With its broad spectrum of Italian eats, NY 54 Pizza & Ristorante's menu "has everything you've been craving," according to Go Gilbert! magazine. The kitchen staff whips up fresh pizza dough and sauce each morning before baking crusts to a golden brown in a stone oven. The restaurant's crusade for freshness extends into wings that never see the inside of a walk-in freezer and breadcrumbs ground and seasoned in-house.
In keeping with NY 54's Big Apple theme, chefs import authentic treats from New York City, including knishes from Coney Island and crumb cake from a Brooklyn bakery. Inside the restaurant, a backdrop of exposed brick peeks from behind vintage framed photos of the Yankees and native New Yorker Robert De Niro.
At Florencia Pizza Bistro, spreading tomato sauce on a disk of housemade crust is indeed tradition, but not a rigid one. The Snow White—a recipe that has been with the bistro staff for more than 30 years—arranges basil, minced garlic, tomatoes, and cheese atop a coat of extra-virgin olive oil. Eight specialty pizzas and five pesto pizzas embrace this tomato-less approach, allowing the richness of toppings such as walnuts, italian sausage, and kalamata olives to hold the tongue's attention.
With the menu as their guide, guests can select a preestablished pizza or build an original one of their own. Gluten-free crust and low-fat cheese options accommodate dietary restrictions, and half-baked pizzas allow patrons to heat up their meals later, in the comfort of their gym’s sauna. Calzones, sandwiches, and paninis—made with the same housemade pizza crust for bread—also wrap meats and veggies in a toasty embrace.
Though Terry "Joe" Black spent more than two decades in the restaurant and food industries, for many years the notion of opening his own pizzeria remained a wistful one. Smitten with the restaurant business during his college years, he spent the first 15 years of his career working for national chains, then another 10 in food distribution. It wasn’t until Black met and befriended Nick Heddings, owner of Arizona Pizza Company in Tucson, that the gears were set in motion to allow Black to make the leap to ownership, spurred in part by Heddings's support and pizza recipe. Black and his wife, Mary, kept the concept simple: a limited menu centered around tasty, New York–style pizza. They resolved to be fanatical about their customers’ experience and to create a welcoming, neighborhood feel. To further that goal, Black and his family—including the son after whom the restaurant is half named—remain active with local schools and organizations to this day.
Their focus on quality and friendliness has paid off. Of Jimmy & Joe’s signature "Serious Slice," blogger Michele Laudig said—as part of the Phoenix New Times’ 100 Favorite Dishes series in 2010—"It's super thin and crisp on the bottom, with puffy, chewy edges." Each gigantic slice is cut from the 24-inch Big Jimmy, arrives on its own metal pan, and, like a celebrity’s engagement ring, is bigger than the average person's head. As testament to its food’s deliciousness, the restaurant has won multiple awards, including the Reader Pick for Best Pizzeria in the East Valley Tribune's 2011 Best of East Valley.
Naked Pizza hearkens back to the age of cavemen, when dense grains supplied the energy necessary to combat hours of Ice Age drudgery. The pizzeria’s kitchen chemists kept this lifestyle in mind while developing the shop’s Ancestral Blend, a conglomeration of 10 grains—including oats, brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa—infused with prebiotic agave fiber and probiotics that promote slow and healthy digestion. Toppings are also stripped down to their simplest and healthiest form, from rGBH-free Wisconsin mozzarella to tomato sauce free of citric acid or sugar. Naked Pizza also dispenses with dinnertime secrecy by openly posting nutritional information for all to see and inviting feedback via social media and onsite semaphore flags.
RedBrick Pizza's chefs merge the centuries-old tradition of brick-oven pizzas and modern love for fast, quality cuisine to create fresh, fire-roasted Italian fare. Wake snoozing taste buds with a hearty starter of breadsticks adorned with olive oil, roasted garlic, parmesan or mozzarella, and herbs before moving onto a signature fire-roasted pie. An authentic terra-cotta oven blasts RedBrick's prided circles with more than 1,000 degrees of heat, alchemically transforming their base dough into crispy gold in less than three minutes. Create-your-own pies provide palate-pleasing fill-in-the-blanks for the munching mad-libbest. Pairs or dining quartets can select up to three toppings for their pizza creation, and a fresh, crunchy salad adds a green element to a group dinner. During the final course, yowling sweet teeth will be silenced with a dessert of gourmet gelato or a surprise dinner visit from the dentist's wife, the librarian.