In Big Bounce’s 7,500-square-foot fun center, kids scatter across the cushy, rainbow-colored patchwork floor and sprint between inflatable obstacle courses and tropical-themed bounce houses. They filter through the doorway in droves for open-bounce play or private parties and glide down the enormous air-filled slide or shoot baskets in the sports inflatable. In the adjoining diner, which offers views into the play area, families slip into booths to dine on pizza, Angus burgers, and 16 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream. In between bounces and nibbles, kids can toss a few skee-balls, flick a couple foosballs, and play crane games to learn the painful truth about natural selection.
Starting a diner at the age of 14 and a pizzeria at 17 seemed natural to Athanasios Chris Karamesines, who hails from a long line of restaurateurs. Since opening the pizzeria in 1969, Chris has built his business on fresh ingredients, hand-tossed dough, and signature pizzas baked in wood- or gas-fired ovens.
HotBox Pizza’s cooks adorn three varieties of hand-tossed dough canvases with six savory sauces, cheeses, and 26 toppings to create a menu of dine-in, takeout, and delivery pies. The signature HotBox combines double spicy pepperoni and banana peppers, and Big Al’s Fredo fights off pernicious poultry cravings with a combination of chicken, roma tomatoes, fresh spinach, and banana peppers. Aspiring pizza architects can blueprint their own pies by laying down traditional, thin, or multigrain foundations and selecting from six varieties of sauce-carpeting. Doughy disks simmer with mozzarella, ricotta, Wisconsin cheddar, or fontina cheeses to hold down up to four toppings such as pepperoni and artichoke hearts. Circle-eaters can also save room in their knapsacks or hollow shoe-heels for fresh salad and bundles of breadsticks that come with nacho-cheese, pizza, ranch, or garlic sauce, and wash down stubborn bites with refreshing slurps of soda.
Chefs at Apezza use fresh ingredients to craft their pizzas, breadsticks, and wings almost entirely from scratch. They hand-make batches of dough daily and adorn pizza crusts with three types of freshly grated cheese. Specialty pizzas such as the meat lovers slide out of old deck ovens sporting sausage made in-house from pork shoulder ground at Archer’s Meat Market. Garlic-butter breadsticks come with a choice of three made-from-scratch dipping sauces. These and other items from the menu eventually make their appearance at Apezza's polished wooden tables, where they're devoured in the glow of a wall-mounted flat-screen TV.
Mama Nita's Pizza tantalizes taste buds with savory pizzas, crafted from hand-tossed dough, topped with a selection of more than a dozen toppings, and baked in huge ovens until gooey and golden. Within the eatery's charming green walls, more than 20 specialty pizzas buckle under the weight of mouthwatering combinations such as the Mama's World pie festooned with ham and hamburger or the breakfast pizza topped with an eye-opening mélange of sausage, bacon, onions, maple syrup, and a special blend of yawn-flavored spices. Noncircular meals delight diners in the form of calzones, pastas, and more than 24 sub sandwiches.