The Straw Hat's congenial owners, Charlene and Randa, curate a multihued microcosm of women's machine-washable threads. Tribal sleeveless T-shirts ($49) ward off heat and pesky cufflink salesmen by eschewing arm coverings entirely. Slip into the relaxed embrace of Not Your Daughter's capris in black, yellow, or white ($79), or caper through the shop's leg-liberating bouquet of dresses. A cornucopia of jewelry and duds by Brighton, Spanx, Pure Handknit, and a variety of other brands orbits around a lounge perched atop an ornate oriental rug. Personalized service allows patrons to opt for independent shopping jaunts or stylish support as trustworthy as Audrey Hepburn's rebounding game.
When diners aren't sharing pizzas, they can instead feast on their own plate of classic veal parmigiana, shrimp pesto, baked zit, or sandwiches like the Chicken Philly, which are created with freshly baked bread that's made daily. The same goes for pasta sauces on dishes like Fettuccine Alfredo, Meat Ravioli, and eggplant parmigiana. Alfredo's Italian wedding soup—unlike Vegas wedding soup, which is traditionally served in an Elvis impersonator's boot—fills bellies with greens, savory meats, and warm, fuzzy feelings.
Petruccelli's Italian Eatery's quintessential edibles satisfy business-lunch goers, canoodling noodle enthusiasts, and famished famiglia alike. Employ a savory appetizer, hot bowl of soup, or crisp salad to rouse a tummy from hunger hibernation so that it can fully engage a main course in deep conversation about the appropriate places to wear harem pants. Italian classics, such as chicken florentine ($12.95/$8.95), veal marsala ($16.95/$10.95), and shrimp scampi ($16.95/$12.95) greet long-lost tongues with warm hugs, and the chicken tortellini alfredo playfully wrestles taste buds in a living room of cheese-filled pillows, fresh vegetable cushions, and velvety alfredo comforters ($13.50/$8.95). Sink your teeth into a calzone ($7–$8.95) or stromboli roll ($6–$8.95) if you're afraid of forks or indebted to a roving orthodontist.
Boasting a culinary background flavored with classic American and Cajun cuisines, La Dolce Vita owner and chef Benard Tamburello melds Italian and Sicilian influences to craft a spread seasoned with fresh herbs. With select ingredients culled straight from Italy, La Dolce Vita's meal components fuse to form a flavorful union as they trade tales of riding tiny ponies through the fields of San Marzano, Parma, and Tuscany. For dinner, pacify grumbling bellies with heaping helpings of baked eggplant parmigana ($14), or bowl forkfuls of tenderloin-fillet meatballs down alleys of house-made linguini into metaphorical hunger pins ($18). All entrees can be split amongst the group ($10 charge), and a children's menu sates ankle-biting appetites with pintsize, kid-friendly plates ($5–$6). Midday munchers can indulge in lunch selections such as paninis grilled to piping perfection with tuscan chicken, tilapia, and italian sausage ($7.95 each), or brandish spherical scalpels when extracting a slice of a spinach-and-prosciutto pizza ($7.95).
Pizza Express, outer Birmingham's newly opened mom-and-pop pizzeria, delights diners with New York–style pizzas, calzones, pastas, and refreshing salads. With house-seasoned sauces and inventive toppings such as arugula, mesquite chicken, fresh basil, and fior di latte (fresh mozzarella), Pizza Express's hand-tossed pies are a cornucopia of classic and creative palate pleasers. Traditional pizzas include the Margherita ($9–$17) or double pepperoni, double cheese ($8–$16), a sauce circle that delivers twice the meat-laden cheesiness of a Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson film. For nervous nibblers suffering from disc-phobia, Pizza Express provides alternate entrees such as delectable house-made lasagna ($6–$10), baked ziti ($6–$10), and fettuccine alfredo ($5–$9).
Ranelli's Deli and Cafe, a mom-and-pop run pizza joint for 40 years, serves up homestyle Italian classics in pie, pasta, and sandwich format. Start off taste bud treks with an order of regular garlic bread, or upgrade to the cheesy version like young Elvis donning a sequined jumpsuit for the first time. A pair of 12-inch pies await diners, who bespatter the circular provender with fixings such as salami, olives, jalapeño, and greek peppers. Omnivorous crews can feed the flora feasters and meat eaters of the party alike with one pizza covered in ham and sausage and another bursting with onion and extra cheddar. On occasion, the "Soul Pit" hosts live music to help groovy gastrophiles digest to the beat, and the outdoor patio allows patrons to commune with nature without resorting to gauche, unflattering shrubbery costumes.