The interior of Buck's Pizza resembles a cross between a cabin and a cozy sports bar, a place where inviting wooden paneling surrounds patrons watching sports on TVs and projection screens. However, one look at the menu’s second page and diners are quickly reminded that it’s a pizza place. The menu lists 22 specialty pizzas made with homemade pizza dough, which range from simple pepperoni pies to the more complex CBS Special with cheddar cheese, bacon, and rib-eye steak. Pizzas are served with hearty salads, chicken wings are slathered in a choice of 11 sauces, and hoagies are stacked between two slabs of homemade bread. For more intimate gatherings, guests can reserve Buck’s private party room.
In between video games, pool tournaments, karaoke, and poker hands, Patera?s Pizza Subs & Sports Bar refuels patrons with pizzas baked to a golden finish and subs crafted on freshly made bread. Chefs top circular disks with ingredients such as bacon, feta cheese, black olives, and ground beef before bidding bon voyage and popping them into the oven. Alternately, the staff assembles submarine sandwiches after bread busts out of the oven, stuffing slices with roast beef, tuna, and house-made meatballs. Spaghetti finds its way onto a plate with meat or marinara sauce, and gyros offer a quintessentially Mediterranean alternative to the quintessentially American grilled chicken sandwich. American and Greek influences share the dessert corner, where chocolate cake, cheesecake, and baklava vie for the attention of sweet teeth. Like anyone born in the ?80s and many 80-year-olds born on Leap Day, the restaurant is more than 20 years old.
Pizza Express, outer Birmingham's newly opened mom-and-pop pizzeria, delights diners with New York–style pizzas, calzones, pastas, and refreshing salads. With house-seasoned sauces and inventive toppings such as arugula, mesquite chicken, fresh basil, and fior di latte (fresh mozzarella), Pizza Express's hand-tossed pies are a cornucopia of classic and creative palate pleasers. Traditional pizzas include the Margherita ($9–$17) or double pepperoni, double cheese ($8–$16), a sauce circle that delivers twice the meat-laden cheesiness of a Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson film. For nervous nibblers suffering from disc-phobia, Pizza Express provides alternate entrees such as delectable house-made lasagna ($6–$10), baked ziti ($6–$10), and fettuccine alfredo ($5–$9).
Pizza providers at Rocky's destroy hunger and mutilate snack cravings with a barrage of crust jabs and sauce hooks. The 14-inch Power Punch pizza piles on 13 lucky toppings—Italian sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, chicken-breast strips, bacon crumbles, mushrooms, banana peppers, green bell peppers, yellow onions, black olives, green olives, diced tomatoes, and an extra layer of Rocky's signature three-cheese blend, all above the tender, hand-tossed, oven-kissed crust and traditional rosso sauce. Lifting a slice is a workout for the arm and the face, so if you'd rather lighten the load, you can eliminate less-favorite toppings or ones that clash with your eye color.
MaFIAoZA's is based after a 1920's New York pizzeria and neighborhood pub and pays homage to the robust simplicity of Italian cooking by crafting fresh, seasonal dishes for lunch and dinner. Un-cage creativity and build your own pie ($2.75/slice, $9.75/12", $13.75/18"), or try a specialty pizza such as the Last Request ($19/$26), a colorful medley of black olives, pepperoni, salami, Italian sausage, Portobello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, garlic, crumpled pages of romance novels, green peppers, red onion and jalapeños. The Consigliere ($12) is a hearty helping of meat lasagna sure to quench a rumbling appetite, and the caprese salad ($7 for small, $11 for regular) is an affable mountain of homemade mozzarella, tomatoes, and a chiffonnade of basil drizzled in a balsamic reduction. The welcoming eatery also often features live music to placate ears that are jealous of the stomach’s bliss.
The pizza pros at Tortugas Cafe 280 construct a menu of pies made with fresh ingredients and homemade dough and sauce. Lunchtime noshers tuck into Chicago-style slices ($6.05 each), thickly layered with Tortugas' house-blended cheese, handcrafted sauce, and toppings such as sausage and pepperoni or spinach and mushroom, making it doubly effective for anchoring helium-balloon bouquets or stabilizing tables with uneven legs. During dinner, guests enjoy the gustatory opulence of whole pies ($7.75–$27.75). A quartet of meats top off the Carne Special pizza ($19.20 for medium thin-crust), and the mexicana ($19.20 for medium thin-crust pizza) builds cross-cultural bridges with its spicy blend of homemade salsa, ground beef, and endless supply of suspension cables.