When Giuseppe and Rita Brusco sailed from Calabria to Ellis Island in 1954, they toted their trove of family recipes along with them. Today, owner Frank Brusco upholds this culinary legacy at Brusco's Italian Restaurant & Pizza. Homestyle sauces are central to their menu: chefs simmer vine-ripened tomatoes with fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil, white wine, and butter before ladling the thick, preservative-free marinara atop pastas and Sicilian-style pizzas.
In addition to the authentic cuisine, Brusco's pays homage to its founders’ Italian roots with a trattoria-style dining room. Antique copperware festoons the brick walls, and murals of the Italian countryside treat guests to idyllic representations of rolling foothills populated by free-roaming meatballs.
Ruby's Pizza augments a menu of specialty meat and vegetable pies with classic pasta, chicken, and seafood entrees. Dining duos can split 10-piece chicken-wings appetizers and pick from five sweet or spicy sauces. The margarita pizza marries tomato and basil on a cheesy round dance floor, and the meat-lovers pizza piles sausage, pepperoni, ham, ground beef, and bacon onto a thick, crunchy base. Those looking to create their own pizza masterpieces can pick 2 toppings from 15, including meatball, ground beef, and pineapple. The chicken piccata—sautéed in a lemon, butter, and wine sauce—comes flanked with pasta on the side, and baked ziti dons homemade tomato sauce and two cheeses. Meals can be complemented with imported beers or wines such as a FishEye pinot grigio 2010, ideal for making a toast to finally completing a best-selling novel about a talking ballpoint pen.
The sauce painters at this easy-breezy beachside eatery fortify bellies with hearty appetizers and triangular morsels of pizza all through lunch and dinner hours. Diners can nosh on a dough disc featuring the bare essentials—tomato tears and cheese—or enhance their pie with selections from more than 20 toppings (an additional $1.75 each, not included with this Groupon). Customers weary from trying to secretly sew slices back together with needle and tongue can take a quick breather and elegantly lift their pinkies while sipping a well cocktail or glass of house wine. Alternatively, throats may acquire hydration from a bottle of domestic or imported beer or a gulp of the nearby ocean. Groups looking to orally mangle more than a large pizza can also enjoy an order of chicken wings, which arrive at tables accompanied by bleu cheese. If you’re seated inside, affix your eyes to one of Stingers Pizza's 25 TVs, which allow diners to easily catch sporting events and drop the ball during argumentative conversations about paying attention.
The flames inside the stacked stone oven at Tucci's lightly char thin pizzas made with 20 types of toppings and five kinds of cheese, including ricotta and fresh mozzarella. Below modern lights that hang overhead like glowing popsicles, cheesy pizzas pair with sautéed spinach, broccoli rabe, and escarole with sausage and fire-roasted chicken. While sipping on glasses of wine, guests can ask servers about getting pizzas on multigrain bread, or retreat to the outdoor patio.
As a pleasantly unpretentious pizza and pasta paradise, Rotelli entices regulars who stop by for lunch and dinner to gather with friends, raise a few glasses, and indulge in fine Italian meals. The menu taps its homeland heel with light starters, such as bruschetta italiana ($6.99) and crispy calamari ($9.99). It sends a swooping high-kick well north of Sicily with chicken parmigiana, layered in ricotta and mozzarella, served with pasta ($15.99), and hand-tossed Napoletana pizza, dressed in pepperoni, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and sausage ($10.99 for 10", $18.99 for 16").
Authentic Brooklyn Pizza deftly dispatches hunger pangs with an ample menu of thin-crust, Brooklyn-style pizzas and Italian eats. Patrons can taste the tossed-and-true standards of a gourmet pie, such as the Grand Central with a savory spread of carbonara sauce, mozzarella, bacon, and onions ($11.99 for a 10") or the Bayonne, tastefully decorated with marinara, mozzarella, chicken, and basil in the shape of the New Jersey state bird ($11.99 for a 10").