In 2001, the calzones, burgers, gyros, grinders, and cheesy pies that lived in the entrepreneurial dreams of then-college sophomore Mark Kalmanidis escaped and joined forces to create Crossroads Pizza. Inside the eatery, customers can send their tongue shopping for spaghetti and meatballs ($8.50) and their teeth can busily munch fried chicken served with french fries and cole slaw ($10.50). Or, choose to chew into one of the menu's more than 15 specialty pizzas—taste a small white pizza's doughy disc of ricotta, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and oregano ($9), visit a medium Hawaiian's ham-pineapple fusion ($12.99), or let a small vegetarian pizza refill your food pouch with an assortment of delicious nonmeats ($9.99).
Since opening in 1931, Bacco's Restaurant has become a local destination for pizza and Italian cuisine. The menu offers diners a variety of pizzas, char-grilled steaks, and specialties, such as veal saltimbocca rolled with prosciutto. Nearly everything is made in house, from warm loaves of bread to the sumptuous sauces that dress signature pasta dishes. The restaurant's comfortable interior was recently remodeled, and now features a roomy bar where servers pour cold drinks.
When Giulio Cavalli began cooking in his native town Ripi, Italy, he learned by watching others. And now, 35 years after opening Luigi's Restaurant, he still creates dishes by seeing what his customers desire and need. For example, he now tosses gluten-free pizzas alongside his classic Italian versions so all his customers can enjoy slices topped with clams, caprese, and salami. Alongside these, he still concocts customer favorites such as the risotto tossed with shrimp and porcini mushrooms or gnocchi sautéed with broccoli and garlic.
In the kitchen of Nuzzo's Apizza, third-generation pizza maker Barry Nuzzo and his team of cooks prepare thin-crust New Haven-style pizzas and Sicilian-style pies layered with ricotta cheese. Patrons can choose from toppings such as bacon, clams, or red peppers roasted on-site, or opt for a specialty pie: the Eggplant Rollatine, for example, which combines eggplant, marinara, ham, ricotta, and Parmesan. The cooks also make gluten-free pizzas, pasta dishes, and submarine sandwiches.
Owner Randy Price curates a creative menu of New Haven–style "apizza" in more than 30 styles. His team crafts fresh dough daily using unbleached flour, creates sauce from handpicked italian and chilean tomatoes, and sprinkles pies with cheese from home-schooled cows. The famous Challenger—a 22-inch pizza stuffed with a mélange of vegetables and meats that weigh in at nearly 10 pounds—presents the hungriest visitors with a challenge to conquer the hot wheel in an hour or less, a feat that has earned a place on the Travel Channel's Man Vs. Food roster of surmounted food battles.