Bonafede-family matriarch Anita started JoJo's Pizza Kitchen more than four decades ago, and her discerning taste for ingredients is still identifiable in the menu. Though her son Joe, who napped on flour sacks in the back of the restaurant as a child, now runs the eatery, fresh basil and plum tomatoes grown in Stanislaus County still release aromas that hint at sun-soaked furrows. Through a dining room window, guests catch glimpses of chefs tossing freshly risen dough for pizzas or smaller chefs for their adorable giggles. They grate fresh parmesan cheese as wine cooks slowly down with mushrooms on the stovetop and chicken marinates in lemon and garlic. Servers bustle past, filling glasses with house wines or draft beers.
Early every morning, the bakers of Devilicious Donuts start whipping together the batter for their cake and yeast donuts to create their menu of unique and oddball pastries. They offer everything from the relatively demure popskotch—a cake donut drizzled in caramel and topped with buttered popcorn—to the truly eclectic flavors of the yeast donut cheeseburger. The chefs combine only fresh, organic ingredients and premium chocolate to craft their donuts, then sizzling them in 100-percent soy bean oil to avoid the use of animal fats.
Peppino's menu of family-style portions provides more savory pairings than grandma could shake a slotted spoon at. Ease a land lover into the seafood sampler, composed of halibut, shrimp, scallops, and salmon atop a bed of angel-hair pasta infused with a garlic-basil tomato sauce and a splash of white wine ($21.95), or teach the young ones the true meaning of antipasto with a piled-high salad of salami, capicola, ham, mortadella, provolone, red onions, black olives, tomatoes, pepperoncini, kitchen sinks, roasted peppers, and mixed greens ($9.95).
At Sabatino, the kitchen staff prepares Italian favorites such as house-made lasagna, cheese calzones, and meatball sandwiches. The Mama Mia entree, which is a favorite among regulars and ABBA members, combines penne, chicken breast, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes in a creamy sauce. The restaurant also finds ways to play with Italian traditions, too, whether it's adding grilled salmon to the caesar salad or jalapenos to the margherita pizza.
Paul's Pantry keeps health-aholics satisfied with a selection of low-calorie and low-cholesterol items, and satiates ravenous rugrats with a delectable kids' menu. This deal is valid for dine-in or carryout, allowing hungry homebodies to eat mashed potatoes with their hands from the comfort of their adult-size race-car bed.