Santa Cruz Pizza Company's devoted discus artistes rise each morning to stir their secret-recipe sauce, craft their made-from-scratch dough, and then unite them to build an assorted menu of sumptuous pies. Regale ravenous tongue buds with the salami, pepperoni, sausage, and canadian bacon symphony that tops the meat combo pizza ($17.97 for an 11" pie), or aim lower on the food chain with the mushroom, artichoke, pesto sauce, and garlic ensemble that headlines the Garden Pesto Delight ($14.75 for an 11” pie). All large pies can be ordered in take-and-bake form ($3 off the menu price), granting oven enthusiasts and those plagued by spontaneous cheese cravings a greater amount of pizza autonomy. Chicago deep-dish and gluten-free options sate cravings for alternative crusts, and items such as the philly cheesesteak ($7.50) and the tuna sandwich ($6.50) raise the oft-overlooked banner for noncircular comestibles.
Redwood Pizzeria bakes up a savory menu of circle-centric eats, all crafted with organic pizza toppings, sauce, and dough. Edible architects can draft their own slices with a wealth of formidable pizza materials, including meaty toppings and locally sourced produce, and those drawing an artistic blank can opt for Redwood's savory specialty pies, such as the Greek, which dons a delectable dusting of feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts ($11.99/small). For less Euclidean cravings, Redwood boasts an eclectic assortment of hot baked dishes, including nachos ($7+), calzones ($9+), and organic vegetarian lasagna, which lets tired tongues make tasty base camp on layers of noodles, spinach, red onions, and zucchini before their ascent to its cheesy summit ($12). A selection of beers and local wines is also on hand to equip throats for lengthy conversations on the philosophical conundrums of beet canning.
As a child living at the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Ralph DiTullio spent his Sunday afternoons brewing hearty sauces side by side with his grandfather in preparation for the family dinner. As the smell of tomatoes filled the kitchen, his mother and grandmother cut and boiled fresh pastas. On other occasions, he found himself in the cool darkness of the garage, where his grandfather smashed and fermented his own grapes to make wine. Today, nearly all the recipes at Nonno's Italian Cafe build on the hearty Italian dishes Ralph’s mother and grandmother used to make. In the small mountaintop cafe, Ralph cultivates this same sense of familial bonding with new patrons and usual crowds alike, proffering updates on current weather and traffic to callers from the valley below.
While Ralph begins each day crafting potato-filled breakfast burritos and freshly baked turnovers, his lunch and dinner menus transition into traditional Italian fare, such as pastas stuffed with cheese or topped with artichokes and meatballs. He and his culinary crew fire pizzas outside in a wood oven, stacking each with Mediterranean vegetables and barbecued meats with greater care than an artist painting a still-life jenga tower. Every Friday and Saturday, the staff fires up the barbecue for sizzling steaks and sausages. To complement both hearty and light fare, the culinary crew keeps a cellar of nearly 2,000 wine labels and up to 70 beers, replenishing their stock with selections from mostly small international vintners and brewers. They present a changing roster of these wines at weekly tastings to suit different themes and keep the wines from becoming codependent with the house crystal. While all sampling services are kept at small sizes indoors, they can spill outside to bocce-ball courts with courtside seating for up to 150.
The Dutchman's Pizza & Pasta staff hand-rolls dough, stirs pots of their signature pizza sauce, and tops pies with locally harvested veggies. They have stuck with this tradition for more than three decades. In addition to baking nine pre-fabricated premium pizzas, they use their collected culinary wisdom to line sandwiches with housemade meatballs, deli cuts, and other parts of secret recipes passed down from the Fabulous Feasts branch of the Illuminati. Beyond pies and sandwiches, the team initiates guests into the Dutchman's Pizza & Pasta traditions by welcoming them to drink pitchers of beer, play a round on an arcade game, and watch sporting events.
Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too! has been a classic Italian eatery since 1956, from the family-style meals and traditional dishes down to the red-checkered tablecloths. The building that houses its original restaurant in Mountain View has been around since the 1920s, and it has vacillated from a speakeasy to a coffee shop to its current state as a friendly Italian restaurant. At each of the company’s five locations, chefs masterfully toss pizza dough in the air to create specialty pies such as the vegetarian fantasy or seafood ecstasy, piled with scallops, shrimp, clams, and high concentrations of euphoria. The intoxicating aromas of garlic and marinara waft through the air as families and friends enjoy meals of house-made meatballs, New York-style Italian sausage, and veal scaloppini.
When it comes to toppings, Hot Brick Pizza doesn’t scrimp. The restaurant offers limitless combinations of meats and veggies including sausage, spinach, and marinated mushrooms. But while the flavors come piled high, slices aren’t weighed down thanks to the shop’s healthy focus, which sees chefs using only unbleached whole-wheat flour for their dough and forcing each pepperoni to do 20 pushups before allowing it to rest atop melted cheese.