Numero Uno Pizza has been cheesing up Chicago–style deep dish and spinning out New York–style pies since 1973. The pizza spot's menu, brimming with eight specialty pizzas ($14.95+ for a medium), travels from the shores of Hawaii with pineapple chunks and canadian bacon to the sands of Santa Fe with smoky barbecue sauce and chicken breast. Pie aficionados orchestrate their own masterpieces from a choice of crusts ($4.95 for a 7” individual) lavished with a selection of 20+ toppings such as feta cheese, pepperoncini peppers, and artichoke hearts ($0.75–$1.95 each). Diners can close the hatch of a genoa-salami-and-cheese submarine ($8.95 for a footlong) and venture into the depths of the ocean, or climb up mountains of triple-chocolate Blackout cake ($4.95) in search of glory and napkins.
Nunzio Donato Ciaraulo and his wife, Cristina, curate a menu of Old World dishes hailing all corner of Italy, from Venetian-style risotto to coils of tomato-kissed Neapolitan pastas. Though the offerings change regularly, diners can count on classics such as pizzas and pastas joined by a revolving assortment of roasted pork, tender veal, cooked-to-order steaks, and simmering seafood. Sweet teeth applaud louder than an ice-cream truck with subwoofers when they see the dessert menu, which lists traditional mealtime denouements including tiramisu, cannoli, and sorbets.
“It's the best pizza I’ve found in Los Angeles,” says comedian and recognized Italian Ray Romano about D’Amore’s Pizza. He’s not the only star to fall for the authentic slices: owner Joe D’Amore has shipped his cracker-thin crusts to destinations across Hollywood, including the set of Two and a Half Men and Jennifer Garner’s house. Whether he’s serving an A-lister or the average hungry citizen, Joe bakes all of his cheesy treats to-order inside a stationary brick oven or an innovative oven on wheels.
D’Amore’s traditional methods and tempting taste are a family legacy. Born and raised in an Italian family in Boston, Joe D’Amore grew up savoring his grandmother Mommanonna's handmade pizzas—a meal he would miss upon moving to California. Joe asked his grandmother to join him out west and show him the secrets to her trade, but when she pulled the pie out of the oven, something wasn't quiet right. Mommanonna immediately knew that the California water was sabotaging her famous cracker-thin crust, and urged Joe to bring water from Boston. Today, he takes the practice a step further, importing water from Italy along with olive oil, flour, and pizza wheels carved by Michelangelo.
With more than 20 high-def televisions festooning their walls, Draughts Restaurant & Bar applies a full-court press to unsportsmanlike hunger with a menu that bursts at the seams with American eats and a monster selection of draught beers. Unlike marriages between roller-skates and quicksand, a glass of "Draughts" Amber Ale perfectly suits the Long Board specialty pizza ($9.95 personal, $16.95 medium, $21.95 large), which crowns fresh dough made from scratch with shrimp brushed with olive oil and garlic, and mozzarella and fontina cheeses. Or, pit a pint against Draughts' full menu of appetizers ($2.65-$10.50), sandwiches ($7.95-$11.95), pastas ($2.50-$14.95), and desserts.
In 1993, a few entrepreneurs transformed the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building into an Italian restaurant. It became the first Buca di Beppo. The owners of that inaugural location soon found themselves riding a wave of popularity and marinara sauce as they opened new restaurants across the nation. Today, the eatery occupies 99 locations nationwide, from downtown San Francisco to Times Square, New York.
At each location, chefs maintain the northern and southern Italian flavors that made the original so popular, adding only a few American twists. They also supply family-style servings, which help make Buca di Beppo a favorite place for families and friends to gather in large, hungry groups. The chefs bake up batches of Cheesy Bread Florentine, a colorful combo of spinach, roma tomatoes, and garlic sprinkled over Italian bread and sealed in place with fresh, melted cheeses. For entr?es, they prepare dishes with an eye toward quantity, both of portion and choice; they whip up Veal Parmigiana, Baked Ziti, and classic Italian-American staples like Ravioli and Lasagna. And in keeping with the convivial atmosphere, they also serve truly decadent desserts. Their Mt. Vesuvius Dark Chocolate Cake erupts with melted chocolate, and their Colossal Brownie Sundae towers with six scoops of ice cream and tiers of sundae trimmings.