Co-owners Christopher J. Rubino and Henry Carrillo Jr.—the original owners of Roseville's Bella Italia Bistro and Wine Bar—now train their eyes on Rocklin. Local publications and TV news programs have heaped multiple awards upon the eatery, which is designed to evoke the feel and taste of New York's Italian restaurants of the 40s and 50s.
Executive Chef Jesus Mendoza's plates present classic Italian dishes, such as spaghetti and meatballs, veal piccata, and chicken parmesan, and he pairs them with a wine list that spotlights California libations. Curtains and leather booths come together as an inviting dining room where guests savor their Continental lunches, Sunday brunches, and dinners. A banquet room accommodates larger groups, such as birthday parties and revolutionary movements. Mendoza and his team also cater.
Rubino's is guided not only by an old-fashioned sense of service and cuisine, but by a commitment to its community. In addition to belonging to the Rocklin and Roseville Chambers of Commerce, the establishment donates to local organizations, hosts benefits, and sponsors the Rocklin High School football team, whose cheerleaders wave pom-poms made of donated linguine.
As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s Pizza has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments.
In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.
Matt Williams grew up in Loomis, just as the four previous generations of his family did. Following familial suit, he decided to stay in the area as an adult, but not before traveling to Italy to train in the culinary arts and acquire a taste for fine wines. After returning to his life-long home, he turned this passion for food and drink into a career, opening Café Zoro.
Matt and his kitchen team, led by Chef Scott Burns, embrace local, farm-fresh ingredients whenever possible, preparing seasonal fish, meat, pasta, and dessert dishes by hand. Though he takes pride in all of the specialties on the rotating menu, he is especially proud of his hand-made pizzas, which combine thin Italian-style crusts with homemade sauces and off-the-stem ingredients such as bell peppers, onions, and kalamata olives.
Of course, Matt’s passion for flavor doesn’t end with food. He and his staff also serve a remarkable selection of locally-crafted beverages. In addition to offering tasting flights from local wineries, they pour a lineup of craft beers, some of which hail from the nearby Loomis Basin Brewing Company.
The oven admirals at Straw Hat Pizza bake an extensive fleet of California-style pizza. The kitchen team prepares each crust to pack a flaky, crispy, crunch-causing texture, creating a sturdy foundation capable of supporting cheese, sauce, toppings, and hardbound copies of Mark McGwire's autobiography. A large chicken-bacon-ranch pizza saturates taste-sensory apparatuses with a dual-meat format and a vegetable cast of tomatoes and red onions, and the large aloha chicken merges chicken, ham, pineapple, and bacon on a highway of barbecue and red sauce (each $17.99 for a 15"). Vegetarians can imbibe the windfall of grown ingredients that fill out the large California veggie pie—a conference of zucchini, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, spices, and white sauce ($17.99 for a 15"). Straw Hat Pizza also puts together an impressive roster of hot sandwiches, such as the sauce-packed meatball version ($5.49).
John's Incredible Pizza Co. graces guests with acres of incandescent entertainment options and a fully stocked buffet ($9.49 value, $1.50 value for drinks). In addition to a slew of soups, salads, pasta, desserts, and traditional pizza choices, the buffet brandishes a bouquet of specialty pizza creations, including spicy peanut-butter, barbecue chicken ranch, and alfredo pizza.
For more than 50 years, Round Table Pizza has fired up the appetites of flavor-starved foodies with a host of appetizers, crisp salads, and topping-laden disks. Dough is made from scratch using wheat sourced from the company's family farms, ensuring that the bready foundations of mainstays, such as the barbecue chicken pizza ($17.90 for a medium), are fresh and familiar with agricultural machinery. House creation King Arthur Supreme takes charge of nearby chompers, guiding them through an invasion of pepperoni, italian sausage, salami, linguica, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives, and more ($12.75 for a small). Meanwhile, the Wombo Combo tempts taste buds with crisp bacon, mushrooms, roma tomatoes, artichoke hearts, green onions, and a medley of magnanimously portioned meats ($7.30 for a personal size). Inspiration-stricken patrons can design their own pie or swing by the all-you-can-eat salad bar ($5.29) to adorn lush leaves with tasty toppings under the glow of the light bulb growing from their foreheads.