Instead of serving its sandwiches between buns or a pair of clean, white gloves, Fox’s Pizza Den takes a different approach. The pizzeria uses a fresh-baked, nine-inch pizza crust to create more than a dozen different versions of their signature Wedgies. The Italian, for instance, features ham, salami,and melted cheese slathered with gourmet Italian dressing, and the Veggie Wedgie loads up on mushrooms, onions, and green peppers.
Fox’s also uses its pizza crust for its original purpose: pizza. Ten different gourmet pies anchor the menu, including the steak rancher pizza, which chefs slather in ranch dressing and top with sirloin steak and mushrooms.
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.
People looking for the best pizza in the world flock to two places: New York and Italy. Debbie, the daughter of Austin Pizza Garden's owner, and an award-winning pizzaiola, was no exception. To hone her culinary craft she visited both locales on a transatlantic quest for the perfect pizza recipe. Once she felt she'd mastered one?preferring the thin-crust variety for its unmistakable texture?she flew home to Indianapolis, where she founded Bazbeaux. In no time, the pizzeria took off, earning it a top spot in Indy's pizza scene, an honor that still endures nearly three decades later. To spread her success, Debbie taught her recipe to her family in Austin, who set up a pizzeria of their own in one of the city's century-old historical buildings.
Today, the chefs at Austin Pizza Garden still lovingly make pies using Debbie's carefully crafted recipes, and spice up the original flavor with their own distinctive spin. They throw jalapeno slices into the mix of the texas fajita pie, for example, which is crowned in fajita chicken and avocado and served with a side of sour cream. They've even expanded beyond the traditional pizza sauce, swapping out classic marinara for walnut pesto or black-bean dip. Whether baking up familiar flavors or unique creations, Austin Pizza Garden blows a longhorn of plenty that gathers Austinites near and far.
It's the 1980s. Marc Hill is a personal trainer in NYC, and alas, his favorite restaurant is closed for lunch. So he does what few hungry men would dare in this situation. He knocks on the glass, tells the chef he'll open the store himself?and strangely, the chef obliges. Marc is no stranger to hard work, of course; he helped out at his grandfather's store from the age of 8, and he was running it by 16. So under the tutelage of the general manager, Armando, Marc can finally channel his ethic into something lasting, something to honor his Sicilian mother: the art of pizza making.
More than 20 years later, Marc Hill still celebrates Armando, and his mother, Rosalie Roppolo, by crafting Italian pies at Roppolo's Pizza. With a swing of the kitchen door, tables populate with 22-inch pizzas that weigh more than six pounds each and strike fear in the hearts of even the bravest pizza cutters. On the Mediterranean patio and deck, paninis and calzones descend in the glow of a 73-inch television as colorful parasols look on in admiration.
Although they both hail from the Mediterranean, pizza and falafel don't often appear on the same menu. Diners at Rome's Pizza, however, might be prompted to wonder why—it turns out it's quite possible for one kitchen to carry both dishes off nicely. In a 2004 review, the Current's Alejandro Pérez praised the pesto pizza's "light, crispy crust and full-bodied flavor" and the falafel sandwich's "hot, crisp patties."
This juxtaposition isn't the only surprise on the extensive menu. Sure, you can get red sauce and pepperoni atop your pie, but Rome's specializes in white pizzas slicked with olive oil, herbs, and smoked garlic. Strombolis and calzones fold in on themselves to make for a hearty meal or a high-powered alternative to a water balloon, and sandwiches and pasta display the same love of big portions and off-the-beaten-path ingredients. On the Mediterranean side of the menu, there are also staples such as dolmas, hummus, and gyros.