The brother-sister team behind Rudino's Pizza and Grinders opened the eatery's first location in 1995 in Cary, North Carolina. They wanted to create a restaurant that incorporated an onsite bakery into its design, keeping the kitchen full of fresh, housemade dough for pizzas and sandwiches. It was a concept that proved successful, and now Rudino's has locations all across the country.
In these kitchens, cooks coat crusts with a sauce based on the duo's family recipe, and then layer on any number of ingredients?including fresh basil, jalape?os, and bacon. They also slide open-faced grinders into ovens after loading them with such sandwich fixings as italian sausage, salami, and fresh vegetables, which are never frozen, canned, or taken from a neighbor's crisper.
Keith Dartez and Shannon Landry got the entrepreneurial itch after logging 50 combined years of experience in the pizza industry. After they decided to go into business for themselves, they soon decided they didn?t want to create a run of the mill pizza joint. They exercised their creativity, incorporating tried-and-true Cajun recipes into traditional pizzeria dishes. The fusion of flavors manifests in Cajun Pizza Place, where the duo top thin-crust pizza with Cajun staples such as shrimp, barbecue chicken, and spicy jalapenos, sided with Cajun favorites such as muffulettas and fried shrimp po-boys. The spicy kick of the hot-smoked sausages and gumbo can be cooled with seven varieties of draft beer or a hug from an icy polar bear.
The chefs at Hill Country Pasta House have no quarrel with traditional Italian food—they whip up as mean a chicken rigatoni as anybody. But mastering classic Italian cooking is a mere stepping stone toward the restaurant's standout fusions of Italian and southwestern flavors. Besides tossing grilled chicken with jalapeño fettuccine and tequila cream sauce, the culinary team lends an extra kick to shrimp diablo by stuffing each bacon-wrapped crustacean with serrano peppers.
A serrano salsa likewise spices up the aptly named serrano pizza, but Hill Country's wood-fired pizzas can also host more common toppings, such as wine mushrooms. In addition to grain-heavy eats, gluten-free options are also available.
At The Brick Oven on 35th, which has run under its current owners since 2000, grains from around the world pervade the crusts of 10 signature pizzas baked in wood-fired brick ovens, and housemade bread accompanies pasta plates such as baked spinach ravioli. All-natural, range-free chicken and beef adorn dishes, and the staff also concocts vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free pies and entrees. Feasters can savor their Italian treats while sitting amid white tablecloths in the indoor dining room, luxuriating on the outdoor patio, or in the middle of a high-speed gondola pursuit via delivery and catering services.
Sunny’s savvy chefs hand-toss Chicago-style pizzas seven days a week, baking them into bastions of bubbly, gooey goodness in less than 30 minutes. The dough artists nail each disc to an easel, paint it with tomato-based sauce, and then frame it with an attractive cardboard box. Diners can choose from 19 different toppings, shushing fussing tummies with bacon-chicken blankies and sweet pineapple-onion lullabies. Fueled by a desire to start the world’s first stomach aquarium, shrimp and anchovies board deep-dish vessels and sail them mouthward, and pepperoni, hot peppers, and a splash of complimentary barbecue sauce give pies a piquant kick.
Owned by Texas State University alumni, Gumby's Pizza and Wings hand-tosses dough and crafts specialty pizzas until 3:30 in the morning. A careful consideration for all ingredients culminates in specialty pizzas ($12.99/medium) such as the Blockhead, an aggregation of pepperoni, sausage, beef, bacon, and ham, bound together by two gooey cheeses like a French library book. Vegetarians can devour the fresh produce scattered across the Garden, a bloom of pizza sauce festooned with mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and tomatoes. Gumby's wing wunderkinds slather their charges in four different sauces, which span the mild-to-spicy spectrum ($7.99/10 wings). Golden-brown pepperoni rolls marry zesty meat and mozzarella cheese with flaky dough ($1.49 each) and drive away hunger pangs like crotchety neighbors chasing NFL teams off their lawns.