The first thing you want to do with a hot pizza is dig in, but if you're so inclined, go ahead and count the pepperoni first. Donatos promises that every pepperoni pizza, sized large or larger, will have at least 100 slices of lean pepperoni spread across the pie. That's just one of the many flourishes that Donatos, founded in 1963, has used to distinguish itself from the rest. There's also its Edge to Edge promise: a guarantee that every pie will be loaded from one end to the other with toppings, from said pepperoni slices to family-recipe sausage to fresh, hand-cut veggies. Donatos' formula seems to have worked, as the once small Italian eatery now spans the nation with more than 150 locations.
Beyond its classic pizzas, Donatos offers many specialty pies, including its chicken spinach mozzarella and Mariachi beef. Each is framed with naturally smoked, aged provolone cheese on top and cornmeal-encrusted dough, from a 50-year old recipe, below. Donatos even offers gluten-free pizzas on its signature Udi's crust. For those searching out other Italian fare, the menu features robust stromboli stuffed with meats and cheeses, and hearty subs. And for dessert, Donatos creates its warm cinnamon brick-street bread, an oven-baked loaf of artisan pull-apart bread with cinnamon spread, streusel, and vanilla icing.
Harking back to the first American-made coal-fired pizzas, the ovens at Delicio Coal Fired Pizza are home to smoldering embers that imbue the pies with a rich, smoky flavor. These pizzas emerge from the ovens with Southwestern-influenced flavor profiles, with topping combinations such as roasted chicken, black beans, and green chiles, or carnitas with pepper jack, spicy pickles, and red onions. Cocktails fuse together the Southwestern and Italian themes of the food menu, featuring zesty micheladas, sweet prickly pear margaritas, Italian mojitos, and housemade limoncello.
At age 11, while other Jersey kids were playing ball up the block, Tony Aponte was treating his four siblings to pizzas in the family kitchen. More than three decades have passed since those days. Tony has found new digs. He's moved to Ohio to be closer to his three daughters. But he is still crafting pizzas, drawing on those childhood experiences and a greatly expanded palette of toppings and ingredients available at Aponte's Pizzeria, which was featured on The Food Network's Restaurant Impossible.
In the pies he makes now, house-made sauce, hand-tossed white or wheat dough, and fistfuls of whole-milk cheese support capicola, genoa salami, grilled peppers, and artichoke hearts. While pulling apart slices, guests at Aponte?s Pizzeria can drink from a full bar or glance up at five flat-screen TVs to check sports scores or see if the anchorman is still wearing their friendship bracelet. Sports photos and team insignias pepper the marinara-red walls, and the tables clatter with plates of subs and baked pastas.
Helmed by owner Freweini “Bella” Andemicael, Cafe Bella's menu rattles off hearty Mediterranean and Italian fare, along with authentic African Eritrean dishes available each Wednesday. Bella’s hummus teams up with pickled red peppers, feta cheese, and a warm pita ($7), and lentil and vegetable soup spices itself with mild curry ($2 for a cup, $4 for a bowl) on the dinner menu. Tortellini packed with bacon, mushrooms, and nutmeg receives a parmesan cream coating ($15), and a juicy fillet mignon ($27) and a plate of scallops paired with spinach, pesto, and goat cheese along with mashed potatoes and blackberry balsamic ($20) fight for space in your stomach.
Bruno's dough-tossers create pies topped with fresh ingredients underneath a corrugated metal ceiling accented by shiny exposed ducts and suspended pizza-shaped decorations. Start with Bruno's signature Bruno dough, deep-fried doughy dollops tossed in garlic butter and sprinkled with parmesan, before taking on a large 14-inch cheese-covered creation. The pizza, made from the same recipe used at sister store Bruno's in Oxford, dresses to impress in a fine three-piece Italian suit of golden-crusted dough, savory sauce, and gooey cheese.
The kitcheneers at Fratelli's New York Style Pizzeria synthesize homemade sauces and freshly baked dough into adhesions of pizza and Italian fare. Peruse the menu for a specialty pie, such as a large Madison Square Garden, which is packed with green peppers, onions, black olives, and mushrooms ($18.95), or the New Yorker, which, like Manhattan, is densely populated with pepperoni, sausage, onion, and green peppers ($18.95 for a large). Fratelli's also nourishes noshers with hot dishes of cheese ravioli ($6.95) and hot sandwiches of meatball parmigiana ($6.55). Guests can thwart thirst by way of wine, beer, or stubborn determination.