Owned by two sisters and their husbands, West End Pizza Company kneads made-from-scratch dough and simmers secret sauces daily to craft an ever-fresh menu of homemade brick-oven pizzas and pastas. Signature pies include the barbecue chicken, which lassos the flavor of summer cookouts with barbecue sauce, red onion, and fresh cilantro ($20 for a large), and the West End, which sprinkles purple onions, black olives, and mushrooms upon a perfectly harmonized barbershop quartet of meats ($24 for a large). Patrons who prefer to build their own pizza ($15 for a large) slather sauces and toppings ($1.50 each) onto a light, hand-tossed Monopoly board, developing such properties as roma tomato railroads, alfredo avenues, jalapeño houses, and ritzy artichoke-heart hotels. Escorted by salad and garlic-knot groupies, the chicken or eggplant parmesan ($14), stuffed cheese ravioli ($13–$15), and lasagna ($14–$16) comprise the pasta VIP section—which, like the U.S. Chess Championship, garners the attention of ruthless paparazzi.
Although they both hail from the Mediterranean, pizza and falafel don't often appear on the same menu. Diners at Rome's Pizza, however, might be prompted to wonder why?it turns out it's quite possible for one kitchen to carry both dishes off nicely. In a 2004 review, the Current's Alejandro P?rez praised the pesto pizza's "light, crispy crust and full-bodied flavor" and the falafel sandwich's "hot, crisp patties."
This juxtaposition isn't the only surprise on the extensive menu. Sure, you can get red sauce and pepperoni atop your pie, but Rome's specializes in white pizzas slicked with olive oil, herbs, and smoked garlic. Strombolis and calzones fold in on themselves to make for a hearty meal or a high-powered alternative to a water balloon, and sandwiches and pasta display the same love of big portions and off-the-beaten-path ingredients. On the Mediterranean side of the menu, there are also staples such as dolmas, hummus, and gyros.
Dotting the Texan landscape with pizzerias like so many pepperonis in a hopeful meat-lover's garden, Goomba's ‘za joints bake up New York–style pies with ingredients from Costanzo's Bakery and Sorrento cheese. Dough made daily from scratch lays the groundwork for such classic toppings as italian sausage, mushrooms, artichokes, sweet or hot peppers, and anchovies. Pasta specialties such as cheese manicotti and baked ziti swim—like an eccentric millionaire—in a house-made tomato sauce infused with fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and a selection of calzones, salads, hot subs lends rest to the pizza weary. Daily lunch specials quell midday tummy rumbles from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and most locations offer both dine-in and carry-out fare.
Amid GameTown Pizza's mélange of arcade consoles and analog challenges, chefs sculpt dough for New York–style pizzas and ensconce zesty ingredients within calzones and strombolis before baking them golden on sizzling pizza stones. The bustling game room challenges competitors to bouts of air hockey, basketball, and invigorating redemption games, whose ribbons of tickets garner well-earned trips to the prize counter. Party planners can host savory shindigs within the arcade's private party room, whose whimsical yellow walls display flat-screen TVs ideal for celebratory slideshows and virtual-reality birthday cakes alike.
In a small town outside of Naples, Italy, Nonna Lina lured passersby into her trattoria with the aroma of fresh tomato sauce and wood-oven-baked pizzas. Stateside, her sons uphold their mother’s culinary legacy, preparing her recipes from scratch with imported Italian ingredients. In addition to the authentic cuisine, the dining room itself hearkens back to an Italian eatery: guests order from chalkboard menus propped atop wooden barrels, and red-and-white-checkered tablecloths invite diners to play endless games of chess with condiments.
The chefs at Stouts Pizza Co. knead handmade dough and let it rise for 12 hours every day before baking it into New York?style pizzas in their stone ovens. Stouts Pizza?s craftspeople transform 16-inch pies into canvases painted with 100% mozzarella cheese, homegrown-tomato sauce, and toppings such as Texas pepperoni, mushrooms, artichokes, canadian bacon, and fresh basil. The cheerful yellow dining room gives diners room to sip free refills of soda, and kids can avenge spelling-bee defeats in the game room.