Liberty, Missouri, is slightly out of the delivery zone of most Chicago pizzerias, so when Jason and Mattie Ransom moved there, they needed another way to get their fix of deep-dish pizza. They decided to try their hand at recreating their favorite pie from scratch, unknowingly laying the groundwork for Dish Famous Stuffed Pizza.
The Ransom’s homespun recipe for Chicago-style deep-dish pizza has lasted more than 15 years, first gracing the tables of their restaurant before spreading out to grocery stores and forward-thinking vending machines. At their eatery, they still sling dough each day, complementing deep-dish disks with thin-crust and hand-tossed pies, half-pound Black Angus burgers, Chicago-style italian beef sandwiches, and 50 different bottles of imported and craft beer.
As young girls, sisters Suzanne and Stephanie dreamed of opening their own deli. As adults, they joined forces to open Sorella’s—Italian for sister—where they create a spread of sandwiches with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses and a hefty smattering of vegetables. The shop’s meatball sub is made from scratch with 100% ground beef, and the muffaletta encompasses black forest ham, salami, melted provolone, and Sorella’s own green-olive spread.
A choice of 12 meats, 8 cheeses, and 14 dressings and veggies provides diners with a multitude of options to stuff inside bread or a foam hand. Sorella’s also supplies sandwiches to parties and corporate events, as well as offering housemade desserts.
Currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, Popeyes remains the flavorful lovechild of Cajun and Creole cooking, serving up a wide-ranging menu. Connoisseurs of crispiness can stick with Popeyes’ famous New Orleans–style fried chicken meals ($4.49–$6.89) surrounded with savory sides ($1.59–$3.79) such as warm flaky biscuits, red beans and rice, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, Cajun rice, and more. Otherwise, slather some livers and gizzards ($2.99–$5.49) onto a biscuit and eat it, temporarily imbuing you with the chicken’s mighty strength and ability to smell time. Avian-averse appetites can feast instead on a shrimp po’ boy combo ($6.19) with a pecan pie ($1.49) or Mississippi mud pie ($1.99) for dessert. And to keep your famished family from impeaching you and electing a new parent, quell multi-person appetites with bona fide family meals ($10.49–$30.99).
Planet Sub sidesteps the flavorless land mines of days-old bread, opting for filling-packed subs and sandwiched meaty delights. The menu may differ slightly between the two locations, but omnipresent signature subs cross state lines to sate hungering masses, such as the bacon-bolstered mega roast beef ($4.69/$7.29 ) and the Planet BBQ, a saucy concoction stacked with ham, turkey, and roast beef ($3.99/$6.99 ). Vegetarian options abound, so meat abstainers can try the spicy cheese sub ($4.49/$6.99 ) or the pesto bello ($4.99/$7.19), which is loaded with portobello mushrooms, red peppers, and a tomato-garlic pesto as smooth and suave as an Italian R&B crooner.
Conrad’s Restaurant & Alehouse has a split personality. The golden lighting and warm tones of its restaurant, where families and couples chat intimately, belie the presence of its adjoining alehouse, which harbors a 400-square-foot golf simulator. Roomy enough for eight players, the virtual-golf enclosure uses E6 live-motion software to whisk golfers to cyber versions of iconic links such as St. Andrews and Pebble Beach, where celebrity golfers have been known to roam the greens in stretch golf carts. Elsewhere in the the lively bar area, revelrous patrons sip frothy American craft beers and icy cocktails in the glow of HDTVs as the sounds of live music and pool balls ricochet off vibrantly lit walls.
Back in the dining room, dishes prepared to patrons’ specifications by executive chef Charles M. Perkins and his staff populate tables set with understated elegance. Preparing each of the items on their eclectic menu from scratch, the talented team plates meals rich with flavor fusions culled from French, Italian, and contemporary American cuisines. Their burgers and hand-cut steaks, such as the au poivre filet with cognac cream sauce, promise tender bites with warm centers and savory seasonings. And their seafood preparations, such as the seared mahi mahi or the walnut-encrusted trout, arrive at tables fresh from their natural habitats of sprawling oceanic sandcastles.