The dough wizards at Papa John's Pizza hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Every week, the chefs at Primavera Pizza Bistro offer a different specialty pizza, tossing pies with imaginative combinations of gourmet toppings and flavorful sauces. But their day-to-day selection of pies is equally as inspired—a colorful array of crispy-crust creations such as the Spinach Supreme, the chicken-parmesan pizza, and the Mediterranean Classic, speckled with artichoke hearts and salami. Beyond pizzas, the skilled chefs whip up a variety of authentic Italian dishes, including creamy alfredo bowtie pasta, crunchy homemade meatball subs, and zesty lemon-pepper salmon.
Serving up Italian/American food favorites?including spaghetti and meatballs, steaks, burgers, to seafood pasta?has been Pete's Tavern's calling since 1966. One of the eatery's more popular items, however, are an Italian twist on sliders. Created in the kitchen by owner Todd Simonds after a busy night, the mini burgers combine the first three things that the hungry Simonds could find: a meatball, a mozzarella-topped garlic knot, and marinara sauce. If meatballs aren't your thing, that's OK?you can swap them for sausages, eggplant, breaded chicken, or pepperoni.
Beyond Tomato Pie of Morristown's French door façade, chefs mix fresh ingredients into a menu of signature pizzas and homemade Italian favorites. For starters, diced chicken and mozzarella cheese sing a duet in lightly fried balls of arborio rice served with marinara, or a chorus of Italian cheeses, meats, peppers, and beans rattle the antipasti platter with trilling operatic arias. To complement the Grandma pie's spread of gooey cheese and tomatoes over a crisp, rectangular crust, the circular tomato pie hosts hearty tomatoes and a selection of toppings ($2 each) such as artichokes, bacon, and sweet peppers. For dessert, rich slices of Nutella pie recall the sweet flavors of Italy's chocolate mountain ranges, and a sextet of zeppoles tops balls of deep-fried dough with spackles of fine powdered sugar.
The Brick Oven of Morristown's dough-spinning doyens handcraft a menu full of crusted creations and authentic Italian eats. Commence chew-infused chats with a bowl of the pasta e fagioli soup ($6.95) before choosing one of the popular brick-oven-baked pizzas, such as the alla mare di mare ($16.95), which combines clams, calamari, and shrimp beneath a canopy of mozzarella and ricotta cheese, or the four-cheese alla jessabella, served on a sauceless crust ($10.95). Diners can also build their own customizable pie (prices vary depending upon ingredients) for a culinary construction more appetizing than a Quaker-made oatmeal cathedral. Or skip sliced fare altogether and tongue-dive into a hearty main course, such as a primo pasta ($11.95+) or the pollo della casa—boneless chicken encrusted with parmesan cheese and sautéed in white-wine sauce ($17.95). To complement meals, guests can bring their own bottle of wine or host a séance to summon the spirit of a vintage chardonnay.