A pastel-colored mural of the Parthenon welcomes diners to Lakis Greek & Italian Restaurant—a place where appetites get to travel to far-off lands from the comfort of a blue-vinyl booth. The menu here includes classics of Greek and Italian cuisine, as well as hybrid dishes that feature elements of both. Spanakopita spinach pies share appetizer turf with mozzarella sticks, while multi-tiered entrees include both Momma's lasagna and moussaka. The Greek pizza puts a Hellenic spin on the traditional Italian pie, and baked strombolis double as Olympic torches when placed in close proximity to appetizers of flaming saganaki.
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.
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.
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 kitchen at Taverna Red turns out Mediterranean-inspired and American dishes to delight every appetite within its warm and expansive enclave. An array of small plates succinctly satisfy, doing double duty as shareable appetizers or solo suppers. The mini pork shank ($7.50) dons a sweet glaze, and steamed Prince Edward Island mussels luxuriate in a tomato, garlic, and white-wine broth ($8.50) to emulate their natural oceanic environment. For heartier hunger, the menu musters up a hefty roster of grilled meats, sautéed seafood, and fresh pastas. Pan-seared triggerfish hides beneath a beurre-blanc sauce ($16) as it silently aims its side dishes at loudmouthed wine glasses. Homemade fussili pasta, on the other hand, peppers a pink cream sauce with fresh salmon, baby spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes ($15). An array of specialty cocktails ($6–$7) buttress tantalizing tastes, and diners can also sample selections from the abundant wine list in 3-ounce portions ($3–$4) or complement cuisine with a full glass ($5.50–$8).