The pie purveyors at Oliveoil’s Pizza craft a menu brimming with authentic Italian fare. Dough artists shape 16-inch spheres, building them thin or thick, or tossing pies in the direction of moon gazers before slathering on sauce, cheese, and a choice of topping such as roasted garlic, gyro meat, sausage, or fresh mozzarella. Fingers grab at jumbo wings, saving a bit of buffalo, barbecue, or garlic-parmesan sauce for diligent wet-naps, or dipping cheese breadsticks in cups of bubbling soda to confuse friends and family. Guests can dine in, carry out, or have their spoils delivered for a $2 charge.
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.
A delicious ritual unfolds every morning at Starz Italian Restaurant & Pub's two Fort Myers locations. Chefs arrive in the kitchen, assemble their ingredients, and make the day's supply of pizza dough from scratch. Their work begins long before this, however, since they travel to local markets to pick out fresh produce and mock the sun for taking so long to rise. By the time lunch rolls around, chefs are busy chopping up fresh ingredients and assembling signature pizzas, which owner Dave Virginia describes as "super delicious" in a video introducing himself. (He took over in September 2013.)
After laying a base of pizza sauce (also made from scratch), the chefs pile on toppings such as blue cheese and buffalo chicken tenders or the Starz Deluxe's combination of sausage, pepperoni, and onion. Then, the pie bakes until it reaches one of four set levels: lightly baked, regular, crispy, or well done. Homemade sauce also forms the foundation for many of the menu's other dishes, such as the signature marinara covering cheesy bread, ravioli, or baked parmigiana. There are just two things necessary to complete the meal: a slice of Starz's cheesecake and a drink from the full-service bar.
According to the Southwest Florida Barometer, Carmelo LaMotta was only 7 years old when his parents opened LaMotta’s. More than 30 years later, he’s taken over the reins and serves as both the restaurant’s owner and chef. LaMotta’s has gone through many changes over the years, but it has always remained dedicated to authentic Italian cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients. To that end, the LaMotta family makes all the soups, dough, and sauces fresh every day, staying true to the recipes they brought over when they emigrated from Sicily. The resulting menu includes myriad pasta dishes, thin-crust New York–style pizzas, and a thoughtful font choice.
Balls of dough arc through the air as Downtown House of Pizza's chefs toss and stretch each round into the New York–style thin crust deemed the best pizza of 2012 by Metromix Gulf Coast. Creamy mozzarella cheese melts beneath toppings such as anchovies and spinach, and Grandma's Sicilian pizza melds fresh basil and tomatoes in a recipe passed through the generations on a needlepoint pillow. Downtown House of Pizza also tosses chicken wings in tangy buffalo sauce, layers grilled chicken and dressings atop crispy lettuces, and tucks meatballs and chicken parmesan into hot and cold sub sandwiches.