Back in 1994, the proprietors of Phillippi's traveled to Arnold, PA, to buy a 70-year-old secret pizza recipe from a mysterious couple known as Lefty and Mooney. Today, this exclusive formula is used with housemade dough and fresh, housemade sauce to create Birdville pizzas, named for Natrona Heights' former moniker. As special blends of cheeses bubble atop baking pies, cooks deftly grill up Black Angus burgers, stack hoagies with meatballs, and crisp ironically flightless buffalo wings in the trans-fat-free deep fryer.
Tunes from a digital jukebox float throughout Somma Pizza, from the black-and-white-tile floors up to the sports jerseys hanging high above patrons’ heads. Next to walls painted Steelers black and gold, oven-baked hoagies and wraps jockey with burgers for table space. Shareable pizza pies—made fresh daily from hand-tossed dough—arrive topped with olives, hot-pepper rings, and sausage. TVs broadcast sports games, and a video-game room keeps thumbs busy, like a piano concerto composed for players wearing mittens.
The cooks at Fortino's Pizza assemble 18-inch pies, fry up whole wings by the dozen, and let customers quench thirsts with tall glasses of soda and Turner's Tea. Nontraditional toppings such as broccoli and hot peppers can be chosen in place of classic pizza adornments such as pepperoni, sausage, and chunks of homespun wisdom. Barbecue sauce, honey-garlic sauce, and hot sauce spread over chicken wings, napkins, and upper lips, and bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and iced tea dream of being poured over a high-school coach's head after a winning chess season.
Dishing out saucy discs since 1979, Casa Del Sole Pizza treats diners to a multifarious menu of hand-tossed specialty pies. A medium tuscan club ($11.95) comes loaded with fresh-cut garlic, bacon, and grilled chicken, held down by gooey cheese in case gravity fails. Large italian-deluxe pizzas ($14.50) appease protein yens with pairings of pepperoni and sausage, and extra-large Calabrese pies ($15.95) invite green thumbs to harvest heaps of spinach, artichoke, garlic, and feta cheese. With a soft touch and carrot-and-stick technique, Casa Del Sole's dough masons also coax floured globules into customer-designed edibles ($7.95–$10.95), which can be adorned with choice toppings such as steak, mushrooms, or artichokes. Non-pizza gems include spring-mix salads ($4.50–$6.95) and oven-toasted hoagies, such as the Godfather hoagie, a fusion of steak, fries, veggies, and a special hoagie dressing ($10 for a whole).
Nestled on one of Oakmont's quaint streets, What's Cookin' at Casey's spotlights authentic Italian cuisine lovingly whipped up from the owners' time-perfected family recipes. Drop by for BYOB dinner and peruse a menu crooning the Old Country's greatest hits, including Rose's chicken cacciatore with savory notes of boneless chicken breast and mushrooms, capped with a velvety encore of tomato-basil cream sauce ($15.95). Creamy layers of polenta and marinara sauce cool fiery italian sausage ($15.95), and Casey's traditional or vegetable lasagna deliciously builds a home layer by layer in guests' mouths ($14.95). Chefs also elevate cuts of meat to greater heights in grilled 8-ounce sirloin filets ($16.95) and nine hand-holdable hoagies ($5.25–$10.95).
Bradlios Pizza's menu reads like the wedding vows of Italian and American fare. Kick off a culinary journey with a spicy order of a dozen wing dings ($8.99) followed by a red- or white-sauced regular pizza (large $9.99+) or gourmet pie (large $14.99) built upon a foundation of homemade dough. Square in shape, the Sicilian (large $11.99+) starts with Tomanetti's soft, thick crust and piles on toppings such as pepperoni and spinach ($1.75 each). The veggie stromboli arrives filled with warm sauce and melted cheese (large $9.99), and the Italiano hoagie flavors itself with Italiano flavors (whole $7.99).