Winners of Polk County News Chief's 2007 People's Choice award, Auburndale Pizza Company’s pie flingers toss together eclectic specialty-pizza combinations from a choice of four sauce bases and more than 20 meat and vegetable toppings. Sweet barbecue sauce swathes beef and bacon, welded by mozzarella and cheddar cheese in the BBQ Pizza Feast ($5.75 per slice for all specialty pizzas). Annette's Favorite Veggie binds garden denizens including green pepper, spinach, and tomato with enough ricotta and mozzarella to ensure the veggies don't grow up, run away, and join the salad. Customers tap into alchemical aspirations with a personally designed make-your-own pizza ($10.55+, $1.50 per topping), or boycott bread with Annette's No-Crust Pizza ($5.75 for up to 5 toppings), a 7-inch tin-baked amalgamation that forgoes dough for sauce and toppings lashed together with mozzarella latticework.
In 1960, brothers Tom and James Monaghan decided to get $500 together and buy local pizzeria Domi-Nick's in Ypsilanti, Michigan. More than 50 years later, the Monaghans had sold their creation, with more than 9,000 Domino's Pizzas peppering the globe from New Delhi to New York. The pizza chain's menu ranges from pizzas to pastas and boneless chicken wings, side-kicked by their bread sticks and bites, which are coated in garlic and Parmesan after being baked to golden crispiness. Since the reboot of their traditional recipe in 2009, Domino's now offers more than 27 toppings to craft a build-your-own pizza or decorate your neighbor's car.
When the pizza chefs stretch their dough out to 18-inch extra-large crusts, they keep on stretching until a behemoth 30-inch disk is formed. And then come the toppings: Smoked ham and grilled chicken, black olives galore, and pizza sauce mixed with a dash of barbecue sauce. Pizzas aren?t the only specialty at Primos II Pizzeria, though. Chefs also bake lasagna and chicken-parmigiana hoagies. They also supersize meals for catered birthday parties and Pi Day celebrations.
Voted best pizza in town by the Orlando Sentinel for seven years in a row, Pizzeria Valdiano unleashes a welcome avalanche of dough, cheese, tomato paste, and freestyle-snowboarding cherry peppers upon the burgundy-boothed slopes of the restaurant’s interior. The pie-centric menu democratically offers a motorcade of non-pie starters such as fried mozzarella ($4.95) and garlic-bread parmigiana ($3.75) to take down those who lack the drive to take a piece of the cheesy disc. Try an artichoke-hearty pizza Fiorentina ($9.50 for 10", $16.95 for 16"), a peppery pizza piccante ($9.50/$16.95), or a pizza stella ($10.95/$17.95) with melted mozzarella, eggplant, and feta cheese.
The Red Elephant Pizza and Grill takes its status as a family-friendly eatery seriously. That means they offer a huge variety of choices, from a gluten-free menu to homemade items such as salad dressings and pizza dough, while keeping the atmosphere fun and laid-back. Specialty square-sliced, thin crust pizzas include options for the veggie and meat lovers in the group, and guests can also build their own pies with toppings like jalape?os, grilled chicken, and mushrooms for total pizza control. Burgers, wraps, and salads also range from classics to specialties, with options like the grilled salmon burger, blue cheese wedge salad, and mediterranean wrap with feta and hummus. Rice bowls and pasta make appearances as well, and a separate kids' menu offers even more selections for little tykes or for those on a steady diet of grilled cheese and chicken fingers.
Joseph and Efren Boglio grew up in a Northern Italian town near Torino, raised by a mother locally renowned for her cooking abilities. Although the brothers loved the double-crusted, ricotta-stuffed pizza that she made every Easter, it wasn't until they moved across the ocean to Chicago that they realized just how special it was. Unable to find an equivalent after eating their way through local pizzerias and hunting pizzas in the wild, they opened Giordano's in 1974 with the goal of recreating the savory pie from their childhood. They've adapted their style over the years, but the concept has stayed the same: thick layers of mozzarella submerged in rich tomato sauce and served in a shallow bowl of golden dough. Diners can add ingredients such as spinach, sausage, or shrimp. Even though the Giordano’s deep-dish empire has expanded to Florida, its menu retains its old-country stamp with cuisine such as juicy italian beef and housemade meatballs.