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 the 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 in. ground up with any of more than 20 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 in. favorite, The Works (salami, ham, sausage, pepperoni, linguica, ground beef, mushrooms, olives, and bell peppers, $26.99).
Pizza Ultimate's kitchen crew begins their pizzas with a solid base. They make the dough fresh with high-protein flour and low-sodium baking soda, and for the jalapeno and garlic options, they bake the ingredients directly into the crust. The cheese sprinkled on top is real mozzarella, though specialty pizzas include delicious combinations of ingredients, such as a mix of red and green pesto sauce, or chorizo and cotija cheese. Customers can call for delivery, but they'd miss out on the heady competition at pinball and pool, and the live music that fills the room every other Friday night.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
The chefs at New York Pasta & Pizza honor the eatery’s name by crafting foldable, thin-crust, New York–style pies from fresh dough made daily. The cooks toss and fire 12 specialty pizzas, including the buffalo-, pesto-, or garlic-spiced chicken pizza, the Greek-inspired eggplant-and-feta pizza, and the Mexican-style chorizo-and-linguiça pizza. In the hope that one day someone will request an edible portrait of Al Pacino, the pizza artists also encourage customers to create their own pies from more than 45 toppings such as sun-dried tomatoes, italian sausage, and artichokes. Guests can also supplement pizzas with New York–style sides such as wings, ribs, garlic bread, and several classic Italian pastas.
The word express in Vito's Express refers to more than the gourmet New York-style pizza available for takeout. A love for speed is on display throughout the restaurant, from the Raiders helmets on the walls to the authentic Vespa scooters parked inside. At the full bar, a beer-cooling system pours drafts from the bottom of the glass, resulting in less of the foam that falls out of taps after they're unpacked. A selection of robust red wines also pairs well with Vito's signature pizzas, whose toppings range from pesto sauce, feta, garlic, and chicken—co-owner Scotty's favorite—to marinated lobster and amaretto cream sauce.
When you accidentally plant tomato seeds instead of building a treehouse for your children, you'll have to learn how to put a tomato to good use. Today's Groupon gives you a tasty education in the red fruitgetable with $20 worth of Italian cuisine at Tomatina for $10. Bring a flavorful tutorial to your palate with professorial pizzas and pastas straight from the tomato academy.