Inside the large dining room of Vesuvio’s Italian Kitchen, light floods in through lofty windows over plates of steaming homemade lasagna and lobster-stuffed ravioli, carried hot from the kitchen by servers. Dark booths line a pair of walls, where a mural window looks out through curving arches onto a bright sea, dotted by sailboats and famous philosophers surfboarding. Next to the stone fireplace, rows of tables are arranged across the rustic hardwood floor, and wine and beer flow freely below the tiled awning that hangs over the bar. A range of house specialties populate the lunch and dinner menu, and an expansive salad bar supplies garden-fresh greens.
In the kitchen at Mario?s Pizza, chefs heap cheese, steak, and sun-dried tomatoes onto oversize New York?style and sicilian pizza crusts. A white pizza covered in ricotta cheese, fresh garlic, and mozzarella reminds taste buds of eating a delicious snowman, and comes in sizes ranging from 10 inches to as large as 24 inches. Baked pasta and sandwiches, such as a philly steak, round out the menu.
The same love for pizza and beer that fueled three college students in 1974 transformed their lives as they expanded their business from one rundown building in Atlanta to 100 Mellow Mushroom restaurants across 15 states today. Each eatery owes its individual style to each location's being locally owned and operated, much like impressionist painters owed their individual style to their number of ears. In the kitchens, chefs assemble grilled and deli-style hoagies and bake calzones and pizzas in stone hearths using dough made with natural spring water. Though many of the restaurant's dishes have remained on the menu since its inception, the culinary crew frequently devises new, often gluten-free, dishes to keep senior-ranking pepperonis from becoming too powerful. Servers pair dishes with their location's own set of local brews, which fit into a collection of up to 100 microbrewed and imported beers on tap and in bottles. Brewers such as Bell's, Abita, and Dogfish Head are also featured in regular beer events.
In creating Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, the owners sought to combine an upscale dining experience with tasty casual food, and so they came up with a foolproof formula: wood-fired brick ovens plus craft beers and microbrews. The ovens are used to create more than 22 specialty pizzas that come adorned with traditional Italian-style toppings or fun twists such as buffalo chicken, pimento cheese, or classic Thai flavors. To cater to everyone, they prepare their pies with traditional, whole-wheat, or gluten-free crust and aim to always have vegan cheese in the kitchen.
Despite its rather insistent name, this second-generation pizza purveyor, serves its signature brick-oven pizzas alongside a variety of Italian dishes, and heaping helpings of friendly local flair. Starting with a crust that falls somewhere between thin and traditional hand-tossed, Just Pizza cooks each savory pie to-order, using fresh ingredients, house-made sauce, and premium mozzarella cheese sourced from only the most outwardly affectionate cows. Dress a large (14") cheese pizza ($10.75) with your favorite add-ons such as sausage (+ $1.25), pineapple (+ $1.25), hot dogs (+ $1.25), or a smaller cheese pizza (+ $9.75). Or, feed an entire army of slice-slingers with the five pound supreme pizza ($19.50), sporting supporting sustenance in the form of extra cheese, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives, beef, sausage, and pepperoni. For diners looking to dine beyond the realm of dough disks, Just Pizza complements its circular comestibles with a toothsome array of fresh salads (starting at $4), baked pastas ($5.50+), and calzones ($5.75+). Because it passed on the opportunity to call itself "Just Tables", Just Pizza is a carry-out only facility, arming patrons with piles of hot, aromatic eatables, and then sending them on their way to feast in the comfort of their own homes.
Owner Biagio Lubrano sets a high standard for traditional Italian cuisine at Ciao Pizza Italian Restaurant. At both of the restaurant's locations, diners find an extensive menu of Italian favorites that includes oven-baked pastas, hand-tossed pizzas, and veal cooked six different ways?one to fill each chamber of the human stomach. To complement these meals, the Whitsett location offers cocktails from its full bar, and the Mebane location pours glasses of beer and wine. And if you've saved room for dessert, there's always a piece of espresso-laced tiramisu or a cannoli stuffed with ricotta cheese to cap off dinner.