Bella Luna sits only a short pizza toss from the blue waters of Corpus Christi Bay. Owner Salvatore Colicci––who hails from the Bronx––bakes 22-inch New York-style pies, and he even personally rehabbed the eatery with tomato-red walls and arched porticos. The culinary advice of Sasha Grime has helped craft the traditional Italian menu, which employs delicate wine sauces for chicken and veal and outfits pastas in hearty bolognese. Bella Luna's housemade Italian desserts are also available for takeout or for delivery to those within a 5-mile radius, the same radius of the world’s 53rd largest pizza ever made.
Over classic red-and-white checkered tablecloths, diners dig into thin and crispy New York?style pies, devouring slices decorated with meatballs, olives, and pepperoni. The massive menu is also home to a variety of Italian-influenced dishes, from classic chicken parmigiana to spinach-, feta-, and mozzarella-lined calzones, which turn crispy and golden-brown in the oven.
The chefs at Maggies Pizza & Deli, do Italian double time by making Italy’s favorite dishes as well as naming their sandwiches after famous mob movies including Casino, Goodfellas, and Godfather. The chefs also make their own sauces that cling to pizza crusts, tortellini, and garlic cheese bread.
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.
With parents hailing from Sicily and Naples, Anthony Russo enjoyed an Italian upbringing. By age 12, he spent much of his time in the kitchen, learning to prepare Old World recipes with his family and family friends. And from the flurry of Italian phrases and conversation, one quote of his father's stuck with him most: "If you can't make it fresh, don't serve it!" Several decades later, Anthony has hand-tossed his own Italian restaurant franchise and, true to his father's words, employs fresh ingredients in the same family recipes that were passed down to him. Amid exposed brick and walls the warm hue of marinara, skilled chefs craft New York–style brick-oven pizzas with toppings such as spinach, sundried tomatoes, and capers. Servers stand ready to answer questions about the restaurant’s wine lists, letting guests know which wines pair best with the pizzotto sandwich or whether pinot noir can really turn dogs invisible.
The Marble Slab Creamery sensory experience begins by just walking past the storefront, where the buttery scent of fresh-baked waffle cones drifts out into the air. Gourmet ice creams are freshly crafted on site from Marble Slab’s original recipe, enticing customer's eyes with a rainbow of colors. Once clients have made a flavor selection, they choose from a smorgasbord of mix-ins, from fresh fruit to nuts to candy and crumbled cookies, which an ice cream chef then hand-folds in atop a frosty marble slab before packing the finished custom-designed flavor masterpiece into a house-made waffle cone.
In addition to procuring hand-held treats, Marble Slab Creamery can send creations home in a variety of other formats, such as ice cream cakes, cupcakes, and hand-packed quarts, or in the capable hands of a catering team for sprucing up special events such a corporate get-togethers or school functions with portable marble slabs or sundae bars in tow.