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.
You’ve got to love a restaurant that doesn’t try to be all things to all people, that takes a stand, picks just a few things, and cooks them really, really well. That, in a nutshell, is what Stony’s does for burgers and hot dogs—and boy is South Orange all the better for it.
Customers take control at IYO Yogurt, where IYO stands for "It's Your Own," according to a feature in the Alternative Press, meaning that it's up to the customer to choose their yogurt and top it with as many candies, nuts, and fruits as they want. To this end, visitors select any combination of 24 yogurt flavors to fill their cups, plus more than 100 toppings options, which all satisfy sweet teeth more than filling a cup with 100 teaspoons of sugar.
Thai Passion Restaurant’s chefs open the door to a huge world of authentic Southeast Asian fare. Patrons can send forks exploring through a plate of thai basil ($12.95–$16.95), where chili peppers, mushrooms, green beans, onions, and a choice of meat add zest to tender grains of rice. Whipped up with the customer's financial advisor's choice of tofu, chicken, beef, or shrimp, thai curry dishes paint appetites in one of four sweet and savory sauces—red, green, massaman, or panang ($11.95–$22.95). Diners can slur words while slurping up a nest of drunken noodles ($11.95), or annunciate clearly while speaking to the shrimp eggplants ($18.95), whose ears are filled with chili paste. The staff also slings a range of vegetarian-friendly fare, including sautéed faux-duck and sweet-and-sour tofu (both $12.95).
More than a dozen sauces simmer in the kitchen at Galileo’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, ready to top unsuspecting pasta with rich flavors. In addition to classic francese, marsala, and milanese preparations of chicken, veal, and seafood, the restaurant also prepares various heroes, wraps, and paninis. There's gourmet pizza, too, such as Galileo’s Special, whose pepperoni, sausage, peppers, and mushrooms aren’t yet convinced that the Earth is round. A wrought-iron lamp hangs over the dining room, where black-upholstered booths are flanked by walls painted a rich chocolate brown or inlaid with stones.
At American & Mexican Grill, chefs prepare exactly what you would expect: American and Mexican food. Yet this straightforward, family-owned eatery might still surprise taste buds with the booming flavors that pop from bistec a la mexicana—a grilled steak topped with sautéed onions—and from the quesadillas, packed with cheese, chicken, or steak and optionally fried to a golden brown. Other Mexican specialties include chilies rellenos and enchiladas, which are smothered in either a light green sauce or a rich mole with chocolaty undertones.
North of the border, the chefs assemble a handful of half-pound burgers and wraps packed with buffalo chicken, philly cheesesteaks, or gyros. A BYOB eatery, the grill encourages patrons to pop open a bottle of wine or beer at no extra cost. Drinks in hand, diners can enjoy live entertainment and cheer as another brave soul agrees to take on the 3-foot-burrito challenge.
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.