulated its pizza recipe, which puts the buyer in command of a plentitude of pie-personalizing possibilities. Test the sturdiness of a hand-tossed thin crust with mounds of hearty marinara, ham, chicken, green peppers, black olives, and spinach, or fill a deep-dish foundation with alfredo sauce, bacon, onions, jalapeños, fresh mushrooms, and banana peppers. While delicious design options stretch into infinity like a taffy pull in a black hole, the eatery's specialty pizzas make choosing more manageable. Peruse pies like the MeatZZa Feast, which is piled high with pepperoni, ham, italian sausage, beef, and extra mozzarella, and the Pacific Veggie, a flashy West Coast–concoction of roasted red peppers, spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, black olives, feta, mozzarella, and provolone.
Hungry Howie's grew into a nation-spanning franchise from a humble start in Taylor, Michigan in 1973, when founder Jim Hearn converted a hamburger stand into a pizzeria. With the help of business partner Steve Jackson––who started as a delivery man at the original location––the two men franchised a decade later and began expanding their delicious operation, eventually expanding to nearly 600 locations spread across 24 states in the 3rd dimension alone. Winner of Pizza Today magazine's Chain of the Year award in 2004, Hungry Howie's continues to earn the most attention for its specialty flavored crust pizzas––which infuse dough with a choice of eight seasonings such as ranch or garlic herb––as well as zesty pizza accompaniments such as oven-baked meatball and chicken parm subs.
The notion of “fast and casual” isn't new—most chain restaurants adhere to the concept, as do many conversations with abandoned sock puppets. However, at Brioso Fresh Pasta, efficient service merges with local and organic ingredients to bump "fast and casual" into the glow of a new spotlight. Italian dishes range from house-made pasta to fork-free paninis, all of which arrive at tables on the arms of friendly servers. Brioso’s culinary team also respects special dietary needs with gluten-free pastas and vegan menu options.
Handmade pizzas and calzones complement a lineup of pasta dishes at Trio, where chefs satisfy Italian cravings with a lengthy menu of the region’s most authentic and recognizable dishes. The team kicks off the workday by making housemade sauces for its dozen or so pasta dishes. Chefs make the classics, such as tomato and basil over angel-hair pasta, as well as the more complex recipes, including a seafood trio of shrimp, scallops, and mussels in marinara.
Chefs also craft hand-tossed white or wheat pizza dough and top it with sausage and peperoni for a traditional pizza. They can also smother crusts with sweet-and-spicy molasses barbecue sauce for a signature barbecue pizza before firing it in the wood-burning oven until it reaches a perfect golden brown. Guests can also get pizza-like creations, including pies folded into calzones or heart-shaped Valentine’s Day cards.
Non-pizza entrees include a slow-roasted rotisserie chicken and a menu of gluten-free specialties. Desserts, including crème brule and tiramisu, make a fine finish to any meal—especially one paired with a glass of one the eatery's more than 25 varieties of wine.