Led by their mom, Cassandra, brothers Mergim, Burim, Durim, and Agim turned a cache of generations-old family recipes into 4 Brothers Pizza & Mediterranean Restaurant. With these unique culinary formulas, the tight-knit clan infuses classic Mediterranean and Peloponnesian flavors into their sprawling lineup of Italian and Greek dishes, which includes flaky spanakopita, linguine with clam sauce, and creamy penne with chicken and broccoli. Each of the brothers also boasts a favorite pizza that bears their name, agreeing that whoever’s pie is the most popular gets to claim the remote control forever times infinity.
The savory pie slingers at Bella Napoli serve a hearty menu stuffed with circular comestibles, such as calzones, garlic knots, meatballs, and a wide selection of specialty pizzas. Pies start with a solid foundation of fresh-baked dough, available in regular, gluten-free, or whole-wheat varieties, expertly tossed and twirled on the premises with the care of a Faberge-egg juggler. Next, a layer of red or white sauce nestles an array of more than 25 delectable and electable toppings, including such offbeat choices as hot wings, eggplant, and hot cherry peppers ($1.60–$4.25 each). Hearty calzones come stuffed with cheeses, meats, and veggies ($4.26–$12.73), and sides include classic coleslaw ($1.75), fried ravioli ($5.25 for small), and garlic bites–a dietary staple used to drive New England’s most fearsome vampires back to their Harvard classrooms ($4.50 for small).
The Rocco boys' love for pizza started in the Bronx, where they worked at their father’s pizzerias from a young age. Now, brothers Joe, Mike, and Frank are continuing their family's tradition at 10 locations of their own invention—all flaunting the Planet Pizza name tag.
A man can't build such a pizza universe without some serious pies. But inspiration isn't a problem for the Planet Pizza culinary team, who've molded more than 30 toppings into about 25 specialty circles, all available on gluten-free and whole-wheat crusts. In addition to specialty pizzas, the cooks concoct other menu choices such the compo salad with baby field greens, grape tomatoes, candied walnuts, gorgonzola, and dried cranberries or the buffalo chicken wrap loaded with strips of crispy chicken, lettuce, tomato, spicy wing sauce, and chunky blue cheese dressing are more convincing than Pluto as a mature planet.
In 1909, Frank Pepe immigrated to the United States from his native town of Maiori, Italy. He was poor, illiterate, and just 16 years old—but he had a strong work ethic. After a stint in a New Haven factory and service as an Italian solider in World War I, he settled down for good in New Haven with his wife, Filomena, and started a bakery delivery service. But because he couldn’t read, he had trouble deciphering the orders. So he started having his customers come to him, and in 1925, he and Filomena added a simple item to the menu: Neapolitan-style pizzas.
To this day, the staff still heats up coal-fired ovens to bake the original tomato pies that Frank and Filomena first made famous. They can also add toppings such as bacon, Italian-imported anchovies, and house-roasted red peppers to their pizzas, or create specialty pies such as their signature white clam with olive oil, fresh garlic, and oregano. Diners can pair their pies with Pepe’s salad, tossed in balsamic vinaigrette, or have the server tap draft brews such as Sam Adams Boston Lager and Peroni. They’ve served Foxon Park soda since 1925, so diners can request bottles of cream soda or diet white-birch beer made from only the sveltest birch trees.
At Brick Oven Pizza, the wood that heats the giant traditional oven imparts an unmistakable smoky flavor to every one of the pies. Customers keep coming back for specialty and custom-built pizzas topped with premium ingredients such as shrimp, fresh garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Crispy golden calzones are also available, as well as grinders and meatball-parmigiana subs.