On a sizzling hearth within the depths of a Neapolitan-style wood-burning oven bake hand-tossed rounds of dough, bubbling and crisping to perfection. The chefs festoon the dough with a variety of ingredient combinations; their much-loved margherita reveals traditional tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil, while their prosciutto crudo e rucola adds imported prosciutto and fresh arugula to the mix. Beyond their gourmet pizza, the kitchen team prepares a dinner menu cataloging a large selection of traditional pastas, such as plump gnocchi, farfalle in a pesto cream sauce, or lasagna that's tastefully layered, like someone wearing every item of clothing they own.
The staff welcomes patrons to relax beneath an elegant lattice ceiling and hanging lamps. Leather chairs surround tables, which are surrounded by exposed brick, which is surrounded by friendly conversation, which is surrounded by the biggest Russian doll.
Dissatisfied with the slices of pie at fast-food joints, CravePizza owner Rafael tinkered with recipes for savory dough and hearty tomato sauce until he was satisfied. He opened CravePizza to craft pies from the basic foundation of buttery-crust dough, custom-spiced sauce, and a house blend of cheese. Three chefs with 40 years of collective experience toss thin, pan, or stuffed pies and top them with traditional meats and vegetables, as well as unexpected options such as roast beef, shrimp, and cilantro. The family-friendly restaurant welcomes customers dining in to enjoy a drink from the full bar, and delivery and pickup orders receive the same piping-hot fare with a free box.
BaPi Italian Ristorante's proprietor, Cristiano Bassani, bedecks white-linen tablecloths with house-made pasta, chicken, and salmon dishes. The quaint eatery hosts private lunch and dinner parties for 10–60 patrons and all their imaginary friends, or fills households with heaping pans of pastas and entrees via catering services.
Chefs call upon the flavors of Rome and Tuscany as they blend tomatoes, garlic, and plentiful herbs into the Italian cuisine of Francesca’s Tavola, part of a Chicago-based family of Francesca’s restaurants graced with positive media attention. Patrons steep in the trattoria ambiance while skewering filet mignon, sea bass, and monkfish on their rapiers. A gluten-free menu pampers palates with quinoa linguine and desserts whose fresh fruit plays over tongues like a salad made from Debussy's sheet music.
Lou's Pizza Factory produces pies topped with bubbling cheese, hot from the oven. During lunch, stop in for a slice and a soda, or peruse the rest of the menu for classic Italian dishes such as meatball sandwiches and baked mostaccioli. Thin crust and pan pizzas are decorated with toppings that include sausage, onion, and green peppers that can be arranged to spell out "bite me."
Working late into the evening, the doughmasters at Donny's Pizzeria flip fresh ingredients into Chicago–style deep-dish, stuffed, pan, traditional thin-crust, and double-decker pizzas. The kitchen's passion for overstuffing also shows up in baked pasta shells, ravioli, and tortellini packed with imported cheeses. The most decadent corners of the menu harbor treats including deep-fried Oreos and the much-lauded Epic pizza, a 20"x50" pie that can serve 25–35 people or serve as a small cot.