Chef Ross Siragusa grew up in the Italian section of Chicago learning the ins-and-outs of Italian-American cooking. He has recreated those recipes and many others over the years, treating guests to his homestyle cooking at Siragusa?s. Inside the eatery?s kitchen, pork shanks slow roast for Grandpa Tom?s osso buco, and grilled chicken breasts dress up in a gorgonzola cream sauce. Guests can double the flavor and treat themselves to the combination plate?s half orders of sweet potato gnocchi and veal parmesan, or lasagna and cappellini with pesto. Sandwiches and pizzas are also on the menu, and any of the dishes can be eaten at the eatery?s two locations or catered for a party celebrating a birthday or graduation from traffic school.
For nearly 30 years, Rino’s Italian Restaurant's chef and owner, Rino, has crafted authentic Italian cuisine with ingredients from his own garden after researching dishes' historical and regional significance. Old-World ambiance pervades the dining room, where plated gnocchi, beef ravioli, and lasagna top cloth-draped tables surrounded by high-backed leather chairs. An extensive wine list supplies supple reds and crisp whites to pair with veal, steak, and seafood dishes. Wooden barrels, oil paintings, and stained-glass panels of vintners laze in guests' peripheries, and rustic charm spills from the dining room onto a grape arbor, where patrons can gaze at the stars or marvel at the waxing moon's smoothness.
Este Pizzeria’s sign bears an unmistakable resemblance to those found at New York subway stations—a fitting image for a pizzeria that slices up East Coast–style pies. The oversize, thin-crust triangles bear toppings as varied as ham, fresh basil, and housemade vegan meatballs. Their selection of 13 specialty pizzas includes entirely vegan disks as well as the Clay, a heaping of meatballs, pepperoni, ham, and sausage. In typical New York fashion, diners can also opt for strombolis and calzones and are permitted to yell, “I’m walkin’ here!” at other patrons when exiting the restaurant.
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The menu boasts pizzas made with fresh dough and non-traditional sauces, with predetermined specialty combinations for those reaching for their blankies when faced with the daunting task of choosing from over 20 toppings. Specialty pies are grouped by sauce, including original red, such as the Yellowstone (cheese, Canadian bacon, and pineapple), white garlic, such as the Pikes Peak (cheese, pepperoni, ground Italian sausage, sliced mushrooms, ripe black olives, tomatoes, and green onions), and others, such as the Evergreen (pesto sauce, cheese, artichoke hearts, sliced zucchini, black olives, tomatoes, green onions, and chopped garlic). A large specialty pizza is $18.35.
Owners Zach and Miranda Barnard built Z Pizzeria and Café on a foundation of creating tongue-tantalizing dishes from scratch. Tasty sandwiches and salads, specialty pies with bulging crusts ($6.29–$18.39), and caffeinated drinks pepper the menu. The Buffalo-chicken pizza galvanizes gullets with sterling toppings of feta cheese, Louisiana hot sauce, and a side of bleu cheese or ranch. Since meats taste better in triumvirates, try the Valente for a sausage, salami, and pepperoni empire ruling a garlic-white-sauce senate, or save room for the hero sandwich ($6.99), which uses ham, turkey, and salami to remove the hunger dangling from your stomach's branches. Since eating pizza for breakfast may transform diners into Foghat-worshiping college freshmen, snag a veggie frittata ($7.99) from the brunch menu and pair it with a slow-riding Utah-style scone ($1.49).