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 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.
Extreme Pizza is not your run-of-the-mill, ma-and-pa pizza shop. Here, the cooks pile their house-baked crusts with a slew of uncommon combinations, including the ginger-peanut-sauce-marinated chicken strewn across the Kickin’ Chicken pizza, which is also topped with peanuts, green onions, swiss, fontina, mozzarella, and fresh cilantro. The Paia Pie may seem standard with pineapple and Canadian bacon, but the addition of mandarin oranges and its mozzarella-cheddar blend make it more unique than a unicorn with two horns. As an alternative to the pies, freshly baked calzones, creatively loaded salads, monster subs, and chicken wings also populate the menu.
In his more than 25 years as a pizza maker, Dale Hoskinson has kept one thing constant: his allegiance to fresh ingredients. Each day, he and the staff of Shakers Pizza mix sweet dough, blend sauce from scratch, and shred whole-milk mozzarella to create a tasty base for both specialty and build-your-own pies. Creative combinations abound in the form of the chipotle pizza, which nixes traditional sauce in favor of a spicy pesto blend to don morsels of Cajun sausage, and the garlic chicken pie’s earthy duo of garlic ranch and fresh garlic atop chunks of grilled poultry. Diners can also designate their own toppings from a list that runs the gamut from pastrami and meatballs to zucchini, artichoke hearts, and pineapple. To pair with the headlining pizzas, an in-house ice-cream shop crowns cones with scoops of Blue Bunny ice cream. The pizza joint also keeps 13 beers on tap to fill glasses, pitchers, or 100-ounce beer tubes, which hold roughly the same volume of two full pitchers or one miscreant cactus.