Enormous portions of pasta weigh down tables inside Petrini's Italian Restaurants, which specialize filling stomachs with old-school Italian fare. Inside the kitchen, chefs cover thin crusts with slices of salami, mushrooms, and barbecue chicken to make custom pies. Swirls of steam float above plates of gnocchi, tortellini, and ravioli, and generous helpings of chicken and veal parmesan slip between slices of sandwich bread or go solo as dinner entrees. Petrini’s homemade salad dressings top crisp salads, and can be purchased by the bottle, gallon, or super-soaker tank.
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, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Pizza Mizza's dough-spinning chefs slather signature sauces on three styles of homemade crust to craft gourmet pies, which serve as headliners for a mouthwatering menu of classic Italian fare. Self-made pizzas ($6.29 plus $0.99 per topping for personal size) flex their artistic muscles by bedecking thin, regular, or thick dough canvases in any combination of 29 meats, cheeses, and veggies. Submit to a chef's intuition to savor gourmet concoctions such as the bacon, basil, and tomato pizza ($8.99 for personal size) or the chicken and caramelized-walnut pizza ($8.99). A spicy chicken and avocado sandwich ($8.99) rests upon toasted sourdough bread and partners with a tortilla soup topped with avocado and pico de gallo ($3.99), creating a perfect lunchtime pairing. Unlike an edible gondola, the hearty chicken Alfredo ($9.99) floats atop linguine, broccoli, and fresh Parmesan to satiate stomachs with a taste of old-world Italy. Pizza Mizza’s assorted kids' menu pleases youngsters with pared down portions, and a dog-friendly outdoor patio pleases parents of furry children.
At Westside Pizza of Lompoc, chefs adhere to a strict ethos of freshness, making dough each day by hand to create delectable pizza masterpieces for pickup or delivery. They crown each pie with real mozzarella cheese, canadian bacon, pepperoni, sundried tomatoes, and plenty of other toppings—none of which are ever frozen. They've got pasta on the menu, too, designed especially for those who are allergic to circular shapes.
Erupting cheers herald hopeful high-fives as Magoo's Sports Grill's 30 televisions broadcast yet another touchdown. Or homerun. Or pads-off, trash-talking battle royal. Regardless, athletics spill from the bar's innumerable televisions, and the kitchen sates sports fans with a full menu of hearty sandwiches, specialty pizzas, and decadent desserts. Time-tested domestic beers from Coors and Budweiser welcome craft brews such as Stella Artois and Sierra Nevada to the beer-and-wine bar, where bartenders pour suds into 10-ounce glasses, 20-ounce schooners, and one-gallon pitchers that may also be used as a makeshift apple-bobbing bucket.
“It's the best pizza I’ve found in Los Angeles,” says comedian and recognized Italian Ray Romano about D’Amore’s Pizza. He’s not the only star to fall for the authentic slices: owner Joe D’Amore has shipped his cracker-thin crusts to destinations across Hollywood, including the set of Two and a Half Men and Jennifer Garner’s house. Whether he’s serving an A-lister or the average hungry citizen, Joe bakes all of his cheesy treats to-order inside a stationary brick oven or an innovative oven on wheels.
D’Amore’s traditional methods and tempting taste are a family legacy. Born and raised in an Italian family in Boston, Joe D’Amore grew up savoring his grandmother Mommanonna's handmade pizzas—a meal he would miss upon moving to California. Joe asked his grandmother to join him out west and show him the secrets to her trade, but when she pulled the pie out of the oven, something wasn't quiet right. Mommanonna immediately knew that the California water was sabotaging her famous cracker-thin crust, and urged Joe to bring water from Boston. Today, he takes the practice a step further, importing water from Italy along with olive oil, flour, and pizza wheels carved by Michelangelo.