Though Yummy Grille chefs work alongside the pizza-makers of A1 Pizza & Sub, their cuisine is from a different world entirely. Instead of New York-style pizza and American favorites, chefs whip up dishes from the Mediterranean— from flavorful steak shawarmas to crunchy falafel wraps and sizzling chicken kabobs. They take a healthy approach to cooking, grilling meats in lemon juice and vegetable oil rather than deep-frying them or stuffing them with M&Ms. They pair their sandwiches and platters with traditional Mediterranean side-dishes, including savory hummus dip and plump grape leaves filled with rice.
There are lots of ways to get your pizza fix at Zella's Pizzeria, which is back under original ownership. The quickest, perhaps, is to order one of the house's signature gourmet pizzas such as the roasted eggplant topped with roasted red peppers and kalamata olives. But diners with time and energy to spare can pour over the menu to build their own pizza. All pizzas start with freshly made dough before diners choose from six sauces ranging from traditional tomato to herbed olive oil and more than 30 toppings including green olives, fresh tomatoes, and roasted garlic that can be consumed willy-nilly or reorganized on the pie to make the Italian flag. The same top-quality ingredients that go into Zella's pizzas are used to make smaller dishes such as spinach and artichoke calzones and meatball sandwiches.
The chefs at Yia Yia's Pizzeria toss specialty pizzas topped with imported ham and various cheeses and forge a menu's worth of pasta dishes and sandwiches. Diners divvy up a 14-inch cheese pizza ($9.99) or hire a geologist to identify the various layers of lasagna in meat sauce ($9.99). Five-piece chicken tenders quell poultry cravings beside an order of fries, and the lamb gyro ($5.99) complements a greek salad. Punch-card-carrying patrons can gather around a 16-inch rib-eye philly steak pizza inside the restaurant or await free delivery of a hawaiian pizza stacked with imported ham and fresh pineapple chunks. Diners can customize a 16-inch pie with any two desired toppings or by spelling out the name of their accountant in pepperoni.
The chefs at Egyptian Pizza trace their cooking techniques to a different side of the Mediterranean Sea. Ancient Egyptians pioneered the practice of rising dough when they cooked crushed wheat germ and water inside early conical ovens. Honoring their forefathers’ methods, the versatile cooks pull more than 30 types of gourmet thin-crust pizzas out of their wood-fired ovens, along with a lengthy menu of Middle Eastern sandwiches and specialties. They take pains to use natural, fresh, and healthful ingredients to whip up plump fish kebabs, tender meat shawarmas and housemade sauces that have won over the palates of reporters from the Baltimore Sun. Their kitchen looks out onto the casual dining room, where servers help uncork BYOB bottles of wines beneath artwork depicting famous Egyptian landmarks, such as the pyramids, the Sphinx, and other toys left behind by aliens.
At Roma’s Pizza, patrons will find something interesting on the menu: Mexican food. Though specialties in hand-tossed pizza and stuffed subs both hot and cold headline the restaurant’s menu, chefs also sizzle fajitas, ladle jumbo shrimp over spanish rice, and slather nachos with cheese. Ten years of experience aids the staff in preparing such a lengthy selection, that, of course, includes both traditional, New York–style circular pies and doughy Sicilian squares. They also bake strombolis and calzones, press paninis, and toss fresh salads.
The comestible construction crew at Italian Gardens crafts a blueprint for fine Italian dining with a menu of tantalizing pastas, pizzas, and seafood, and décor that transports diners to lush Italian landscapes. Patrons practice taste-bud calisthenics with an order of battered and fried zucchini sticks with ranch dressing ($5.50) before working out their mandibles with orders of shrimp scampi, which rests jumbo shrimp, garlic, white-wine sauce, mushrooms, and broccoli on a springy mattress of penne noodles ($17.95). The chicken-breast parmigiana swaddles two tender chicken fillets in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese ($14.50) to sate solitary cravings, and an 18-inch New York–style cheese pizza is best shared among friends or amicable space botonists ($13.95).