Most anything tastes good when tossed onto a pizza, but for Palio's Pizza Cafe, that's not an excuse to work with subpar ingredients. The chefs make all their dough from scratch and layer pies with all-natural sauces, 100% real cheese, and produce fresh from local farms. They use these elements to build pizzas as varied as they are delicious. There's The Scorcher with spicy sauce and fresh jalape?os; the Hawaiian Sunrise with pineapple and sun-dried cranberries; and the Nutty Chicken with spinach and roasted cashews. Just like at a dream DMV, though, pizza's not all that's on the menu. The menu also abounds with pasta entrees and sandwiches paired with kettle-baked chips.
Many restaurants claim to serve Neapolitan pizza, but few can back up that claim with corroboration from the Italian government. Clara and Paolo Cavalli’s pizza meets a long list of requirements that touch on everything from the ingredients to the cooking process. It’s no surprise that their pies are up to snuff, as they’re both first-generation Americans with a long history of baking pizzas at home. Their secret is an oven stoked to 900 degrees, the temperature necessary to bake a perfectly crispy crust or burn two copies of Fahrenheit 451. In this veritable inferno, they fire Neapolitan pies made from flour and mozzarella sourced directly from Italy.
The “giant slices” at Pizzaiolo's Pizza & Pasta are not named lightly—they’re so big, they require two plates to hoist their cheesy mass. This emphasis on quantity extends to the eatery’s New York-style pies, which range from 16 to 30 inches in size. Sprinkled with toppings such as chicken and jalapenos, the pizzas are tailored to each order, satisfying the needs of vegetarians, carnivores, and elusive omnivores alike. Calzones, meatball subs, and daily pasta specials round out Pizzaiolo’s smorgasbord of Italian staples.
At Lizzano's Pizza, the servers prefer that you bring your own drinks. They view their BYOB policy as a boon, not a financial burden, opining that diners who supply the wine tend to immerse themselves more fully in the eating experience. They've even compiled a list of libation recommendations based on popular choices at other restaurants, and they provide glasses and wine openers for patrons while eschewing any corkage fees.
This emphasis on neighborly behavior tints the restaurant's entire atmosphere, as well as its menu, which prioritizes southern Italian staples. Owner Tony Rika—who perfected his pizza-making techniques in both Rome and New York City—takes a hands-on approach to his cuisine, handmaking the marinara sauce, hand tossing the pizza dough, and high-fiving each of his fellow cooks while the disk is in the air. The staff delivers entrees such as chicken parmigiana and beef lasagna beneath the nigh-silent rotations of the dining room's gyrofan—an eye-catching ceiling piece that mimics models found on early trains and ocean liners. Around the tables, pictures of Italian landscapes complement the authentic flavors of housemade marsala and piccata sauces and seasonal specials that could include everything from mussels linguine to rich chocolate bread pudding.
After years devising his ideal pizzeria, David Davydd Miller dispensed his first slices in 1984 to patrons in College Station, Texas. Back then Dave recruited the help of a flourmill and cannery to generate customized blends of his crust and sauce formulas. These days, within DoubleDave's Pizzaworks restaurants' 30 Texas and Oklahoma locations, chefs concoct Dave's signature honey whole-wheat crust daily from hand-tossed dough along with batches of sauce made from scratch with Escalon tomatoes. Those ingredients join hand-cut veggies and meats from Tyson and Burke to collectively form a delectable disk that proves once and for all that pie can be divided evenly. Along with half a dozen specialty pizzas, DoubleDave's Pizzaworks appeases palates with signature pepperoni rolls, sandwiches, and Dave's favorite dish, the philly-cheesesteak stromboli.
New York–style, thin-crust pizzas topped with meatballs, anchovies, and green olives roll out whole or by the slice at New York Pizza & Deli. Though its name is a nod both to New York City’s finest and the legal right of the city's prisoners to one phone call and a slice of pizza, NYPD goes beyond pies. Its slate of classic subs comes stuffed with havarti cheese, thinly sliced beef, and spicy capicola from Boar’s Head. Big Apple memorabilia dots the walls of the casual eatery, where a Lady Liberty mural watches over patrons as they down salami-stuffed calzones or creamy new york cheesecake.