Each of Pasta Nostra's pizzas begins with hand-stretched dough, fresh, house-made tomato sauce, and a hearty helping of mozzarella cheese. From there, the possibilities are vast: square Sicilian or round, thin New York-style crust, pesto or white sauce, and topping choices that include prosciutto, roasted red peppers, and asparagus. Just like snowflakes, pasta mixed with ricotta, sausage, and seafood comes in eight different shapes, and focaccia bread clasps sizzling fillings in a slate of paninis. In keeping with the restaurant's spirit of options and inclusivity, Pasta Nostra especially welcomes families with a kids' menu and family-style dinners.
Owners Bruno and Jimmy fill Mamma Lucia’s kitchen with housemade Italian family recipes. At each of the eight locations, chefs mix and match myriad pastas and sauces such as penne in pink sauce or chicken pesto ravioli in a creamy pesto sauce. Chicken and veal can be dipped in egg and sautéed in a lemon-and-wine sauce or prepared in any of 15 other ways. In the dining room, servers happily deliver New York–style pizzas to tables or to passing taxicabs full of lost Brooklyn residents.
Squisito Pizza & Pasta dishes out an immense, palate-pleasing menu of Italian favorites and innovative originals. Starters, such as the shrimp gondola paddling with parmesan-cream sauce in a toasted italian-bread canoe ($8.99), pacify peckish gullets. Seasoned chefs dress pasta in a variety of disguises, from the penne Popeye cloaked in grilled chicken, sautéed spinach, roasted red peppers ($12.99) to the fettuccine bolognese shrouded in creamy rosé meat ragu ($10.99). Piping-hot pizza pies come in Chicago, New York, and flatbread styles, crowned with both classic and gourmet ingredients. Bite into a healthy skyline with the New York–style roasted veggie pie, a foldable dough disk topped with zucchini, red peppers, roasted eggplant, goat cheese, and balsamic ($16.99), or dive into a flavorful Great Lake with the Chicago-style Squisito ($17.99), a deep dish dotted with pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, extra cheese, onions, green peppers, and optional anchovies ($17.99). Wee visitors to Squisito Pizza & Pasta receive a free ball of dough, a welcome alternative to children's typical dining distractions, such as flopping around on the floor and drawing leg mustaches on fellow diners.
The dough masters at Waterloo Pizza & Subs sling traditional pizzas adorned with various meat and veggie toppings next to sodas. Bedeck two 14-inch tomato and cheese pizzas with edible sprinklings of meat such as ground beef, ham, or pepperoni. Patrons seeking greener repast can graze alongside their pet brontosauruses on spicy bites of onion, savory mushrooms, or crisp hot peppers. While slices fill empty stomach caverns, diners send a flood of soda from a 2-liter bottle in after them.
At Roma’s Pizza, patrons will find something interesting on the menu: Mexican food. Though specialties in hand-tossed pizza and stuffed subs both hot and cold headline the restaurant’s menu, chefs also sizzle fajitas, ladle jumbo shrimp over spanish rice, and slather nachos with cheese. Ten years of experience aids the staff in preparing such a lengthy selection, that, of course, includes both traditional, New York–style circular pies and doughy Sicilian squares. They also bake strombolis and calzones, press paninis, and toss fresh salads.
Though its gourmet pizzas pile on eclectic toppings from feta and hot peppers to buffalo chicken, that’s not the only variety available at Venice Pizza. A menu longer than Popeye's list of felony-assault charges spans from hot sandwiches to quesadillas and jumbo buffalo wings. Platters pile fries, fish, and other meats onto one plate, and strombolis, gyros, and pasta also accommodate eaters not in the mood for a slice.
Under the guidance of pie professionals Iris and Mike Wasserman, Pizza Stop's chefs handcraft batches of dough daily for pizzas in between artfully assembling subs, sandwiches, and pastas. The bacon pizza ($8.75 for 10", $14.75 for 16") rouses slumbering taste buds with a meaty wake-up call and the white pizza ($7.75 for 10", $12.75 for 16") eschews pigmentation for a savory, snow-hued canvas. Mouths can embark upon a Hellenic sojourn through the pita-swaddled chicken-souvlaki sandwich ($5.95), speckled with feta cheese, homemade ziti dressing, and tiny tomato Minotaurs. The steak-and-cheese sub ($5.75 for 7") quiets howling stomach sirens with a slab of 5-ounce rib eye and pastas such as lasagna ($8.95) toboggan down the esophagus. Diners can feel the breeze ripple through their knuckle hair in the outdoor eating area, weather and opportunistic clouds permitting.