Mario Suffi has been in the restaurant industry for more than two decades. That know-how comes in handy at his latest eatery, Mario's Pizza, which is located in a space that has housed Snappy Tomato Pizza and a brontosaurus's bed long before that. In addition to giving the locale a face-lift, Suffi and his kitchen staff have expanded the menu beyond pizza. Case in point: they serve ribs.
Bella Pizzeria's dexterous dough sculptors cobble together a menu of pizzas and authentic Italian dishes using fine ingredients shipped in from Brooklyn and Italy. Diners can wrestle with their own personal pizza ($6.50) or call upon their local cross-stitch club to take on larger sizes ($8.50–$39.50). Choose from specialty topping combinations such as Meat Lovers or barbecue, or craft your own garnish medleys to demonstrate culinary creativity. Patrons who complement entrees with an order of garlic bread ($3.50–$5.50) can use any leftover garlic bread to pull off the tough feat of making friends on crowded elevators or in a football huddle. The eggplant parmesan of a hero sandwich ($6.50–$18.50) shushes stomach mutters, while a lasagna dinner ($9.50) graces tables briefly before inexplicably transforming into a marinara-stained plate.
The kitchen at Taverna Red turns out Mediterranean-inspired and American dishes to delight every appetite within its warm and expansive enclave. An array of small plates succinctly satisfy, doing double duty as shareable appetizers or solo suppers. The mini pork shank ($7.50) dons a sweet glaze, and steamed Prince Edward Island mussels luxuriate in a tomato, garlic, and white-wine broth ($8.50) to emulate their natural oceanic environment. For heartier hunger, the menu musters up a hefty roster of grilled meats, sautéed seafood, and fresh pastas. Pan-seared triggerfish hides beneath a beurre-blanc sauce ($16) as it silently aims its side dishes at loudmouthed wine glasses. Homemade fussili pasta, on the other hand, peppers a pink cream sauce with fresh salmon, baby spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes ($15). An array of specialty cocktails ($6–$7) buttress tantalizing tastes, and diners can also sample selections from the abundant wine list in 3-ounce portions ($3–$4) or complement cuisine with a full glass ($5.50–$8).
In the 40 years since the first Hungry Howie's opened, the restaurants' chefs haven't just focused on getting new and inventive toppings. Instead, they have also innovated the their pizzas in other ways, such as creating their eight signature flavors of crust. Crust options include sesame, garlic and herbs, Cajun seasons, or even onion, adding a subtle flavor to custom pizzas. Guests can choose which crust would go best with their mix of the house's 15 toppings, which include options such as bacon, feta cheese, anchovies, and pineapple. In addition to pizzas, chefs also create oven-baked subs and fresh salads to create full Italian meals.
Italian landscape murals adorn the walls at Riccardo’s, where chefs craft authentic Italian dishes and Italian-inspired cuisine. Their signature gnocchi à la Riccardo tosses gnocchi pasta with shrimp and chicken sautéed with pancetta and sun-dried tomatoes in a garlic chardonnay sauce. Italian flavors also extend to housemade pizza pies that come with a choice of more than 15 toppings, as well as classic philly cheesesteaks. Riccardo’s also specializes in diner-style breakfasts that feature items such as an Italian omelet with fresh mozzarella, tomato, ham, and a dash of tomato sauce.