Johnny B’s friendly chefs welcome families to relax over a hand-tossed pie, baked wings, and hoagies in a festive, colorful dining room. Families sharing dinner glance over the menu to pick an appetizer such as baked salt-and-pepper wings or garlic-butter pretzel drops as addictive as stealing candy from babies. For pizza, the classic Big Toad is crowded with savory bacon, beef, and ham balanced with crunches of green pepper and black olive. An alternative to traditional mozzarella and tomato sauce, the Frozen Pond pie spreads a base of oil and garlic under tomatoes, onions, and three cheeses to bake a pie as cheesy as an Elvis impersonator raised on a dairy farm. A team of tasty wraps, hoagies, and pockets tempts diners to stray from the pizza list in favor of a buffalo-chicken wrap seasoned with ranch, Bulliard’s hot sauce, and gooey provolone or a Johnny’s club hoagie accepting membership from ham, cheese, turkey, and bacon, if it gets its act together. If diners drop in between Monday and Wednesday, they can split delicious desserts such as the house-favorite cinnamon drops.
In the kitchen at Mario’s Pizza, chefs heap cheese, steak, and sun-dried tomatoes onto oversize New York–style and sicilian pizza crusts. A white pizza covered in ricotta cheese, fresh garlic, and mozzarella reminds taste buds of eating a delicious snowman, and comes in sizes ranging from 10 inches to as large as 19 inches. Baked pasta and sandwiches, such as a philly steak or veal parmigiana, round out the menu.
Rated No. 2 for Top Food in the Large Chains category in the 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, Papa Murphy’s serves up a tasty menu of handmade Take ‘N’ Bake pizzas created using dough, cheeses, meats, and veggies that are freshly prepared every day. After customers choose their pies, Papa Murphy's slice slingers build the pizzas in-store and package them for customers to bake at home in the oven, in a pottery kiln, or over a pile of burning cookbooks. Customers can select one of Papa Murphy's signature pizzas or customize their 'za to more specific tastes, choosing from the four sauces, three crusts, and more than 20 toppings available.
Metal paddles with long wooden handles shimmy into Amici Italian Lovin’ Oven’s namesake brick oven, where thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizzas bubble and crisp beside a flickering central flame. Across the orange-walled dining room, amiable waiters deliver plates of veal parmesan, chicken carbonara, and Amici’s signature lasagna, which is rolled instead of baked flat to serve as both supper and an edible kaleidoscope. The kitchen also whips up gluten-free and whole-wheat pastas, as well as American classics such as burgers and surf ‘n’ turf. Amici Italian Lovin’ Oven also aids digestion with weekly entertainment, hosting special events such as trivia on Thursday nights and performances by local musicians on Fridays.
LEDO Pizza has been made the same way since Tex Clevenger played for the Yankees and the Washington Senators still existed. That was the 1950s when players from both teams stopped by the first location in Adelphi, Maryland. Although the pizzeria has grown to more than 50 locations across the country, each eatery stays in touch with the original through a menu that upholds certain standards: LEDO's chefs roll dough to order, hand-cut thick pepperoni slices, and bake their pies in rectangular pans, all while humming the theme to Howdy Doody. Having grown with the times, however, LEDO now makes more than pizza. Newer options include spaghetti and meatballs, subs, burgers, and calzones.:m]]
According to Villa Antonio's chef, there are only two secret ingredients in romantic fine dining: abundance and flavor. The menu strikes a careful balance between the two, from the New Zealand lamb chops crowned with melted gorgonzola to the mandarin-orange pesto in the grilled diver scallops to the dessert trolley's pilings of cannoli, tiramisu, and italian cheesecake.
That abundance extends to the spirit of the staff—who upholds the restaurant's motto, "Where you are never a stranger twice"—as well as the decor. At the Ballantyne location, a stone rotunda fitted with hand-blown glass looms over the dining area, while a fountain casts shimmers of colored light across the outdoor patio. At the South Boulevard location, eyes are drawn to the bar area via the black-and-gold flower pattern that dominates the floor. Additional audio-visual flavor can be found on Friday and Saturday nights, when live music helps conjure a romantic atmosphere, much like the sound of Barry White cackling like a witch.