Windows covering the wall let floods of natural light pour across servers who bear trays of pastas and pizzas through Sutera's Italian Restaurant in Westwood, which has been in business for three decades. As night falls, domed hanging lights glow overhead like hovering spacecraft, illuminating a weathered wooden bar where wall compartments backed in vibrant red contain ranks of bottled wines. At tables, patrons tear into meatball subs and burgers with italian seasoning, causing traders in napkin futures to pull out their cell phones.
Family is important at Cascone's Restaurant, a fact illustrated by the portraits adorning their lobby walls and the relatives working side by side in the kitchen and dining room since the first eatery opened four generations ago in 1954. Chef Victor Cascone draws from the family's Sicilian heritage to plate traditional pasta and meat dishes. He also draws inspiration from family members young and old to put a fresh spin on time-tested dishes, as evidenced by nachos made from pasta. That sense of camaraderie spreads to the restaurant's spacious banquet facilities, making it suitable venues for families gathering for birthday parties, rehearsal dinners, and spaghetti-slurping contests.
At two locations, The Other Place’s staff fires up ovens to bake pizzas, italian subs, and sandwiches to a golden brown—the color of Pharaoh’s mask after he eats a chocolate bar. Atop hand-made pizza crusts made from a 40-year-old recipe, the kitchen team layers toppings such as italian sausage, salami, and sun-dried tomatoes, lubricated by tomato, alfredo, and barbecue sauce. Submarine-shaped bread holds italian meats, veggies, and toppings. In both eateries’ dining areas, more than 50 TVs stream sports games. The Other Place also often entertains guests with karaoke—America’s most underappreciated sport, and the one with the least funding in most school districts.
Leaf-green canopies cover the front of Papa Kenos’ brick building, which attracts passersby with the smell of baking bread. Inside, panoramic wall photography ornaments exposed brick walls, and pizza-shaped hanging lights suggest the cheesy, oven-baked pies on the menu. At a booth or table, guests can grip a hearty Italian or Reuben sandwich, or consume specialty or custom pizzas by the pie or slice. After polishing off a final slice, guests can retreat to the pizzeria’s outdoor beer garden to take a sip of their favorite brew or collect clippings from a tree of flowering lagers.