A chorus of electronic beeps sings across Kiddie Kingdom's 13,000 square feet, where more than 62 arcade games, redemption games, and small rides galvanize youthful excitement in both kids and adults. After stuffing their pockets with tokens, guests compete for high scores on modern video games and arcade classics, such as air hockey and skee-ball. These redemption-style games shower the most successful players in tickets, which can be exchanged at the King's Treasure Chest counter for small toys, stuffed animals, and sports balls.
Elsewhere, the aroma of housemade lasagna, chicken wings, and pizza tempts players away from the arcade and into the onsite Pizza King restaurant. Here, cooks hand toss dough for thin-crust, deep-dish, and stuffed pies. The Italian cuisine also delights guests in a 100-person party room, where birthday boys and girls open presents and spin a wheel to win enough tickets to send their stuffed animals to college.
At CiCi’s Pizza, patrons wander along a buffet brimming with fresh-baked pizzas, hearty pasta, crisp salads, and warm desserts. Dough spinners whip up pizza crusts from scratch every day, slathering them with vine-ripened tomato sauce or zesty white sauce before sprinkling on a coat of whole-milk mozzarella—the perfect trap for unsuspecting toppings such as ham, pineapple, Italian sausage, spinach alfredo, and macaroni and cheese. All of CiCi's offerings are free of trans fat and sad flour, including sweets such as brownies, apple pizza, and cinnamon rolls. Although pricing varies by location, many franchises offer the buffet for less than $6 per person, while inviting guests ages 2 or younger nosh for free. The pizzeria spices up its edible good works by launching community-oriented programs that range from fundraiser nights to lunch-and-learn field trips for students.
After opening Riggio's with her husband, Pasquale, Adreana Riggio became well known to the residents of Chicago's North Center neighborhood, who called her Mama. The year was 1952, and the scent of pizza was still unfamiliar in the city. Though the restaurant has since moved to Niles, customers are still treated like family. Diners can dig into savory Italian classics such as veal parmigiana and American dishes such as chopped steak with housemade mushroom gravy. The pizza menu brims with three sizes of thin-crust pies as well as deep-dish pan pizzas, which can be customized with ingredients such as pepperoni, spinach, or pineapple.
Since 1983, the dough twirlers at Vince & Dominic's Pizzeria have whipped up homemade Italian favorites stuffed with authentic and fresh ingredients and served in a family-welcoming setting. Pass your pupils over the extensive menu to peruse pizzas coated with old-fashioned, home-cooked tomato sauce. Patrons can order up a 14-inch, three-meat Meat Lover’s pie ($18.49) or a 12-inch pesto pizza with sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheese ($16.49), both served ready to be eaten or stapled directly into a food scrapbook. The panoply of more than 20 toppings includes mouth-friendly morsels such as anchovies, bacon, black olives, artichokes, salami, and pineapple. Unpizza’d options include Italian staples such as chicken parmesan accompanied by a stack of spaghetti ($11.59), as well as an array of salads, wraps, sandwiches, and cold and hot subs, including the chicken cheesesteak sub, crammed with white-meat morsels and encrusted with provolone cheese ($8.49/large).
Since serving the inaugural slice from its original Chicago location in 1970, Nancy's Pizza has carefully crafted an expansive menu of thick- and thin-crusted disks and Italian dishes laden with sauces and cheeses. Customize a signature stuffed- pie ($12–$18.50) by choosing from more than 20 filling options ($2/ingredient), or sample one of the pizza shop's tried-and-true deep-dish combinations such as the chicken and bacon with barbeque sauce ($15.50–$23.25). Thin-crust pizza ($11.75–$14.75, plus $1.75/topping) comes in enticing varieties such as Uncle Carlo’s Favorite, which is coated with chicken breast, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers ($15–$19.50), or the four manggio—a quartet of mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, and romano ($15–$19.50)—brought together in melty harmony by the unifying powers of Nancy's pizza oven.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.