The Russo family moved from Italy to New York in 1964, and from New York to Texas in 1978, carrying with them time-honored culinary techniques imported straight from the old country. Anthony Russo has worked side by side with family members and Italian chefs since the age of 12, learning to prepares salads, pastas, and pizzas from only the freshest of ingredients. Anthony's love for his family's cooking grew into a lucrative business, with Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen restaurants and Russo's New York Pizzerias popping up all over the American South.
Like a cookie decorated with Lady Liberty's Social Security Number, Russo's pizza is an edible souvenir of the Big Apple, introducing palates to the thin, crispy brick-oven pies that helped make New York cuisine world famous. In between bites of basil-, anchovy-, and meatball-crowned pizzas, diners feast on baked ziti, lobster ravioli, and tortellini carbonara, as well as oven-cooked flatbread sandwiches and toasted calzones.
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.
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).
Tuscany Bistro is the culinary brainchild of Sandra Howren and Pili Arnao, who set out to create a place to share their made-from-scratch Italian specialties with others. Their passion and expertise is on display in more conventional Italian dishes such as spaghetti bolognese and ravioli stuffed with spinach and cheese, as well as creative fare including blue-cheese-citrus chicken drizzled with a balsamic red-wine reduction and served over herbed rice and saut?ed veggies. Desserts such as the popular tres leches cake round out meals in a dining room that's quiet enough for friendly conversation or practicing bird calls.
A massive gorilla snarls from the rafters above Putt-Putt Fun House's caf?, powerless to snatch the ice-cream cones and hot dogs from smiling kids' hands. Indeed, kids are control at the family fun center, leading parents through a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions ranging from mini-golf to laser tag. Waterfalls, ponds, and flowerbeds surround two 18-hole mini-golf courses, 22-foot climbing towers recreate the experience of scaling limestone, and bumper cars teach reckless young drivers to safely exchange insurance information. Putt-Putt Fun House also offers an array of additional activities including bumper boats, mini bowling, a 3D motion theater, and laser frenzy.