Boasting a bevy of gooey pizza-pie options, Extreme Pizza has garnered a boatload of praise for its ability to fuse toppings without welding or undertaking genetic experiments. Frisbee-toss an indee-sized cheese disc into your well-watered mouth, such as the Paia pie, with pineapple, oranges, and Canadian bacon ($7.45+). Or try the Yard Sale, which includes sausage, pepperoni, salami, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers, red onions, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and mozzarella ($7.45+). Groups of 6 to 10 people, meanwhile, can prepare palates for the onslaught of hearty slices by prefacing them with a massive family-style salad, such as the caesar ($20.99). Others can stimulate taste buds without licking a defibrillator with a dozen X-Factors wings ($4.75 for six, $7.95 for 12).
Michael Calder began his pizza-making career in 1973, when he learned how to shape authentic crusts while working at an Italian family’s pizzeria. He put his pizza-crafting expertise to work at his own place when he opened Michael’s Pizza Bar and Grill, where the kitchen prepares specialty pies such as the meat-stacked Michael’s Masterpiece. The vegetarian Green Machine comes adorned with pesto sauce, artichoke hearts, and fresh garlic, while Heart Attack Dogs arrive at tables wrapped in bacon, crowned with cream cheese and honey, and accompanied by ominous organ music. Bartenders can mix dessertinis infused with espresso to follow hearty meals.
Rico's Italian Pizza tosses its dough disks by hand before slathering them with sauce, sprinkling them with tasty toppings, baking them to a bubbly golden brown, and sending them off to inhabit the menu. Proto-pizzas begin their journey by taking circular form as a cheese pie ($4.99+) before sprouting any combination of the 20 available toppings, including salami, diced chicken, mushrooms, and black olives, among others (beginning at $.49 per topping). Specialty pies, such as the generously topped Carnivore, squash the possibility of intense topping debates with prearranged layers of pepperoni, salami, italian sausage, linguica, and canadian bacon ($12.95+).
Straw Hat Pizza brings families and friends together to feast on California-style pies, signature Hot Hat sandwiches, and the crisp contents of a market-fresh salad bar. Pre-designed pizzas include The Works, whose meaty mélange of salami, ham, sausage, pepperoni, and beef ($13.99+) provides a drastic contrary to the California Veggie, loaded with lifeguard-approved zucchini, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and garlic-cheese sauce ($13.99+). Dinner DJs can also enliven suppertime soirees by spinning their own saucy disks through toppings including meatballs, pineapple, and spicy chorizo ($10.99+). Hot Hat sandwiches ($5.29+) bury succulent sliced meats and gooey gobs of cheese in crispy signature shells, making them ideal practice tools for archaeologists in training for an excavation on the moon.
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.