With a menu loaded with pizzas and calzones, cheesy breadsticks, and flavorful wings, Gumby's ovens satisfy voracious cravings into the wee hours of the morning. The pizza makers start each day by making mounds of dough by hand, which they decorate with more than 15 inventive toppings, such as alfredo sauce, chicken tenders, and feta cheese, to create specialty pizzas and personalized pies. The same hand-tossed dough serves as a foundation for their famous Pokey Stix, which are smothered in garlic butter, Italian spices, and heaps of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, then cut into strips exactly the length of Abraham Lincoln's foot. To complement the bubbling pizzas, buffalo and boneless wings can be tossed in tangy barbecue, honey mustard, sriracha, or one of four other sauces.
Old Chicago specializes in deep-dish pizzas and fresh pastas, with an extensive beer list to wash it all down. The sicilian pepperoni roll, a potent mix of pepperoni, pepper jack, mozzarella, green onion, and ranch dressing baked into a doughy fuselage ($7.99), leads an arsenal of appetizers equipped to soothe early hunger pangs. Eight offerings of pasta include the santorini, a motley crew of Mediterranean vegetables—black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic—lovingly embraced by romano-and-parmesan-garnished cavatappi noodles ($10.99). The "Chicago Seven" calzone packs a savory payload of sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, green peppers, red onion, and melted cheese ($9.99). Old Chicago diners can follow in the footsteps of famous pizza artist Vincent van Stuffedcrust by creating their own pies ($21.39 for a large with three toppings)—choose from over 40 toppings, including grilled steak, ricotta, and jalapeños—or pick from a list of eight specialty pizzas, such as the protein-packed meat me ($22.99 for a large) or its arch-nemesis, the malibu veggie ($19.99 for a large). Those pining for a tasty meal cap can indulge in OC's famous big cookie ($4.99), a frisbee-sized chocolate-chip treat served in a hot pizza pan.
OK, not your uncle. "Bob's your uncle," a century-old British slang phrase, refers to anyone with a bright future, and if Executive Chef Sal Hnesh's previous endeavors are any indication, this restaurant can most certainly count "Bob" among its kin. Renowned for his pizza, Chef Hnesh, a 20-year veteran of the Iowa City culinary scene, hurls dough sky-high before peppering fresh ingredients across thin, medium-thick, pan, or stuffed-crust pies. The menu oscillates from gourmet pizza to homestyle comfort fare such as wisconsin tuna cakes and roast beef served on gravy-smothered sourdough. Gluten-free options are available, as are housemade desserts and freshly baked slices of apple pie.:m]]
Monica's dichotomous menu splits evenly between homestyle American meals and Italian-inspired entrees. Scalloped potatoes and ham bakes Iowa pork and creamy, cheesy spuds to a golden brown ($10.45), a tastier nostalgic nosh than snacking on Legos. Brick-oven-baked ziti, the restaurant's most popular dish, invites chicken, shrimp, and prosciutto to party in a lobster-cream sauce ($16.95), and the grilled, free-range chicken balsamico goes stag, nattily dressed in honey-balsamic glaze and portobello mushrooms ($16.95). Cravings originating from either side of the Atlantic can compromise with the gourmet pizza menu, whose nine specialty selections bake in a traditional Italian open-flame brick oven ($8.45+) but are named after former Iowa basketball players such as Jeff Horner and Greg Brunner, or choose from a plethora of tasty sandwiches, homemade soups, and specialty salads.
Pizza Ranch's sprawling buffet really does have something for everyone, since its chefs will gladly customize a pie at your request and serve you the first slice. Over the course of its 31-year history, the pizza chain has constantly updated its menu with inventive new pizzas, crispy fried chicken, and enough mashed potatoes to build a snow fort that will last through spring.
Motley Cow creates hearty comestibles crafted with ingredients sourced as close to Johnson County as possible, a practice which allows the chefs confidence in the quality and lower carbon footprint of their ingredients. Despite being in a larger space, Motley Cow's décor replicates the intimacy and character of its original location with warm red lamps, quirky used objects or materials from the surrounding area, and a parade of singing giraffes outside the grounds every half-hour. Motley Cow's menu delights patrons with a roster of dishes that changes with regard to the seasons and availability. Whet your appetite on house-marinated olives ($2.50/$4.50) or a cup of white bean and bacon soup ($3.50/$7). Locality becomes particularly succulent in the world of entrees: dine on a roasted ruby trout next to grilled spinach and a barley salad with yam, parsley, and pistachios ($19), or a grilled pork chop escorted by seared polenta, queso fresco, and roasted tomatillo salsa ($18). Desserts include a spiced apple biscuit with walnuts, poached cherries, and cream ($6) and a spicy cardamom funnel cake ($7.50).