More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesar's location, a then-unheard-of carryout-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant—today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pie designed for instant pick-up, and warm, garlicky Crazy Bread. With a storied half-century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating its own charitable programs.
Papa Murphy’s, the highest-ranking pizza chain in the 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, serves up a tasty menu of handmade take 'n’ bake pizzas made from dough, cheese, meat, and veggies that are freshly prepared every day. After customers choose their pie, Papa Murphy's slice-slingers build the pizza in-store and package it for customers to bake at home in the oven, in a pottery kiln, or over a pile of burning cookbooks. Customers can select any family-sized signature pizza, including the Cowboy piled with pepperoni, italian sausage, mushrooms, and black olives, or the gourmet vegetarian, which bears an herbivorous cornucopia including spinach, zucchini, artichoke hearts, and more. A pound of cookie dough speckled with Hershey's chocolate chips blossoms into crisp melty discs in the oven, which can be munched on after dinner or tossed at neighborhood kids attempting to steal leftover pizza slices.
The culinary craftspeople at Kadie's Bakery & Deli stuff four paninis and 10 signature sandwiches with freshly sliced meats to forge a filling menu of deli fare. (Click here for page one and here for page two of the menu.) Like cars and the Lego figures that drive them, Kadie's sandwiches are customizable: chefs construct the roast beef ($7.59) to suit each patron’s tastes, stuffing tomatoes, red onions, and roast beef between slices of bread or within wheat, tomato-basil, or spinach wraps. Alternatively, a classic sandwich press locks simmering layers of pesto, turkey, and tomato into the piping-hot pesto panini ($7.69).
Featured in the Huntsville Times, Philly Connection constructs 7-inch authentic cheesesteaks with classic italian-roll bases and extra-lean steak fillings, both imported from Philadelphia. The make-your-own cheesesteak satisfies hive-mind abstainers by stacking a choice of three cheeses—white american, provolone, or pepper jack—and an edible armada of more than 10 toppings, including sweet peppers, pepperoni, and pizza sauce, atop the tenderized, steak-filled italian rolls. Traditional taste buds may awe at the original cheesesteak, a classic congregation of grilled onions, tenderized steak, and white american cheese, while the chicken cheesesteak plumps the philly rolls with somersaulting bites of grilled poultry, onions, and cheese. Dining duos give their jaws a break from sandwich aerobics and chew on french fries while sipping ice-cold soft drinks and arguing about which famous physicist would make the best sandwich.
Lenny's fills stomachs across the nation with a menu of hearty sandwiches stuffed with sliced-to-order deli meats, chicken and tuna salads made from scratch, and a specialty hot-pepper relish made from whole diced cherry peppers. Regular size subs measure 7.5 inches and contain a half pound of meat and cheese, and large subs stretch to 15 inches, pack a full pound of foodstuffs, and exert a gravitational pull on coastal tides.