Although some franchised eateries lose sight of tradition, the cooks at each Godfather’s Pizza locale stick to a 30-year-old practice of slathering thick, original-recipe crusts with vine-ripened-tomato sauce and quality cheese. Not all pizzas begin on robust foundations, however. The cooks also prep golden, buttery, pan-style crusts as well as thin and crispy crusts that allow toppings—such as such as green peppers, artichoke hearts, and seasoned chicken—to take the spotlight. Many Godfather's Pizza locations even offer gluten-free crusts, and a few locations serve pizzas in boxes that are weatherproofed so that they can be reused as sleds.
Tasty Italian cuisine weighs down the tables at Russo's, where diners can sprinkle items such as hamburger, goat cheese, and bell peppers ($1.95–$2.25/topping) on an original New York–style pizza ($12.95–$14.95). Crispy Italian Pizzotto bread crowns flatbread sandwiches including the meatball parmesan with house-made Italian meatballs ($8.95) or the chicken-portobello Pizzotto, filled with grilled chicken, sautéed spinach, and portobello mushrooms ($8.95). Fresh, trans-fat-free pastas provide padding for house specialties including the shrimp fra diavolo ($15.95), which sits in spicy, hot marinara sauce atop a bed of spaghetti and shredded dreams, or the chicken picatta pasta, prepared with sun-dried tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, and capers tossed in fettuccini pasta ($10.95).
A mom-and-pop-shop transplant from New York, Pizza King infuses its East Coast pies with authentic flavors and fresh ingredients taken from 40 years of familial recipe know-how. Small 9-inch pizzas ($5) satisfy diminutive cravings, but the monstrous 30-inch pie ($30) feeds whole block parties and was once used to blanket the entirety of Manhattan as part of Rudy Giuliani’s One City, One Pizza campaign. For an additional cost ($0.50–$4), taste DJs can spin their own mixings by choosing from a plethora of pizza toppings, such as meatballs, jalapeños, and olives. Specialty pizzas come capped with a variety of meat hats, including chicken wings ($12–$15), and The Legend pie fuses pepperoni, sausage, ham, beef, and bacon with onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and black olives to produce an omnivoric lovechild ($14–$18). Customers indifferent to pies can avail themselves of the nondiscus options adorning Pizza King's menu, such as calzones ($5+), stromboli ($5+), salads ($5+), wings ($6–$7), and garlic knots ($3).
DoubleDave's Pizzaworks serves up an assortment of hearty, hand-tossed pizzas, Peproni rolls, stromboli, and more. Choose a pie from DoubleDave's selection of specialty pizzas ($19.99 for an 18", $15.99 for a 15", and $12.99 for a 12”)—the buffalo-chicken pizza outfits its surface area in mozzarella, chicken strips, wing sauce, and ranch dressing, while the duplicitous Dave's Fave offers carnivore-coaxing meatball and sausage or veggie-baiting tomato, garlic, and spinach variations on its olive oil, garlic, and oregano sauce base. Do-it-yourselfers are welcome to design their own pies ($10.99 for a 15", plus $1.59 per topping), choosing size, toppings, and the type of crust, and diners wishing to cram their cuisine into claustrophobic confines can opt for a half-dozen Peproni rolls ($7.99), with pepperoni and cheese wrapped into dough. Or escape the boot-shaped grip of the Mediterranean with a Philly cheesesteak stromboli ($10.99 for large, $5.99 for small).
• For $10, you get an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for two (a $6.99 value each) plus two sodas (a $2 value each), valid from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (up to a $19.15 total value, including tax). • For $14, you get an Italian meal for two, including a medium 14-inch signature pizza (up to a $16.99 value), seven wings (a $5.99 value), and two sodas (a $2 value each; up to a $28.73 total value, including tax). • For $21, you get an Italian meal for four, including a large 16-inch signature pizza (up to a $19.99 value), 14 wings (an $11.98 value), and four sodas (a $2 value each; up to a $42.57 total value, including tax).
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.