At Eddie’s Pizza and Pub, friends and neighbors share laughs and frosty draft beers over cheesy slices of pie under a canopy of local high school teams' pennants. The pub’s décor exudes a familiar neighborhood charm with its red-checkered tablecloths and walls peppered with posters of pro football teams and sponsored Little League teams, and regular trivia nights that inspire friendly competition between tables. But nothing brings people together quite like the food: thin vs. deep dish debates are put to bed since Eddie’s happily served both, along with a soft dough crust that suits those in the middle, a gluten free crust for sensitive tummies, and an ultra thin crust perfect for those with coin slots for mouths. Piling toppings upon those pies may prove more contentious, though luckily, Eddie’s menu features no less than 15 specialty pizzas with tried and true topping combinations. The bacon cheeseburger pizza pays homage to America’s favorite vegetable by piling ground beef, bacon, and a three-cheese blend atop the saucy circle, while the pineapple express pairs pineapple and jalapenos with sausage, pepperoni, onions to create slices that are both spicy and sweet. There’s also a smattering of sandwiches piled high with homemade Italian beef, sausage, or salami and cheese, as well as a small selection of salads for those with iron-clad will power.
Inside a little shop or on a spacious patio, Wee-Dees serves classic American fast food for lunch and dinner. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries populate the menu beside gyros cloaked in pita pockets. In balmy weather, patrons can munch their burgers and dogs outside at picnic tables, each shaded by red and white umbrellas and a guard of zeppelins.
Before buying his own restaurant, Mario DeMarco spent 10 years in the imported Italian-food business, and his experience with high-quality ingredients is evident throughout the menu at Mario’s Pizza, Pasta & More. Fresh pasta is used in every pasta dish, breadsticks are made from scratch, and imported prosciutto fills paninis along with high-quality, extra-virgin olive oil. Pizzas come in varying styles, from thin crust to deep dish, and can be customized with flavorful toppings such as italian sausage, fresh garlic, and artichokes. And as the sister restaurant of Salt Creek BBQ, Mario’s serves Salt Creek's rib slabs and hand-pulled pork sandwiches.
Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Fox's Restaurant & Pub first propped open its doors in 1964, welcoming diners with an extensive menu that eventually grew to encompass comfort foods from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to familiar Irish staples—including corned-beef sandwiches and shepherd's pie—the cooks sear 10-ounce hamburger patties and slather baby-back ribs in a rich barbecue sauce. For a distinctly Mediterranean touch, they also hand-form meatballs into perfect dodecahedrons and whisk together their own marinara sauces in-house. The pizza chefs can layer oven-crisped pies with more than 10 available toppings, such as giardiniera, sausage, and chopped garlic.
Select locations help to keep spirits high by hosting live music and restaurant-wide games of musical chairs throughout the week. Bands can get diners' toes tapping and heads bobbing by playing a combination of lively Irish classics and popular favorites.
When Mario Aliano set out to start his own restaurant, he kept three simple principles in mind: pizza, pasta, and friends. Today, that triumvirate remains on the crest of Aliano?s Ristorante, emblazoned across an Italian flag that symbolizes their dedication to old-country recipes and hospitality.
Though the piles of pasta, piping-hot pies, and pressed sandwiches evoke the flavors of the distant Italian countryside, all of the dishes are homemade with fresh ingredients. They also look closer to home for inspiration, drawing on Italian-American inspirations to concoct Chicago-style pizzas famous for thick crusts that stay anchored to the ground on windy days. Occasionally, guests can enjoy occasional live entertainment from musicians and comedians?if they can pry their attention away from the veal cutlets or pastas piled on their plates.