Hungry Howie’s grew into a nation-spanning franchise from a humble start in Taylor, Michigan in 1973, when founder Jim Hearn converted a hamburger stand into a pizzeria. With the help of business partner Steve Jackson––who started as a delivery man at the original location––the two men franchised a decade later and began expanding their delicious operation, eventually expanding to nearly 600 locations spread across 24 states in the 3rd dimension alone. Winner of Pizza Today magazine’s Chain of the Year award in 2004, Hungry Howie’s continues to earn the most attention for its specialty flavored crust pizzas––which infuse dough with a choice of eight seasonings such as ranch or garlic herb––as well as zesty pizza accompaniments such as oven-baked meatball and chicken parm subs.
Candied walnuts and baby arugula are usually salad ingredients. But at Legends Pizza and Wings, they are standard gourmet-pizza toppings. The eatery?s creative toppings also include Florida strawberries, smoked gouda, goat, and ricotta cheese, a balsamic reduction, and a sprinkling of rosemary.
The gourmet touches extend to the menu?s hand-crafted sandwiches, which feature panko-crusted chicken and breaded eggplant tucked between toasted ciabatta, and sauce-slathered wings, which plunge into housemade blue-cheese dressing. Meals pair with more than 50 craft beer options from such breweries as Stone and Dogfish Head.
The chefs at Argenti Pizza adorn their deep-dish pizzas—dubbed Argenti-style pies—with such creative ingredients as blue cheese, eggplant, pimientos, and chicken alfredo. The family-friendly eatery also piles plates high with spaghetti, ravioli, or chicken parmesan, their savory aromas mingling with karaoke tunes on Friday and Monday nights. At the other end of the pie spectrum, thinner New York–style crusts bake to a golden brown before being eaten or subbed in during frisbee golf.
Sample a wide variety of tasty menu items at Humpys, where New York-style pizza reigns supreme. Munch on a gooey concoction of dough and toppings with a medium margherita ($13.50) or Hawaiian ($13.50) pizza. Hungry mouths may enjoy catching a frisbee of pizza flatbread, which is offered in varieties such as barbecue chicken ($8) and mushroom with caramelized onions ($8). All of Humpys's dough is made fresh daily with a crust crafted from traditional Italian and honey-wheat ingredients, hand-tossed and fire-baked for an extra singe of authenticity. Sandwiches are also available in varieties such as the meatball hero ($7.95), and squealing sweet teeth can be sated by biting into the moist expanse of a fresh-baked jumbo carrot-cake cupcake ($3).
Since 1979, the chefs at Bona Italian Restaurant have been baking pans of lasagna, tossing caesar salads, and piling sub sandwiches with Boar's Head deli meats. They craft Italian comfort food, topping linguine with mussels and clams and crowning pizzas with inventive blends of ingredients such as eggplant, bacon, and gorgonzola cheese. Beyond the plates of veal saltimbocca—cooked with white wine, prosciutto, and mozzarella—in the main dining area, a carefully selected vino menu can be found in the newly added wine bar. In addition to sips of grape-based libations, it offers high-top wooden tables and a flat-screen TV perfect for rolling-pin practice.
Beneath proudly fluttering Italian and American flags, handcrafted New York–style pizzas and time-tested Italian dishes emerge from Johnny's New York Pizza's kitchen. From an outdoor patio, crispy thin crusts launch steam from homemade dough and fistfuls of toppings including mushrooms, genoa salami, and eggplant. Pasta strands teem with mussels, calamari marinara, or grilled chicken, and cold and hot hero sandwiches conceal veal cutlet and cheese-steak fixings. Checkered tables beg for customers to linger with marinara-festooned meals, and readymade pizza slices allow patrons to hastily pick up a meal or something to wave at passing ships to prove they have pizza.