The son of a Greek immigrant from the small village of Nostimo ("delicious" in Greek), Tommy Tsiros spent his youth surrounded by the aromas of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olive oil—all of the essential ingredients in Greek and Italian cuisines. Tommy’s love for the homestyle dishes of his childhood led him to open his first restaurant, a downtown deli that soon became a popular lunch spot among locals. Though his 10 years at the deli established his reputation for delicious Italian fare, it was not until he left the deli and opened Pomodoros Greek & Italian Café that he was able to follow his true culinary passions.
Those passions are manifest in the dishes Tommy grew up with and that chefs now cook to perfection in his restaurant—dishes that include homemade spaghetti bolognese, grilled wild salmon, and veal piccata. Greek and Italian cultures contribute heavily to Tommy’s vision, and the balance between the two is apparent on the menu as well as in the warm staff and the togas draped across each table. No Mediterranean feast is complete without wine, and the café’s wine list proves its worth with a selection that has won numerous Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence.
Vincenzo's Ristorante & Bistro's owners understand that people have different tastes, or sometimes just feel like a different experience. So, they decided to split their space in two. In the ristorante, they ferry fine Italian cuisine to candlelit, white-linened tables. In the bistro, they serve deliberately more casual fare as live singer-songwriters ply their trade at the piano with jazz and blues standards.
Eddie Spaghetti’s menu spans from pastas and parms to pizzas, calzones, and stromboli, uniting just about every cornerstone of Italian cuisine. Manager Cassie Schmitt told the Citizen Times that one of her favorite dishes is the eggplant rollatini, a baked dish composed of thin slices of eggplant rolled around gobs of ricotta cheese, all smothered in tomato sauce and melty mozzarella. Cassie’s team might also serve cannoli and cheesecake to sate sweet teeth after dinner or attract hummingbirds when pureed into a nice, sludgy liquid.
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 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.