Faux marbled walls, stark white pillars, and gold- and burgundy-hued drapes create a stately dining backdrop inside the dining room of Capri Ristorante Italiano. An Italian mural is painted in vivid blues and whites on the domed ceiling, and chandeliers illuminate diners sitting in wrought iron and leather chairs, which is the seating style that 17th-century nobility would have envisioned being in spaceships. Notes from a piano float through the air as servers dispense classic Italian dishes such as meat-stuffed raviolis, chicken parmesan, and four-cheese pizza. Outside, a sculpture recessed in the marigold wall watches over al fresco diners, who also get a front-row seat on select nights for the area’s summer-concert series.
Jet City Pizzas start from the crust-up. Cooks press dough made from micro beer batter into the bottom of pans, or hand-toss buttermilk discs into shape. A gluten-free formula accommodates dietary needs, and a Seattle-style thin crust gains its trademark flatness by resting under an entire edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Next come the toppings, ranging from the Jumbo Jet's traditional mixture of meats, onions, and peppers, to such creative entries as the Gyro, a melange of tzatziki sauce, gyro meat, red onions, and Roma tomatoes. And if pizzas aren't enough on their own, there are plenty of sides, available, including cheesy garlic bread, saucy wings, and meatball grinders.
Serving fresh and speedy pizza across America since 1959, Little Caesars has grown into a huge, international carryout phenomenon. Pizzas featuring fresh dough are made to order in large ($8.99 for up to three toppings) and large deep dish ($9.99), mimicking the spectrum of sizes seen on nature's pizza trees. Toppings range from classic pepperoni and sausage to canadian bacon and pineapple. Return as the conquering hero of your family and save your twins the trouble of hunting down bipedal mastodons by picking up one of Little Caesars HOT-N-READY pies ($5.55). The large-sized HOT-N-READY pizzas are available in pepperoni or cheese, and can be picked up any time without the need to order ahead. Fans of three-dimensional eats can try the Italian cheese bread ($4.99) or chicken wings ($5.99 for 8).
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 entrees, 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.
Because it’s located in a strip mall, Villa Nuova Santana Ristorante Italiano can be easy to overlook. “Don’t let the unassuming cover fool you; Villa Nuova is certainly worth discovering for yourself,” the Herald says in a review. Inside, crisp white tablecloths make space for fresh bread and olive oil seasoned with a house recipe of garlic, red pepper, and top-secret deliciousness. Generous glasses of wine pair with mussels and clams served in a buttery white-wine sauce. Other entrees include heaping helpings of cannelloni and pork tenderloin sautéed in gorgonzola cream sauce. Artwork on the walls evokes the spirit of the Sistine Chapel, except here visitors can eat and enjoy the sights without a permanent crick in their neck.
Garlic Jim's menu was handcrafted with nothing more than a dream and an incredible reserve of pizza-making expertise. Open an order with some gourmet chicken wings, available in barbecue, garlic, and hot, before moving on to pizza territory. Put an end to eating Legos by piecing together a custom pie. Choose from the hand-thrown thick, garlic thin, or gluten-free crusts, slathered in one of seven sauces (from classic red to zesty chipotle pesto), and then slap on any of 15 standard and 11 gourmet toppings (14-inch large pizzas start at $11.99, extra-large $14.99; each additional topping for a large is $1.50). To achieve customization without the stress of having to choose, turn to one of the pre-determined specialties. Meat-maul hunger with the Hercules (salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, beef, spicy Italian sausage, and bacon; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large), or discover the secret of pizza-temperature fusion in your head with Jim's bacon-cheeseburger pizza (beef, bacon, red onions, tomatoes, mozzarella, and cheddar; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large).