Mike’s Italian To Go bakes, fries, and hand tosses a menu of Italian classics including pasta, calzones, hot and cold heroes, and New York–style pizza. Open Italian excursions with an order of fried calamari ($7.95) or gooey mozzarella sticks ($5.50). A spaghetti dinner ($7.95+) floods reminiscent bellies with Rockwellian nostalgia, topped with your choice of five savory concoctions including marinara, meat sauce, and alfredo. The house special pizza is one of several specialty options, raising special to the power of two with piles of ham, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, and green peppers ($14.25 for a 14" pie). Inside Mike's ovens, sizzling noodles absorb saucy, cheesy surroundings in baked ziti ($9.95), stuffed shells ($9.95), and lasagna ($10.95). A variety of herbivore-friendly options include eggplant parmigiani ($10.95) and spinach manicotti ($9.95). Kids can pick on items their own size, such as a ham and provolone hero ($5.50), offering youngsters a better role model than the jerk chicken so pervasive on television these days. Spaghetti also appears in a tastier alternative to its 'O' form in a kid-sized quantity topped with meatballs ($5.50). Punctuate Italian feasts with an open-ended tiramisu ($3.95) dash or a cheesecake wedge ($2.95) exclamation.
In the 40 years since the first Hungry Howie's opened, the restaurants' chefs haven't just focused on getting new and inventive toppings. Instead, they have also innovated the their pizzas in other ways, such as creating their eight signature flavors of crust. Crust options include sesame, garlic and herbs, Cajun seasons, or even onion, adding a subtle flavor to custom pizzas. Guests can choose which crust would go best with their mix of the house's 15 toppings, which include options such as bacon, feta cheese, anchovies, and pineapple. In addition to pizzas, chefs also create oven-baked subs and fresh salads to create full Italian meals.
Cushioned booths line Pronto Pizza's lengthy, maroon-painted interior, and intricate, gilded molds crown its ceiling, making it resemble an upscale urban culinary destination more than a garden-variety pizza joint. Chefs send rounds of pizza dough into a mammoth oven to bake specialties such as Maria's Pie—layered with eggplant, ricotta, and mozzarella—or baked ziti pizza. The kitchen team also covers plates with chicken marsala, or pasta jambalaya. Live entertainment keeps the venue’s energy level cranked up, and coffee prevents that energy level from going back down.
With its entrees named for New York City landmarks and the decorative fruit dotting its walls and tables, Apples Bar & Grill embraces its name. Pizzas, such as the South Bronx taco and Wall Street White, join salads named for Central Park and Madison Square Garden, alongside Big City chili, Broadway chef salads, and a selection of breakfast items. Beers such as Budweiser—which is what the Dutch called Battery Park—pour from taps behind the pennant-strewn bar, complementing cheese fries and crab poppers during special events such as karaoke nights and live performances from local musicians.
PizzaVito’s founder, Vito DiBartolo, has been baking no-nonsense New York–style pies for more than 40 years. From his first pizzeria in Queens to his expansive chain in the South, Vito’s been slipping a slice of family zest inside every made-to-order creation. Slices come in one size (giant) and range in composition from simple cheese to more complex and meatier varieties. The Bronx Bomber ($14.95/large) sends mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, and bacon flying onto a soft spread of the Vito family’s century-old red-sauce recipe. Other classic New York–style eats include melty and crispy calzones ($5.75) and spicy buffalo wings ($7.95 for 10).
The brick-lined boutique storefront does not deceive those who pass by Hello Gorgeous Salon: the inside, which boasts red walls covered in inspirational quotes and couches dotted with throw pillows, is just as cozy. These warm confines have been stylist and color expert Shelly Thompson’s workplace for eight years. Her 15 years of experience behind the shears informs her every move as she cuts, dyes, and straightens hair with ultramodern Brazilian-blowout treatments. She garners most of her career fulfillment from making women more confident and helping scissors find employment.