Since 1954, dough-sculpting artisans at LaRosa’s have crafted a menu of delectable Italian specialties using heaps of fresh ingredients and a family recipe. An array of tasty pies awaits hungry visitors, from the double pepperoni ($5.99–$14.99) to the buffalo chicken, which entertains a devoted entourage of black olives, tomatoes, and jalapeños ($6.79–$19.99). Customers can also hire toppings for freelance work on pizzas of their own creation ($4.79–$12.99 plus toppings). Shy meats and veggies hide inside calzones, such as the Philly cheesesteak calzone, which provides a toasted cavern of shelter for sirloin, white cheddar, onions, and stray cheese ($5.99). In addition, LaRosa’s boasts a spectrum of hoagys, salads, and pasta and offers a sweet adieu to finished meals with a dessert of Italian crème cake ($4.89) or cinnamon-sugar dippers ($3.99).
An aviation-themed pizzeria, Christy's Family Pizzeria battles hunger with freshly baked flying dough saucers and a menu that promises squadrons of sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Bite into a 9-inch Butcher Shop specialty pizza ($11.45), stacked with pepperoni and bacon and wrapped in nutritious newspaper, or sample a 9-inc Farmer's Market pizza ($11.45) that saves you the work of growing mushrooms, banana peppers, and baked dough yourself. Oven-born Italian hoagies ($5.25/half) jostle with grill fruits such as cheeseburgers ($4.35) and chopped sirloin ($5.25) for the favor of omnivores hungrily eyeing the menu. Patrons can stay to savor Christy's casual ambiance or hurry home with a specialty pie to share with the ghosts in their refrigerators.
The Black Rooster Pasta Bar provides an organic menu of made-to-order Italian pasta selections and all-day breakfast cuisine nestled among rustic décor. Begin by creating a carb nest of noodles ($7) such as linguine, cavatappi, or rice noodles, before selecting a cream, tomato, or olive-oil-based sauce (addtional $1 for gorgonzola, rossa, or terra sauce) to circumvent the noodle friction that can lead to disastrous pasta fires. Next, dive into an array of additional toppings (starting at $0.50) such as a sliced 5-ounce chicken breast, jumbo shrimp, or a de-contextualized BLT of bacon, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. Break a fast with pane al sole, boasting cinnamon and maple syrup drizzled over Tuscan bread, brimming with mascarpone cream cheese, and crowned in seasonal fruit ($6) or end an evening meal with sweet-teeth-slaking tiramisu ($4) and cannolis ($1.50 each).
Buttery dough made daily on the premises lays the savory groundwork for Uno Chicago Grill’s signature deep-dish pizzas, perfected from the Windy City’s original 1943 recipe. Today, at the Dayton outpost of the pizza empire, thick crusts don mozzarella and romano cheeses alongside chunky tomato sauce, slices of pepperoni, and caramelized onions. American dishes round out the hearty menu, from steaks and chops to sandwiches such as the Firecracker chicken stacked with housemade guacamole and spicy buffalo cheddar. Desserts, such as chocolate-strawberry pizza and bread pudding with salted-caramel sauce, top off each meal.
To reach their table at Spaghetti Warehouse, guests commonly have to step through two doors: the front door of the restaurant and the door of the antique trolley parked inside. Since its inception in 1972, the Italian eatery has merged the functions of kitchen and museum. Artifacts such as grandfather clocks, factory flywheels, and circus billboards surround diners as they delve into signature plates of 15-Layer Lasagna or hand-rolled meatballs. Apart from the items they've amassed, each of the buildings also has a particular history, from the one-time ice-manufacturing plant in Columbus to Memphis's Civil War munitions depot. Given their storied pasts, it's no surprise that several of these venues house their own ghosts—at Houston's warehouse, for example, elevator lights have been known to flicker, objects are mysteriously found in new locations, and a lady in a white gown is said to roam the restaurant.
Yet the main attraction of the place is the delicious food. Like any great Italian meal, made-from-scratch dishes are created from family recipes passed down for generations via email. Guests devour the perfectly al dente pasta, crispy calamari, bottomless soups, and 12-layer chocolate cakes while dining with family and friends. It’s that feeling of togetherness that people love about Spaghetti Warehouse, a feeling that is only enhanced when the drinks start flowing and the air is punctuated by the sounds of laughter as kids play retro games, such as The Claw prize-grabbing machine.
Freshly cut vegetables, more than 40 toppings and sauces, and delicious handmade doughs decorate the creative menu of Dayton’s Original Pizza Factory, a sister establishment of the popular South Park Tavern. Colorful combinations perch atop the gourmet discs ($8.95 for a nine-inch, $13.95 for a 12-inch, $17.95 for a 14-inch, and $19.95 for a 16-inch). Both breadwinners and fourth-place breadlosers can come out ahead with the Reuben pizza, an open-faced sandwich of corned beef, sauerkraut, cheeses, and Thousand Island dressing, as well as in the Greek gyro pizza, a fat wedding of lamb or chicken meat, fresh tomatoes, feta, and cucumber sauce. Classicists can adorn their gullet with traditional pizzas ($7.95 for a nine-inch, $12.95 for a 12-inch, $16.95 for a 14-inch, and $18.95 for a 16-inch) including the New York cheese, its gorgeous Breadway stage set with oregano and three mezzanine levels of fromage. All pizza patrons receive the option of hand-tossed original dough or 100% whole-wheat crust.