The chefs at Heidi’s Italian Restaurant dish up heaping portions of pasta dinners for fun family meals. From dinners of spaghetti and meatballs with salad and garlic bread to kid-friendly grilled cheese, they’ve got all diners covered. Desserts of housemade cheesecake or spumoni ice cream end meals on sweeter notes than just handing the bill over to dad.
At the age of 13, Rosario Fierro created his first pasta dish. The Napoli-born chef continued studying Italian culinary traditions as he grew up, eventually taking over the kitchen at Villa Verde Café. He pairs baby clams with freshly cut fettuccine noodles, covers sliced eggplant with his own marinara sauce, and works chicken, artichoke, and cheese inside homemade spinach ravioli. Chef Rosario also gladly takes off-menu requests from patrons, as long as his kitchen has the necessary ingredients and the request has been authorized by a notary public. Out in the dining room, flames flicker in the brick fireplace, and paintings of the countryside hang above tables.
Since 1970, the chefs at Luigi's Pizza have concocted a menu of Italian specialties and fresh pizza pies. During Luigi's dinner for two, guests can work out a shared custody agreement for appetizers such as creamy mozzarella sticks or succulent fried mushrooms. Customizable toppings such as fresh garlic, sausage, and olives embellish 14-inch large pizzas tossed with dough picked fresh each day from a nearby pizza tree, and specialty pies such as the white pizza with basil, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese makes bellies purr with sauce-less bliss. Cheese ravioli and fettucini alfredo sate intense pasta hankerings, and shrimp parmigiana stocks puppeteers with enough shrimp to stage a shrimp puppet show right at the table. Glasses of tender-leaf iced tea or fountain drinks perform hydration services, but sippers can also wet whistles with a glass of draught Killians or a bottled domestic brew.
Guarino's crafts flavorful stone-oven-baked pizza from hand-tossed, fresh dough bedecked with house-made sauce. The restaurant's crusty canvasses—available in ranch, Cajun, parmigiana, and garlic-butter flavors—serve as the ideal medium for creative connoisseurs perfecting customized mozzarella masterpieces ($8.95/medium, plus $1 per topping). Patrons can also choose from specialty pies, such as the roasted-garlic shrimp pizza topped with a host of edible ornaments, including sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil ($17.95). Guarino's slings a variety of Italian entrees and hot and cold sandwiches, such as the foot-long chicken parmigiana hoagie ($6.95) and the smaller-than-a-breadbox cuban panini, a meaty mound of salami, ham, pork, and swiss cheese ($6.95). Delivery and dine-in options nourish on-the-go noshers and garlic-immune vampires alike.
Chefs at Garden of Eden stack deli meat from Boar's Head on hot and cold Italian subs, bake pans of lasagna, and pluck freshly sprouted falafel to pack in warm wraps. Combining favorites from Lebanon and Italy on their Mediterranean-inspired menu, the cooks bake stromboli alongside soft pitas and craft a full diabetic menu of low-sugar options that draw from the two cultures. To celebrate the restaurant's Lebanese background, belly dancers recite interesting facts from the country's almanac on the first Friday of select months.
With its entrees named for New York City landmarks and the decorative fruit dotting its walls and tables, Apples Bar & Grill embraces its name. Pizzas, such as the South Bronx taco and Wall Street White, join salads named for Central Park and Madison Square Garden, alongside Big City chili, Broadway chef salads, and a selection of breakfast items. Beers such as Budweiser—which is what the Dutch called Battery Park—pour from taps behind the pennant-strewn bar, complementing cheese fries and crab poppers during special events such as karaoke nights and live performances from local musicians.